Emerald Coast Theatre Company Moves To Grand Boulevard
October 17, 2016 by Manny Chavez
Lights…. Camera… Action!
SoWal theatre lovers will soon be able to enjoy Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) performances at their new home at Grand Boulevard amid all the shops and restaurants. The space is upstairs at 560 Grand Boulevard on the Hwy. 98 side of the building.
ECTC Producing Artistic Director Nathaniel Fisher can’t wait for the first production to unfold and talks excitedly about the company’s first “Upstairs” production, Constellations, to be held Oct. 20 & 21.
“This will be our new production home,” says Nathaniel. “Thanks to partner Grand Boulevard, the shared venue will allow us to create a flex space “black box theatre” with several curtained spaces available for our performances.”
Watching Nathaniel describe the potential for his new production home, you can’t help but get caught up in his enthusiasm.
“Our story is really one of opportunity,” he explains. “As we have created programming, we have created opportunities for kids to be on stage and opportunities for young actors to be able to get their first professional paycheck for doing what their dream is.”
Nathaniel and his wife Anna founded the not-for-profit theatre company in 2012 with the shared goal of enhancing and entertaining the Emerald Coast community through professional and educational theatre. The company has spread its wings thanks to the dedicated volunteers and community partners. His go-to staff consists of his wife Ann Fisher, Assistant Artistic Director; Laura Holloway, Family Comedy Improv Director; and Darla Briganti and Chris Sellick, Educational Programming Directors.
Funding for ECTC comes primarily from memberships, grants, donations, sponsors, and of course, ticket revenues. While the group has been primarily focused on educational theatre for kids with after-school programming, musical theatre workshops, and summer camps, the emphasis moving forward will be to focus on high-quality professional theatre programming. This year, in addition to Constellations, A Dickens Christmas: A Ghost Story adapted by Nathaniel Fisher, will be presented Dec. 8-24.
Last year’s Lip Sync Battle was an enormous success and such a fun time. As Nathaniel puts it, “even a banker might be itching to be on stage and this contest gives him or her the opportunity to do just that…a great crowd-pleaser for sure.” This year’s Battle will be held Nov. 10, 2016.
Between October and April of this year, a little over 5,000 people are expected to attend shows at the new three-stage venue. Professional shows, educational programming, improve shows, and the upcoming Lip Sync Battle will bring in these numbers.
“Our partnership with Grand Boulevard is perfect for ECTC because one of our visions is to help our community become a cultural destination. We have the beach, sure, but we want to see people come to cultural events as well. Our partners help us make this a reality,” explains Nathaniel.
The professional out-of-market talent coming here for productions allows for local talent to be able to learn and be inspired through the production experience. The collaboration between the two make for a great training environment. Professionals are always learning, regardless of their acting level.
“I’m a dreamer,” admits Nathaniel. “I’ve been so fortunate to have some amazing people come along beside me to dream with me. It’s through these relationships and partnerships that we’re here. We used to have to perform in empty retail spaces. So to have a place like this, with some consistency and a known address, at least people will be able to find us!”
The new “Upstairs” venue will offer the three stage areas, a green room, a lobby featuring local artists, a wine bar area, dressing rooms, etc. “We want to keep our audience space small and intimate. We want our professional actors to be close enough for the audience to be able to see the actors breathe.”
Nathaniel takes great pride in knowing that he has helped so many young actors learn their craft, continue their personal dream, and actually collect their first professional pay check. The future is looking brighter for young dreamers and also for locals and visitors to be able to enjoy and relish a growing cultural phenomena, right here at 560 Grand Boulevard, Upstairs!