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A theater group for everyone

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By Brenda Sexton-The Courier-Herald

For more than a decade, Plateau Community Players provided audiences with high-quality theater productions like “Brigadoon” and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” The nonprofit, community theater group plans to continue its production of top-notch live theater, but with a new moniker and a fresh outlook.

Doing business as Everyone's Theater Company, Jenna Riley said it's time to pass the torch and head in a new direction.

Its last production as Plateau Community Players was “I Hate Hamlet” in May. At that time, in the program, organization leaders wrote, “We plan to rebuild our base of volunteers and reach out to surrounding arts and music teachers, groups and leaders to develop, grow and lead us in the direction of full seasons of productions.”

“Enumclaw is pretty special,” said Julie Somers, who will serve as ETC's director for its opening production, “You Can't Take It With You,” this fall. Those associated with the Plateau arts scene may remember Somers as the veteran Enumclaw High drama teacher. She recently earned her master's degree in theater from Central Washington University and is teaching at Lincoln High in Tacoma. Others may recall Somers as director for Plateau Community Players' productions of “Once Upon a Mattress” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”

“It has a choral group, an orchestra and a vibrant arts organization in Arts Alive!” Somers said of Enumclaw. “All this without the benefit of being a college town or a Tacoma; it's pretty unusual to have arts of this extent in a community of this size.”

As ETC, they believe the arts are essential to a thriving community and the community is thriving. Its mission is to provide those in the community the opportunity to learn, participate in, enjoy and grow through an involvement in theater. The second prong of that mission is to provide an outlet for imagination, creativity and entertainment for all ages through promotion of the arts.

As part of that, organizers would like to collaborate with artists and artistic organizations in an effort to facilitate mutual support, recognition and the exchanging of ideas. The Plateau's growing population gives actors and audiences more opportunities to participate, they said.

“Competition makes a better product,” Somers said. “Cooperation makes a better product as well.”

Ultimately, ETC would like to draw semiprofessional actors to its stage.

“I'm hoping I can be a unifying force,” Somers said. “When you talk about hopes and dreams, I would like to see a unified arts community.”

Word was spreading quickly as Everyone's Theater Company held auditions recently for "You Can't Take It With You.” The group will perform the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman the weekends of Sept. 20 and Sept. 27 at the White River High School auditorium.

“You Can't Take it With You” is the original story of a family of zanies. The Sycamores are an eccentric family whose daughter, Alice, tries to keep a close rein on her family's brand of quirkiness when she brings her fiancĂ©, Wall Street heir Anthony Kirby Jr., and his parents home to meet her family for the first time. Only the stuffy Kirbys could resist the charms of the dozen people living under the Sycamores' roof.

Everyone's Theater Company has set up a Web site for information at www.everyones-theaterco.org. Information is also available by calling 360-825-0774.

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