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Seventh grade Baltimore teacher set to launch new theater company in Pigtown bar

Patrick J. Regal, who teaches seventh-grade English and language arts at Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School, launched a Kickstarter campaign to support Charm City Classics Company.
Patrick J. Regal, who teaches seventh-grade English and language arts at Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School, launched a Kickstarter campaign to support Charm City Classics Company. (HANDOUT)

As children and educators around Baltimore get back into the groove of school, one local public school teacher is putting his extracurricular time toward launching the city’s newest theater company—with the help of crowdfunding.

Patrick J. Regal, who teaches seventh grade English and language arts at Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School, launched a Kickstarter campaign to support Charm City Classics Company on Sunday. The campaign webpage said that the company, which Regal leads as artistic director, “seeks to redefine the word ‘classic’ in regard to the theatre, whether that be well-known or underappreciated works of a time long ago, more contemporary plays that have redefined the theatrical landscape, or the development of new work that will create the classics of tomorrow.”

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Regal told The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday—the day of his 22nd birthday, and soon after excessive heat forced his school’s closure—that he felt that William Shakespeare and other writers whose works are labeled “classics” don’t typically connect with his students.

“When I was in seventh grade, I thought that things from the 13th century were really boring, so I understand why they feel that way," he said. "I understand why they don’t think it applies to their life in Baltimore City. That makes perfect sense to me. "

Charm City Classics Company doesn’t specifically appeal to youth, though, and Regal, who directed multiple works while studying at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, said he thinks “classics” should be more expansive.

The company will pursue this mission in a vibrant local theater scene that includes Single Carrot Theatre, Nine Dollar Bill Theatre and other small companies with which it’d have to compete with.

To that end, the campaign must raise $2,000 by Oct. 1, or risk receiving no crowdfunding at all. Regal said that sum, while modest for many theater productions, will go towards presenting streamlined works.

“A lot of people will envision a play as...this big spectacle,” he said. “We’re going to be almost anti-spectacle. We’re here to show the plays, not show how we can do the plays.”

The company will stage the plays in a second-floor performance space at the Old Major bar in Pigtown. Regal noted that the space holds a few dozen people.

He declined to explain what plays the company considers new or overlooked “classics.” He and his colleagues plan to announce the company’s inaugural season in October, soon after the Kickstarter’s completion. Regal insisted that the campaign will reach its crowdfunding goal and added that its stability does not depend on the campaign’s success.

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