By BRUCE COLLIER
Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) has been keeping long and (probably) late hours this past week. A series of fortunate events, coupled with good timing and some generous public and private grants has placed the area’s newest professional theatre company into new quarters. The official address of the new space is 560 Grand Boulevard, Upstairs.
Producing Artistic Director Nathanael Fisher, Associate Artistic Director Anna Fisher and board and company members did an all-day load-in last Saturday (Oct. 15). Their principal task was to hang curtains and lights and set up 125 audience chairs, creating a theatre space around the platform stage. The stage will be put into use this week with the opening of Constellations, a romantic play for two actors by British playwright Nick Payne. Constellations will run Oct. 21 – Nov. 6, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., with Sunday performances at 2 p.m.
“This is a huge jump,” said Nathanael. “I’ve planned seasons not knowing where we’ll be.” He and spouse Anna co-founded ECTC in 2012 and have gradually widened the company’s fields of endeavor to embrace productions of both adult and children’s theatre, classes in acting and corporate training (“business improv”) and a yearly production of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” among other projects.
Board member Scott Russell (interviewed while unwrapping chairs) said that an application was made to the Howard Group, which wanted a “best-utilization” occupant for the empty space at 560 Grand Blvd., and ECTC fitted the profile. The space will house the stage, dressing and makeup areas, prop and costume storage, lounge and refreshment bar area, and additional space for related uses – art exhibits, fashion shows, and other events. The openness of the space (comparable to a loft) will allow for flexibility in staging and audience placement.
“It’s pretty monumental,” said Russell.
Nathanael, who directs Constellations, said that ECTC plans to accompany this and future productions with art exhibits in harmony with each play. He expressed gratitude to private donors, Cultural Arts Alliance, St. Joe and other friends and partners of the theatre for support.
The Emerald Coast Theatre Company’s second-floor theatre space is accessed either by stairs or by an elevator. For more information about Emerald Coast Theatre Company or to purchase tickets, go to [email protected] or call (850) 684-0323.