Batavia Players sign three-year lease to stay at 56 Harvester

Feb 24, 2015

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BATAVIA — After contemplating a move across town to the former St. Nick’s site, Batavia Players has decided not only to stay put at 56 Harvester Ave. but has signed a three-year lease and plans to expand in pockets of the business complex and with new exciting programs, Patrick Burk says.

He had previously made an announcement that the Players would be trekking over to South Swan Street, but that was ruled out due to the costs and labor of being located in a flood zone.

After a meeting Saturday, the group opted to renew its lease with Mancuso Development Group, hire a new part-time educational director and kick off a new educational youth program, which includes Spring Break Theater School and After- School Program. The new educational center is to be opening in March.

The stage is somewhat landlocked as is, Burk said, but members are looking at increasing costume storage space and other areas of the theater.

“I think it’s going to be great,” he said Saturday afternoon.

The Players have also brought on two new directors: Alice Calmes, who is the Darien town clerk, and Dorothy Gerhart, a retired state Department of Conservation employee and actress at the theater the past five years.

Tara Pocock has been hired as the educational director. No stranger to Harvester 56 Theater, she has been scripting and producing dance plays the last several years there. As a result, she knows “how great the people are,” she said.

“Everyone is so thoughtful and caring, and it’s such a great environment,” she said Saturday. “It’s not like your typical job; it’s interesting and fun and gets the word out about Harvester theater to kids all around the school districts.”

She plans to reach out to kids in various school districts and show them that they can have fun while interacting with the theater. That means a lot of promotional materials and working to get more youth involved.

“Getting the kids involved in seeing the shows is great, but also making educational programs such as over spring break and after school programs to get the kids into the theater acting, dancing, learning stage fighting, etc., is the main goal,” she said. “Harvester is such a great theater and offers so much that many know little about.”

She intends to maintain her own line-up of self-scripted plays, including “Viva Las Vegas” in August and choreography for other shows.

“I am extremely excited for this new job and role at Harvester,” she said. “I love promoting new things and getting people from the community involved and can’t wait to see the outcome.”

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