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Sandy Actors Theatre gear up for 2014-15 season

Like all community-based companies, Sandy Actors Theatre could not operate without volunteers.

Volunteers build sets, create costumes, manage props, design light and engineer sound, notes Lexy Dillon, SAT’s volunteer coordinator.

“A show becomes a community that exists for a brief period of time to create,” says Dillon, who’s worked both onstage and off for the company. “Being a part of a this for me is energizing and fun.”Photo Credit: LEXY DILLON - From left: Sandy Actors Theatre volunteers Richard Keys and Vernon Sonders Jr. work on a set. The popular community theater relies on volunteers like these two to put on its high-quality productions year in and year out.

SAT will thank its volunteers, from those who work backstage to those who man the concession stand out in the lobby, at AntFarm, 39140 Proctor Blvd., Sandy, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13. The evening is also designed to introduce potential volunteers to the theater.

The evening will include free desserts, a tour of the theater and a peek at a rehearsal for Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest,” which kicks off Sandy’s latest season Friday, Sept. 12, and runs every weekend through Sunday, Oct. 5. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays.

Prior to the evening, The Outlook talked to some of the folks who have contributed their talents to making SAT one of the area’s most successful community theaters. Those folks include Roger Nelson, a retired mechanical engineer whose wife, Cheryl, has acted in a number of SAT productions. Nelson has served as a set designer and builder for the troupe as well as taken photographs for SAT.

Nelson says he spends anywhere from 50 to100 hours on designing a set.

“It needs to start with the director having a vision for what they want in a play,” he says.

Building a set can be challenging, especially when the company wants to realize a playwright’s ideas, he adds. For example, Nelson says when SAT staged “The Game’s Afoot” in fall 2013, the play was both demanding and fun.

“One of the things that made it most difficult was that the playwright wrote into the script so many rooms and doors that we hardly had room on the stage to make it fit,” he says. “We had to build a secret sliding plane to reveal a secret room in that set.”

Nelson says he’s employed volunteers to build his sets as well as paint them, and he encourages anyone with carpentry and/or construction skills to consider helping out at the company.

“It’s not a downtown professional theater, but I think it puts out a very valuable product for the community,” he says. “It gives people an opportunity to see theater that they might not be able to afford in downtown Portland.”

That’s a point echoed by a relative newcomer to SAT, Amy Natalie Kammerer, who’s played roles on such TV shows as “Grimm” and “The Librarians.” A costumer and seamstress, Kammerer is sewing outfits for “Earnest” and has helped out with SAT for a year. She says she’s been highly impressed by the folks Sandy Actors Theatre attracts.

“Many of the people don’t realize the quality of professionals that are attracted to community theater work,” she says. “Very often the crew as well as the cast are professionally trained.”

She urges folks with any interest in theater to consider volunteering for the Sandy group.

“There are opportunities for many different skill levels and many different talents,” Kammerer says. “Volunteers will be nurtured and challenged.”

Photo Credit: CONTRIBUTED LOGO - Sandy Actors Theatre

Sandys Season

Sandy Actors Theatre presents the following plays in 2014-15 as part of its “Surrender To the Sweet and Suspenseful” season:

• “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde, Sept. 12 to Oct. 5.

• “Deathtrap” by Ira Levin, Nov. 14 to Dec. 7.

• “Barefoot in the Park” by Neil Simon, Feb. 6 to March 6.

• “Mornings at Seven” by Paul Osborn, April 3 to April 26.

• “Suite Surrender” by Michael McKeever, June 5-28.

For more information, visit sandyactorstheatre.org.

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