By Kathryn M. Miller
Phoenix’s Midtown Neighborhood Association is putting the call out for residents to get involved in its latest undertaking, something that they hope will be “creative, fun and downright inspiring.”
Midtown is starting its very own community theater, The Midtown Players, which fits hand in glove with one of its key missions, to “help neighbors get to know each other by holding social events.”
Spearheaded by former association president and current member Susan Thompson, the organization held its first planning meeting June 21 at Tru Burger Co. in Phoenix.
“It turned out to be an amazing night,” Thompson shared, “full house of people processing deep question like, how does community theatre impact the world and what is our role in this endeavor? Fantastic energy — 30 people completely committed!”
Community theater is close to Thompson’s heart. She was a high school theater teacher for 14 years of her nearly 30 years as an educator, co-founded The Shakespeare Theatre and served as Arizona State Thespian director for 10 years. While life took her away from theater for a spell, when a colleague mentioned that he missed doing theater, lamenting a lack of community theaters in the central Valley, a light bulb when off for Thompson.
She mused, “Well, I know how to start a community theater.” So, she went to the Midtown board with the idea, and the answer was a resounding, “Yes!”
“What I’m really excited about is the opportunity to bring a group of people together and really just think big and really have that meaningful conversation about what is community. What is theater within our community? How does community theater change and serve our community?” Thompson said.
The theater group will be open not only to Midtown residents, but to everyone. Part of the association’s goal is to bring others to the area, to really experience Midtown, which is one of the reasons for the annual Urban Living Tour. The tour, celebrating its 10th year this fall, draws residents from across the Valley, and Thompson hopes that The Midtown Players will do the same, adding, “There’s room for everybody.”
“There’s a communion between a group of people onstage, whatever they might be doing and performing, and a receiver, as in the audience,” Thompson added. “And that’s holy to me. That’s a wholly human experience…there’s very few things that can get better than that as far as I’m concerned.”
Residents who are interested in getting involved with The Midtown Players can follow the Midtown Neighborhood Association on Facebook and Instagram or send an email to email@example.com. Find additional information at www.midtownphx.org.