Had a sit down recently – wearing masks, of course – with NTC’s Managing/Artistic Director Mary Caroline Moore, to talk about how they’ve fared the last year.
I’ll cut to the chase: Not too badly. NTC has used their downtime to good effect. Under MC’s direction, they’ve built a brand new rehearsal space, moved their shop, cleaned and organized the Props & Costumes storage loft, added a washer/dryer to the Costume Shop, and improved electrics, among other improvements. The lobby and bathrooms are undergoing renovations. The old wobbly and often broken seats in the mainstage space have been removed and replaced with moveable chairs that will allow them to distance audience members, if needed. All of this is to the good and will certainly expand their capacity though NTC was already a busy, busy theatre. They run a terrific children’s theatre program in addition to their slate of (nearly) year round shows in both mainstage and black box spaces.
MC gives a lot of credit to the current Board of Directors, whom she says “have been nothing but great, very hard working and always supportive.” I praise them too: in the last few years NTC has managed to purchase their old warehouse space and put a badly needed new roof on the building.
Which is not to say, there are still challenges. While there is a lot of space in that old warehouse, it wasn’t built to be a performance space and it shows, in the lack of fly space over the Mainstage, and the limited capacity. NTC can say it often sells out the House – but that’s because the House is too small. And I sure was disappointed to see that those new chairs don’t have arms. Theatre seats need arms.
When will NTC open it’s doors again? Still up in the air, as of this writing, but of course MC is keeping an eye on the situation. I should also note here that Artistic Director Tony Daniels has left, leaving MC alone in the management of the company. That’s not an easy place to be.
But for now, she’s handling it with grace.