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The thespians made the most of creating online content during the pandemic, and live plays are now making a comeback.

COURTESY PHOTO: BEAVERTON CIVIC THEATRE - Actresses Jeanine Stassens, left, and Angela Michtom pose for a portrait for 'Two Witches, No Waiting,' which will be performed by Beaverton Civic Theatre Nov. 4-20.After casting two witches and nearly three years of waiting, Beaverton Civic Theatre will be welcoming audiences back in person for the first time since March 2020.

Set to take the stage in early November, actors and a class of understudies will be performing "Two Witches, No Waiting" at the Beaverton City Library auditorium.

The first production in nearly three years marks a huge transition back to normal, after the nonprofit community theater company pivoted to teaching young thespians everything from space and history to money and dance while social gatherings were prohibited.

Beaverton Civic Theatre had to put on the brakes during the last weekend of performances of "Ramona Quimby" in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it hasn't performed in person since.

"We, like many folks, assumed it would wrap itself up pretty quickly," said community engagement manager and "Two Witches, No Waiting" director Amanda Clark. "We soon found out that wasn't the case."

From there, said Melissa Riley, artistic director and founder of Beaverton Civic Theatre, the group had to find a way to use what it had to expand its online programming and keep the Beaverton community engaged.

"All of the sudden with the pandemic, we had a vast amount of resources, really cool props, costumes and photos from all the shows," Riley said. "How do we take that library and resources and still give members of the community that behind-the-scenes experience?"

The theater expanded its education programs through online classes for children on anything from writing and science to time-traveling detectives teaching about the past and how to use knowledge of history in the present day.

The group also produced two films (available for free here) that brought in stories and histories of other cultures.

"It showed how much more we could do when we think outside the literal box of the Beaverton City Library auditorium," Clark said.

Organizations, public spaces and schools reopened through the summer, but Beaverton Civic Theatre waited a bit longer to ensure its cast and crew could return safely before planning an in-person play.

"For (professional) actors and crews, for those people, that's their job, and they're paid to be there," Clark said. "We were asking the community to come back in and volunteer their time and talent, so we wanted to be sure they could be safe doing that."

The cast was selected in early September, and work began immediately to get the show ready.

"When I walked into that first rehearsal, I got a little verklempt," Clark said. "It felt like coming home to that space."

Riley said it felt "like last two years didn't happen, and we just pressed pause."

A silver lining caused by the pandemic is the addition understudies to the troupe. If the coronavirus or other illness rears its head on a show date, the Beaverton Civic Theatre has a full cast of understudies to stand in for the absent.

Sans illness, the entire cast of understudies will get to perform the show together Friday, Nov. 11.

As for the rest of the performance season, Riley said the group is easing back in, with the show next month and another set for the springtime.

"We're not going to start right back with eight shows again," Riley said. "We'll build a little bit."

"Two Witches, No Waiting" premieres Friday, Nov. 4, and runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 20 at the Beaverton City Library auditorium, 12375 S.W. Fifth St.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students and senior citizens, and $5 for children 10 years old and younger. Those who bring a used book to benefit The Book Corner in Beaverton on opening night get $5 entry.

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