Ocean State Theatre Company Working Toward Expanding Programming
Ocean State Theatre Company (OSTC), the not-for-profit producing entity at the historic Theatre By The Sea, continues working toward expanding its programming in order to fulfill its mission “…to pursue avenues of enrichment and education for the benefit of… the state of Rhode Island through live theatre."
Since the founding of OSTC in 2007, the company has been exploring opportunities to add an educational component, to include the expansion of their summer camp, theatre classes, and productions in support of school curriculums; as well as the opportunity to produce a diverse assortment of programming during the off-season; and facilities to allow for year-round office space.
During the summer the company took the first step toward this expansion with the introduction of Camp OSTC. Under the guidance of theatre professionals, campers participated in a two-week camp, which included both fun and learning, culminating in a full-scale musical production performed on the Theatre By The Sea stage in front of two nearly sold-out houses.
In September, the company took another step forward in their mission with the successful production of the Rhode Island premiere ofAlfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps. The popular comic thriller represented the first non-musical produced by OSTC and enjoyed stellar reviews during its limited two-week run.
“Since the Theatre By The Sea property is not insulated or heated, utilizing the property beyond the summer months limits any opportunity to expand our programming,” said Amiee Turner, Producing Artistic Director. “Almost from the moment we began at Theatre By The Sea, we have been exploring available spaces throughout Rhode Island, knowing that in order to present more productions and offer educational programming during the off-season, we would need to find additional space. Most people don’t realize that we currently have no permanent office space. We have to relocate our offices around the property each season.”
To that end, the company recently found a promising space in East Greenwich that would have fulfilled the need for permanent year-round office space, and could be used for camps and classes. The property also includes a 10,000 square foot space that could have been developed into a performance space.
“East Greenwich town officials have been completely supportive, since we first met. The town rolled out the welcome mat from day one in support of this project,” said Joel Kipper, Managing Producer. “Unfortunately, through our due diligence, we discovered challenges within the building that made it impractical to pursue.”
Now that the East Greenwich property is no longer an option, OSTC has turned its attention to a promising alternative on Jefferson Boulevard, which offers similar possibilities. OSTC is currently working with owner Steve Soscia to submit the required application for a special use permit. “Warwick town officials have been extremely supportive and welcome the positive economic impact this could have on Warwick,” continued Kipper. “Although it is easy to get excited about an expansion like this, we remain cautiously optimistic pending the outcome of normal due diligence.”
In addition to OSTC’s continued efforts toward expansion, they are simultaneously focused on the upcoming 2012 summer season at Theatre By The Sea, which marks their fifth anniversary on the historic property. In celebration of their fifth full season, OSTC plans to produce four must-see musicals including the ever-popular, Forever Plaid, the family classic, The Sound of Music, the Rhode Island premiere of Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5: The Musical and the current Broadway hit, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Gift Tickets and subscriptions for the 2012 season are currently available and can be purchased by calling the box office Monday through Friday from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm at (401) 782-TKTS (8587) or by visiting them online.