Productions are all-hands-on-deck operations where actors might run lights or assist with props, and the “from page to stage” approach employed at the theatre means the journey to get the production ready for an audience is just as important as the performance itself. Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School junior Emily Blodgett spent last summer as a theatre intern and has been taking classes or performing at Harwich Junior Theatre since she was three years old. “I got to see the inner workings of what goes on,” she says. “I never appreciated how much effort goes into putting a show on.”
On a peninsula often mistakenly defined with one identity despite its many distinct villages, Harwich Junior Theatre’s classes and outreach programs bring the kids on Cape Cod together in a unique way. In 2010, roughly 400 students of all ages and backgrounds enrolled in the theatre’s workshops, cultivating their common passion for drama and theatre.
After years of shuttling his son (and later his daughter) to the theatre, Charles McIntyre—Nat’s father—cast an eye on the stage. “I had to take him to practice and to the shows and needed to get there an hour before the show,” says Charles, “and I thought, ‘I might as well just do the show.’” After his first part in Ah, Wilderness (“I don’t even know if I had three lines,” he said), Charles landed many roles in the following years—he especially enjoyed playing the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz. In The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Charles enjoyed watching his son command the spotlight as Ichabod Crane, while he played a smaller role.
But rather than just finding time in the spotlight, the theatre became a place where father and son could find common ground and where the typical baggage that comes with being a teenager was set aside.
“I never went through a period when I thought my dad wasn’t awesome,” says McIntyre, who also teaches acting with the Epic Theatre Ensemble, an educational theatre program in New York City. “And I think that [his participation in the theatre] was a big part of it. It kept us on the same page.”
“Betty Bobp knew that intergenerational theatre was the truest and purest form of theatre,” says Schuessler. “It holds a mirror up to nature. Betty knew the discipline of theatre and knew how it could transform lives. We invite children into the world of theatre with high expectations,” she says. “They never let us down.”
The theatre’s decades as a Harwich mainstay are not lost on those who are still blossoming on its worn stage. “It is interesting to learn the history of the theatre and see people who come back,” Blodgett says. “It is cool how long people have cycled through and have been doing the same thing as I am doing. It is a changing thing, but a constant thing.”
- Posted in Arts & Culture