The REP hosts year-round events through creative collaborations By Erinn M. Stranko
When The Repertory Theatre of Seaside (The REP) began in 2001, it was a daring move in a community with stark differences from the Seaside of today. With a lack of long-term residents, a theater was a bold addition to the then tiny populace living fulltime in South Walton. The vision certainly has paid off. In 2017, The REP staged approximately 370 performances throughout Walton County. In addition, The REP reached nearly 1,200 patrons through community outreach and educational performances and workshops not included in regular season.
Throughout its 17 years, The REP has partnered with community leaders and other non-profit organizations to expand its programming and make year-round use of the Seaside Meeting Hall Theatre. The space allows The REP to stage multiple shows throughout the year, and invite others in who work to enhance the cultural enrichment offerings in the area. Most recently, The Seaside Institute featured The Seaside Strings throughout both outdoor venues and The REP stage where the youth showcase “Stars of the Future” took place. You could hear a pin drop between each piece played by the prodigal musicians led by artistic director Boyan Bonev. The small space proves to be a favorite for musicians who tout its superior acoustics and warm atmosphere.
A second partnership with numerous offerings is that of Escape to Create. Founded in 1993, Escape to Create brings a multitude of artistic disciplines to its annual artists’ retreat in Seaside. Throughout many years of working with Escape to Create, The Goody Playwright Fellowship was born, and each year The REP performs staged readings during the retreat featuring the work of select playwrights. This has led to additional performances from Escape to Create playwrights on The REP stage. Those include Rich Orloff’s “Big Boys” and multiple original works from Gavin Robertson and Nicholas Collett, who just premiered a fresh work titled “Brits vs. Aliens,” in addition to three other original plays: “Nelson,” “Bond: An Unauthorized Parody,” and “Your Bard!” Not only does the partnership strengthen The REP’s reach into the performing arts world, it allows artists the opportunity to incubate and test more experimental works in a culturally supportive environment.
As The REP prepares for another record-breaking year of staged and touring performances, 2018 brings several fresh and remarkable musicians with the Live@TheREP Concert Series. After a heavily attended fall concert season, The REP intends to sprinkle in concerts where possible between theatrical performances.
Singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters says, “I love this place. It is like a little piece of New York City right here in Seaside.” In 2018, The REP welcomes Virginia natives, The Honey Dewdrops, Tucson, Arizona’s Ryanhood, who are the 2014 International Acoustic Music Award winners of Best Group/Duo. Caroline Cotter returns with Michael Howard, and Amy Black is back in January as well. More shows round out March with the very popular, Harpeth Rising appearing for two nights on the 14th and 15th. More information about The REP’s performances, dates, times and tickets are available at LoveTheREP.com or by calling the box office at (850) 231-0733.