“To enter a theatre for a performance is to be inducted into a magical space, to be ushered into the sacred arena of the imagination.”
~Simon Callow, Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World
Let me preface this post by saying ~ theatre is my passion and therefore, as a family, we try our best to see all that we can see!!!! One of the first things I do when booking a vacation, is check to see what plays & musicals are showing in the area. Arts, culture, history and museums can always be incorporated into your travels. Our kids have toured Antoni Gaudí structures in Barcelona, countless cathedrals & castles in Europe, walked the coliseum in Rome, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, explored a Spanish fort dating back to 1640 and sat through hours of musicals.
When we booked our trip to Salt Lake City this summer, we decided to research the local theatre. That is when we stumbled across Hale Centre Theater. We looked at the dates that we would be in town and noticed that Mary Poppins would be playing, so we booked our tickets and we were on our way.
History of Theatre ~
Theatre dates back to classical Athens in the 6th century BCE, starting out as a type of ritual for the purpose of entertainment. Theatre involved the use of costumes, masks and performers. Eventually, these acts evolved into theatre and the element of ritual was left behind. Theatre really began in Athens and included three types of drama, which are categorized as tragedy, comedy, and the satyr play. In the 3rd century BCE, theatre moved on to ancient Rome and took on a new art form, which included festival performances, nude dancing, acrobatics, comedy, and the tragedies of Seneca. In the 1500’s burlesque and comedy crept into theatre. There are references to theatrical entertainments in China as early as 1500 BCE. During this time, the Shang Dynasty was introduced involving music, clowning and acrobatic displays. The most famous morality play of medieval drama was Everyman in 1550. Interestingly enough, there was an end to the medieval drama in 1547 due to the weakening of the Catholic Church, which banned religious plays in many countries including the Netherlands, Papal States, and Paris. Golden Age Theatre took place from 1590 to 1681 when live theatre started up in Spain. Remarkably, 10,000 – 30,000 plays during the Golden Age are still considered masterpieces today. The 20th-century theatre is when political & epic theatre was introduced such as Theatre of Cruelty and Theatre of the Absurd.
At Hale Centre Theatre, ticket prices were unbelievably inexpensive at $32 per adult and $16 per child. Children under age 5 are not permitted, which I greatly appreciated. We could enjoy the musical without listening to screaming kids or babies crying. Don’t let the prices fool you, the stage is state-of-the-art, modeled after Cirque du Soleil, with multi-leveled moving floors. The first thing we noticed, as we took our seats, were the 40-50 Mary Poppins umbrellas hanging from the top of the stage. The set is completely magical! I expected a small-town community-type theatre, but was pleasantly surprised with the facility. The seating is ideal, providing optimal views from all seats due to the tiered, circular layout. I found the theatre to be quite similar to the theater at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas where Le Reve is featured. We actually sat in the last row at Mary Poppins, due to booking last-minute, and we had a perfect view. The furthest row is only 32 feet away from center stage.
Hale Centre Theatre offers season ticket passes for $173 per adult, $96 per child age 5-11, which includes entry to all productions. The 2014 season line up is Mary Poppins, She Loves Me, Catch Me If You Can, A Christmas Carol and Is He Dead? 2015 will be showing: Ghost the Musical, Over The River & Through The Wood, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Oklahoma!, and Big Fish.
The theatre has 75 minute tours available M-F fr, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. which provide interactive, behind the scenes experiences which include live auditions, a review of careers in theatre and performances by the participants – all free of charge! At the end of the tour you will be able to participate in a live performance. Groups must be a minimum of 25 and maximum of 80.
“If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you; but if you really make them think, they’ll hate you.” In short, entertainment fulfills our expectations. Art, on the other hand, makes no compromise for public taste as it inspires us to consider life’s complexities and ambiguities. Art is the opposition testing the strength of societal and cultural values-values that are thoughtlessly adopted by the mass of individuals living unexamined lives and all who cannot imagine a different way of seeing life.”
~ William Missouri Downs, The Art of Theatre: A Concise Introduction
“In theatre, the main objective is to make the art happy, not the audience! If you have to choose between the audience and the art, always choose the second! You must know that the audience will constantly pull you down; resist it and fly at the heights like an eagle!”
~ Mehmet Murat ildan
Hale Centre Theatre~
Hale Centre Theatre, named after Nathan and Ruth Hale, opened on July 12, 1985 with the show I Came to Your Wedding. In 1992, the theatre presented the Broadway musical, Brigadoon. In an effort to improve the sound and stage of the theatre, in 1998 the doors opened to a newly renovated, 42,000 square-feet in West Valley City, Utah with the performance of Thank You Papa. Hale Centre Theatre has a 12-month production schedule and hires actors for more than 350 roles each season.
“Now one of the largest and most respected community theatres in the country, Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley City’s success could be called a triumphant ending to this fabled story; yet, the founders continue the legacy of Nathan and Ruth Hale, adding new acts with their continuous ideas, innovations and improvements.” ~ Quote from the company website
“When a show ends, for a few days, my body sizzles with leftover energy, like a tree in the wake of a lightning strike.”
~ S.M. Stevens
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