Theatre Project's 40th season to feature local companies, pass-the-hat performances

Founded in 1971 as a free-admission venue, Theatre Project will give a nod to that practice during a typically diverse 40th anniversary season that features several local companies and new or new-to-Baltimore works.

A totally free policy wouldn't fly economically, of course, but "to celebrate our beginnings as a free theater, all of our productions this year will feature at least a rehearsal or performance where there is no admission and we’ll 'pass the hat' after the show," says producing director Anne Cantler Fulwiler.

Another element of the 2011-2012 season involves residencies by local companies, which will spend several weeks at Theatre Project. The Generous Company, for example, which made quite an impression there last year with "I Am The Machine Gunner," will be on hand most of January with a festival of new works.

In the fall, Iron Crow Theatre Company will offer "Parallel Lives" by Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney (who performed the work at Theatre Project in 1986); in the spring, "The Soldier Dreams" by Daniel MacIvor.

In time for Halloween, Factory Edge Theatre Works will presents its version of ...

"The Rocky Horror Show."

Opera, which has been a significant component of Theatre Project seasons, will be back in a big way. Chesapeake Chamber Opera, which has been using local churches as performance spaces, will stage three productions at Theatre Project. One of them is still to be determined; the others are "Rigoletto" and Mark Adamo’s "Little Women" -- I'm pretty sure this will be the Baltimore premiere of Adamo's remarkably successful work from 1998.

Peabody Chamber Opera will present another successful contemporary work, "Postcard from Morocco, by Peabody alum Dominick Argento, and Vivaldi's "Griselda" (I'm assuming that's a Baltimore premiere, too).

The 40th anniversary season kicks off in September with Dance Box Theatre performing "Affectations," choreographed by Stephen Clapp and Laura Schandelmeier. The season's dance listing also include performances by VTDance, ClancyWorks Dance Company, the Kennedy Center Dance Showcase and Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company.

There's more: the High Zero Festival, QuestFest, Al Letson & Company's "Griot," and a new work from Dreams + Nightmares Aerial Theater by Kel Millionie.

Theatre Project is introducing a membership offer this season, instead of the usual subscription series. Memberships, starting at $40, will include steep ticket discounts (freebies at higher membership levels) and other incentives.  


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