TOWN OF LEE — A three-day festival featuring top theater performances from across the state will be coming to the Rome Community Theater (RCT) for the first time this fall.
The 8911 Turin Road facility in Lee was selected last month to host the Theatre Association of New York State’s (TANYS) annual festival on Nov. 22-24, and also will host it in 2020.
About eight or nine productions that TANYS adjudicators select as the “best of the best” that they have seen will be performed at RCT during the festival, said Lee resident John Parker, an RCT Board of Governors member who is chairman of the 2019 TANYS festival. Annually, about 70 or more community theaters sign up to be TANYS members plus some high school theater groups, said Parker, who also is a TANYS Board of Trustees member.
Hosting the event and the approximately 100 visitors coming into town will involve various logistics for RCT and its volunteers such as hotel, banquet and overall dining arrangements plus scheduling the shows and rehearsals, Parker noted.
“I think this is a great opportunity to bring some money into the Rome economy and allows RCT to show off our great facility” to other theater groups, said Parker in a document for the RCT board; a number of other community groups rent and perform in churches or gyms, he observed.
“I have a passion for this stuff,” Parker, who has been involved with RCT for over 20 years including both on-stage and off-stage, commented separately. Regarding the TANYS festival, he had wanted to “see us bring this thing to Rome....I want to bring it to fruition now that it’s here.”
Overall, “TANYS inspires excellence in theater communities,” Parker observed.
RCT has never hosted the TANYS festival, said Parker, but has twice hosted the Eastern States Theater Association (ESTA) festival. The TANYS festival for the past six years had been held in Auburn at Cayuga Community College, but Parker said there was a decision to give other locations an opportunity to host it which led to the TANYS trustees approving RCT’s proposal.
The theme of the festival at RCT will be “TANYS is forever,” said Parker. He explained the phrase reflects the 60th anniversary of the festival; the association of diamonds with 60th anniversaries; and the James Bond film “Diamonds are forever.”
The Rome-area community is invited to come watch the various performances at the TANYS festival, Parker said. The top two shows as determined by adjudicators will go on to the ESTA festival.
RCT was formed in 1953, combining the Rome Theater Guild and the Rome Civic Theater. RCT’s theater has a seating capacity of about 230.