ARTC moves labor of love to Winston-Salem
By: David Willard
The love parents have for their child protects, nurtures, sacrifices, and gives room for the child to become who they dream or aspire to be. For Marsha Hierl, this kind of love is what moved her to help start a new theatre company, and now Winston-Salem is reaping the benefits.
“My granddaughter’s love of theatre is what motivated me to become a part of the theatre scene,” Hierl said. “She began acting at age 12. She was acting in various shows all over the area. Walter Boyd; a theatre patron, producer and actor, heard about her and started following her performances.”
Hierl said Boyd and her granddaughter Gill Thornton started the Alamance Repertory Theatre Company (ARTC) in 2017. The original concept was that it could be a learning platform for Thornton to aid in her homeschool education. With this platform, Thornton could learn all aspects and grow in her love of theatre. Now, the vision has expanded with the move to downtown and takes its labor of love to theatergoers in Winston-Salem.
“They formed the Alamance Repertory Theatre Company as a way for her to immerse herself in theatre, learning all aspects from directing and producing to writing and acting,” Hierl said. “What started as a year-long project for her homeschooling experience turned into a growing theatre company that has founded its own theatre in the Downtown Arts District of Winston-Salem.”
Although the company just recently moved to the downtown Winston-Salem at the former Garage music venue (110 W. 7th St.), it has spent the last two years building its reputation of putting on quality productions that can touch home for its viewers.
“We have grown into a respected theatre company that strives to bring current plays to our audiences,” Hierl said. “We dare to touch on social issues that other companies shy from. We are a theatre company for the young at heart, run by the young…and not so young. Alamance, loosely, means ‘all mankind.’ The goal of ARTC is to bring theatre to all people in multiple areas. We have performed in Alamance, Guilford, and Forsyth counties. Opening our own theatre in October 2018, allows us to do more shows.”
Hierl said the first ARTC production was “The Rose of Treason,” and it was performed in Burlington at the Paramount Theater.
“I learned that theatre is fun and rewarding,” she said reminiscing on ARTC’s first play. “Seeing a play go from auditions, to cast selection, to rehearsals and developing the relationships between actors, to tech week, and finally to performances is such a wonderful feeling. You feel like even your small bit in the whole scheme of things was important.”
Hierl said ARTC has other plans for the theatre space that will impact other businesses and artists in the community.
“In the future, ARTC hopes to have regular shows at the theatre,” she said. “We also want to share the space with other local community theatres, and with companies coming from out of the area. We continue to work on the inside. Now that we have lights and seating, we want to work on professional lighting, a soundboard, expansion of the stage, and more cosmetic undertakings. Currently, we are fully functional, acoustics are fabulous and don’t require mics, but we always want to improve. In the entrance hall, we are having artist Donell Williams paint a mural. We want other artists to leave their marks on the hallway, as well.”
Hierl said ARTC is looking to make an impact on the area and has already shown that love and community can make dreams come true and bring people together.
The first show of the 2019 season will be “Stanley & Alice,” a comedy by Greensboro playwright Cindy Argiento. The show runs March 8, 9, 10, 15 and 16.