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Shooting at a variety of local theatres, I get to see lots of different venues and production capabilities. Some have large stages, some can reconfigure the stage, some are small and intimate.

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I’ve been shooting the one annual musical production of Plainview Community Theater for a few years. Previously, they’ve had their shows in the Jon Hassler Theater. It was used for professional productions since 1999 or so, and PCT was able to stage their shows there. While not a sophisticated theater, it did have good seating and was setup with a full complement of stage lighting.

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Alas, the building was sold and is no longer available to PCT. Instead, they used the sanctuary of the church across the street from the old Hassler. It’s┬ámuch smaller with pews for seats and no lighting. But the group made do, constructing a stage and bringing in lights on large stands. Scene changes used minimal pieces that could be easily brought in and out or reconfigured as needed.

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The lights provided less ambience than might be expected at a musical, but in some ways made photography easier. They were good and bright, there were some hot and cold spots, but they really weren’t able to do a lot of gels.

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It’s all really an amazing community effort to make a big musical happen. I’m always struck by the community spirit I witness at these shows. They are big, they have a big cast, everyone seems to be so thrilled to be in or working on the show. And they fill all the seats they can make available.

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I view it as the poster child for community theatre. An amazing outlet for a small town filled with folks who love putting on a show. I heard there was some discussion of trying to gain support for adding a suitable auditorium to their high school which could certainly bring their productions up to another level. I hope they can manage that – their community sure deserves it.

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Once again, the show this year, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, was a hit with their audience. And while the lighting was limited, they sure had their share of fun and colorful costumes, so the photos can highlight that.

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A large black drape covered much of the front of the sanctuary. I tried to keep that behind the players for the most part, and black works well to showcase the colors and actors.

I haven’t heard what show they will tackle next year, but I’m sure it will be fun. I wonder where it be staged…

I have a couple theatre shoots coming soon, one this month and another early December. Should be a blast!