The Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival, which took up residence in Towsley Canyon in 2010 and hopes to extend hospitality to other performing groups, is looking for a few good men and women, preferably with heavy equipment.
Last year’s performance space was relatively close to the entrance to the park, which also put it close to freeway noise that created a ‘Tempest’ in itself.
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The thespians and their supporters are gearing up for this year’s summer festival, dedicated to creating a dynamic and inviting event space for both the festival and for the community.
“Ideally, we are looking to moving the performances further into the canyon, and further away from the competing noise from the freeway,” said the festival’s Artistic Diretor, David Stears.
“Rick Putnam (former Parks and Recreation Director for the city) and I walked around this property 20 years ago,” he recalled. “After shlepping stuff around from park to park, we really wanted to settle in one place and make this, the front 60 acres owned by the city, an event park for concerts and performances. Last year, we had our first show here, “The Tempest.”
Stears said that the festival is looking forward to working in the park again, but are stalled by some abandoned horse facilities on the site.
“Our project this year is to remove these abandoned horse stalls and move the performance space into the new area.”
Doing so would accomplish a number of goals for the festival:
- Allow crews to move the festival further into the park
- Create a more comfortable performance space for the audience attending
- Allow the growth of audiences for free performances, without significantly increasing demand or costs for the current sound system
- Remove a major obstacle for the creation of an ongoing community performance space in the park.
Stears was emphatic in letting everyone know that the stall area is the only part of the park that will be worked on. None of the surrounding area will be altered, as the natural area is what drew the group to the park in the first place.
Removing the stalls will actually be a good thing for the park, as the cinderblock walls of the dirt floor stalls are surrounded by decayed asphalt. There is no power, water or working sewage connected to the site
In addition, the debris can be stacked on site for future reuse or recycling.
With finances limited, no additional City funding is available, so the group is looking for a donation of resources to stop stalling and start producing.
Stears said that last year, C.A. Rasmussen construction gave them a good start on a permanent performance space, grading a large part of the area.
”This was nothing but gopher holes and weeds,” he said.
He estimated that a construction company could come in and complete the knockdown and storage of the cinderblock walls in two or three days.
The Santa Clarita Shakespeare Festival is a 501(c)3 organization, and any and all assistance and donations are tax deductible. For more information or a tour of the proposed area, contact the festival at firstname.lastname@example.org .