By Pat Jewell
Tater Patch member
The curtain will soon rise on a new era for the Tater Patch Players.
Their Board of Directors announced Friday that the troupe has purchased a building, off Old Philadelphia Road near the Walmart, that they will transform into a theatre that promises to be a crowning jewel of Pickens County.
At right: Tater Patch Players members raise a toast at their new home off Old Philadelphia Road, near Walmart.
The theatre, when completed, will be sufficient to mount their shows in a flexible fashion. It will feature raised seating for an audience of about 160, with comfortable chairs, costume storage and set construction space, a light and sound booth, dressing rooms, plenty of bathrooms, and a green room for the actors. There is also plenty of parking.
The large metal building’s theatre section will be built out enough for the Tater Patch’s upcoming production of The Odd Couple in the spring. The front of the building already has office space which is situated on two stories. Some of these rooms will be converted to space for actors, while others will be used for offices.
“The first things to be done will be plumbing, heating and air, insulation and lights. That will get us into the building” said board member, Wayne Jewell. “We want our patrons to enjoy the show in comfort but will ask them to understand that this is a work in progress.”
“Having our own facility is a dream come true for the management folks in the group,” said Robert Countryman, President of Tater Patch Players. “We can plan our season and other activities the way they need to happen, not around someone else's schedule. We'll be able to do much more in the area of children's theater - shows by children and shows for children. We will be able to have workshops and training sessions, and outright classes in acting and producing shows.”
The Tater Patch Players performed for about 20 years in the auditorium at Tate Elementary school. But as the school's use of their facility increased, it became more and more difficult to schedule the access they needed to perform their shows. Since leaving there, they have done shows in the Old Tate Gym, the Canton Theater, The Community House in Ball Ground, Pickens High School, Jasper United Methodist Church, Big Canoe Chapel, Twelve Stone Farm, and the Chamber of Commerce building.
Rehearsals for the troupe were another thing altogether. Many will remember rehearsing in a barn with horses and cats and dogs and only a wood burning heater to keep warm. Because of the overwhelming community support for the troupe, many public buildings, private businesses, churches, and even homes have been utilized for auditions, costume fittings, and rehearsals.
More recently, the troupe has maintained a space on East Church Street for these essential functions, but the space was not suitable to stage a show.
“We are extremely grateful to the Pickens County Chamber of Commerce for their support in the past year by letting us perform in their community room. Please call the Chamber for your events needs. We have it on good authority that there are now some free weekends for your function to be held in the community room,” said board member Nan Nawrocki.
“The appeal of Jasper and Pickens County for visitors will be enhanced with the addition of a new theater that will be the home of the Tater Patch Players” says Gerry Nechvatal,
Pickens County Community Economic Development Director. “The large and easily accessed location will allow a great number of people to discover and to enjoy the Players excellent productions which in turn will be beneficial to all local business. I greatly look forward to the Grand Opening.”
For directions, photos and more information, see www.taterpatchplayers.org and www.knowpickens.com.
The Tater Patch Players have taken great pride in bringing quality community theatre to Pickens County for over 33 years.
They will continue that tradition in their new home for many years to come. Come and join them in celebrating the exciting 2011 season.