The Stuttgart Theatre Center on Kelley Barracks has figured out the recipe for artistic success, and it includes a Greek goddess, musical numbers and roller skates.
Army officials found that mixture irresistible as they awarded the theatre with 14 awards for their production of “Xanadu” at the 2012 U.S. Army Festival of the Arts.
The Festival of the Arts is an annual awards program designed by U.S. Army Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation which allows garrisons with theatre programs worldwide to showcase their work. A panel of theatre professionals travels to Army theatres throughout the year judging productions and
performances. The theatre teams competing in the program do not get to choose which performances will be critiqued. The play being performed during the panel’s visit counts as the team’s submission. “‘Xanadu’ is an incredibly entertaining play and really highlighted what we can do here,” said Richard Roberts, Stuttgart Theatre Center’s artistic director. “It just happened that the judges came through during our performances.” The campy, 1980s-style musical placed in nearly every musical category of this year’s competition, hauling in three first-place, nine second-place and two third- place awards. Army Community Theatres annually stage more than 900 shows worldwide for audiences numbering more than a quarter of a million, according to the Festival of the Arts website. But to accomplish this, they rely heavily on community support and volunteers. “We only have a staff of four people, so all of the actors, musicians and builders in our productions are volunteers,” said Roberts, who personally won three awards in this year’s competition. “What we do here wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for them.”
The theatre is about to embark on a new season of performances, and has five productions scheduled over the next nine months to include “Cinderella,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Women” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” “These performances aren’t just entertainment, they’re meaningful,” Roberts said. “Especially overseas where the community doesn’t have access to English-language theatre like they would in the states.” The Stuttgart Theatre Center is always on the lookout for volunteers, and that’s not limited to actors and actresses. The theatre also needs costume and set designers, light and sound technicians, builders and stage managers. People interested in volunteering for upcoming productions can contact the Stuttgart Theatre Center at 421-3258 or civ. 0711-729-3258.