Hard Road Theatre Productions has decided to revamp the auditorium stage at Highland Elementary School.
“We really like investing and reinvesting into the community and what better way than to renovate a building that not only we, but children get to use also,” said Evan Fifer, a long-time Hard Road participant.
Hard Road Theatre is a non-profit community theater group. The group formed in 2001 and has since preformed popular shows such as “Alice in Wonderland Jr.,” “Shrek the Musical,” “Beauty and the Beast Jr.,” “Young Frankenstein,” and “The Odd Couple,” just to name a few.
The theater group made an agreement with the Highland School District to resurface and repair the auditorium stage, which was approved at the March 27 Board of Education meeting. During the meeting, representatives from Hard Road said the floor was in “horrible” condition and part of the school district maintenance team said their assessment was accurate and the repairs were about 15 years past due.
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The group puts on four to five shows a year, splitting them between venues at the elementary school and Highland High School. However, the elementary school auditorium is its primary space. Fifer said that the group puts just as much wear and tear into the stage as do the school and other organizations.
“It gets abused by tap shoes, choreography, and set pieces,” Fifer said.
The new stage coating is six times stronger than any previous surfacing done on platform, according to Fifer. This means that, after the rehab, the current floor will hopefully not need permanent replacement for several years. The stage was also painted black, so it reflects a modern theater stage.
The cost of the project totaled a little over $5,000 and was finished Memorial Day, around 2 a.m. In exchange for the repairs, the School Board agreed to credit the theater group $1,125 for use of the auditorium during one show in the coming year.
“I am sure when the audiences this summer see the new floor, it will give a breath of new life to the space,” Fifer said.
About two years ago, the organization also invested about $10,000 to replace the dimmer and lighting system in the auditorium.
Hard Road, which is a non-profit organization, paid for the project through ticket sales and its patron program, where benefactors can pledge money at different levels of support. Tickets can be bought at the Hard Road website, hardroad.org.
“Each season helps pay for the next and the patron program really allows us to do renovations,” Fifer said.
Hard Road’s next play will be “Disney’s The Lion King Jr.” In the show, the lion cub, Simba, son of King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi is born. When Simba is young, a tragedy befalls his family and he is thrust into the classic tail, that is widely known and loved. The show runs June 22-25 in the Highland Elementary auditorium.
Other 2017-2018 Hard Road productions include:
▪ “Freckleface Strawberry the Musical,” July 13-16 in the Highland Elementary auditorium
▪ “Sister Act,” July 28-30 and Aug. 4-6 in Highland Elementary auditorium
▪ Neil Simon’s classic comedy “Plaza Suite” in October
▪ “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” in January and February 2018