Four County Build a Backstage
Founded in 1973, Four County Players is Central Virginia’s longest continuously operating community theater. Located in the small village of Barboursville, the theater is the cultural hub for the community, serving as both an artistic and educational center. Four County Players is well-known for its masterful musicals, hilarious comedies, thought-provoking dramas, and educational programming for kids.
Housed in the Barboursville Community Center, formerly the Barboursville High School auditorium, Four County Players works with Orange County to maintain this historic building and use it to provide the Central Virginia community with high-quality shows and educational opportunities.
This nonprofit organization, run almost entirely by volunteers, is supported financially through a membership program. The budget is small, but our heart and our impact are huge.
Our most recent Mainstage production, A Charlie Brown Christmas, made delightful use of the theater's proscenium stage.
Please take a look at the Four County Players website to get a closer look at the inspiring programming this community theater has provided to Central Virginia since 1973.
Our Build A Backstage Campaign:
Build a Backstage is our plan to add a 1,925-square-foot addition to the rear of the theater, providing:
- indoor workspace;
-storage space to save materials and lumber;
-an indoor staircase connecting the lower level with the stage level;
-a weatherproof environment for actors and builders.
The estimated cost of this addition is $200,000.
We have made many steps toward meeting this goal. Most exciting is a $50,000 challenge grant from The Perry Foundation. The foundation has pledged to complete their generous donation provided Four County Players has independently raised $90,000 by the December 1, 2017, deadline. With $39,000 in eligible dollars already received, and with further support from donors like you, we are confident that the goal is within reach.
We have also engaged Building Goodness Foundation (BGF), a nonprofit construction organization that connects skilled volunteers from the design and construction industries with high-impact nonprofit organizations in need of new or renovated space.
Additionally, we are working to secure other grants and donations from businesses and individuals in the Central Virginia area.
We'd like to invite you to help Four County Players reach its challenge grant deadline of December 1, 2017, by giving what you can to the Build a Backstage campaign through GoFundMe. This mini-campaign is just one building block in the effort to secure the funding for the backstage addition and break ground in Summer 2018.
Every dollar donated is one step toward the goal of building a backstage for Four County Players.
Why A Backstage?
By Debbie Owen - President, Four County Players Board of Directors
Let me take you on a tour of our current backstage:
When you sit in the audience enjoying a show on the mainstage, you may not realize that the back wall you are looking at is also the exterior wall of the theater. From the wings where the actors make their entrances, a small space opens directly to the deck that runs along the back of the building. To make a costume change mid-show, the actors go down a set of wooden steps, around a corner through the grass, and down another set of steps to reach the changing rooms below. If it’s raining, the stage manager sets umbrellas by the doors,upstairs and down, so actors can make this trip without getting their costumes wet. If a costume change is too quick, actors change right on the back deck, no matter the weather. If it’s windy, the wing doors have a habit of blowing open at the most inconvenient moments, and in one memorable show I remember chasing angel wings through the backyard between scenes!
So what is goal number one for the Build a Backstage campaign? We plan to re-build the staircase from the basement to the stage level and add a quick-change room in the backstage area, so that actors can make costume changes without fighting the elements or missing an entrance.
If you’ve attended any of our shows, you have undoubtedly enjoyed the beautiful sets that enhance the performance. Have you ever thought about how those sets get built? Volunteers come every Saturday for six to eight weeks for set work-days. Weather permitting, much of the construction takes place on the back deck or on the grass. Materials are stored on and under the deck where they are not fully protected from the weather. When volunteers arrive for the work-day, they have to make sure the materials they need haven’t been damaged by weather during the week and collect tools from three different storage areas around the building. Because a lot of construction also takes place on the stage, they have to thoroughly clean up at the end of the day so that the stage is ready for rehearsal. Our dedicated volunteers do all of this cheerfully out of commitment to the quality of our productions, but the difficulties of the work environment are challenging.
The second goal of Build a Backstage is to provide enclosed workspace for set building and painting, including dedicated storage areas which will reduce waste of materials, add security for our tools, and offer the ability to craft larger set pieces.
I do most of my theater work from backstage. Early on, I learned to define my stage manager role as taking care of any details that may cause stress for the actors, allowing them to put all their energy into their performance on stage. When people ask how the Build a Backstage project will help our productions, I think of it the same way: The audience may never see what is happening behind the curtain, but every performance will be enhanced by an improved work environment for the actors and crew.