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Will the show go on?

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

NEW MARKET — A dozen theater patrons and volunteers discussed the logistics of starting a new theater company in New Market during a meeting at Town Hall on Aug. 11.

Don and Carmen Conard, owners of the soon-to-be-vacant Schultz Theatre building, asked participants for ideas about a possible theater’s name, organization and funding. Participants included Schultz’s costume designer, Carolyn Currence, and local actors Sean Prunka and Taylor MacMichael.

“We felt we had two options,” Don Conard said. “We could sell the building, or what the stupid people would do is keep the theater open and make sure it runs the best we can.”

The Schultz Theatre and School of Performing Arts announced last week that it’s moving to Broadway on Nov. 1. It was housed at 9357 N. Congress St.

Conard said recruitment of local actors and directors would be easy because most perform around the Valley with no allegiance to a particular theater.

The challenge, he said, would be attracting volunteers to help with concessions, bookkeeping and other jobs.

Currence urged anyone to volunteer, regardless of their skills.

“Whatever you have a talent for doing, there’s something to do,” she said. “You can help at the box office, sew costumes or go to thrift stores for props.”

Money would also be a concern for a new theater. Conard estimated annual expenses at $40,000 to $50,000, and donations wouldn’t be tax-deductible until the group receives nonprofit status, which could take eight or nine months.

“We’re considering a membership drive, with membership $10 to $15 a year,” Conard said.

In an unofficial tally of a theater name, six participants voted for the New Market Theater, while six voted for the New Market Rouss Theater, after the Winchester haberdashery supplier that funded the building’s construction in 1900.

Thomas Constable, a former mayor of New Market, suggested asking the New Market Historical Society for its input on possible names.

He added that the theater group should start gathering people and resources quickly.

“[Schultz’s] quality has grown tremndously, and you defnintely have a following,” he said. “Don’t let the grass grow under your feet.”

Conard acknowledged how difficult starting over would be, but said the theater’s history and the love it has around town will make the effort worth it.

“The theater is too valuable for what it has done for this town,” he said. “I don’t see any reason why the public won’t continue to support it.”

The group held a second meeting on Thursday at the New Market Area Library.

Inquiries may be directed to the Conards at 484-3134 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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