Theatre on the Hill, a mainstay of summer theater in Carroll County, has canceled its 2002 season because of renovations to Alumni Hall at Western Maryland College.
The professional theater company typically stages five productions throughout the summer, with professional actors from Baltimore, New York City and Washington. Theatre on the Hill has 600 subscribers.
The decision to temporarily suspend production was difficult, said Ira Domser, producer and one of the founders of the Westminster-based company, but renovations to the 500-seat main stage are long overdue.
"We thought about doing a small show, but it didn't make sense logistically to cut back," he said.
Domser said he realized he would have trouble hiring enough actors for a shortened season. He usually hires about two dozen actors, who live on campus and act in all of the organization's summer shows.
"I can't make offers to actors that are attractive enough," he said.
Renovations to the Victorian-style building include enlarging and computerizing the box office, improving the concession area in the lobby, organizing props and costume areas, and creating a small recording studio.
Domser was unsure how much the renovations will cost.
In the two decades since Theatre on the Hill began, Domser has presided over 50 productions ranging from Romeo and Juliet to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The theater company will resume performances next summer.
Theater on the Hill last went dark in 1994 when elevators accessible to the disabled were added to the century-old building.
About 40 productions are staged annually at Alumni Hall.
Other summer events, including Common Ground on the Hill - an annual music and arts festival - will not be affected.