The Renaissance Theatre, a staple in the Mansfield community, is sure to always provide unforgettable shows to the public. But behind the scenes, it doubles as a safe space for
Composed of many local actors, The Renaissance has faces that can be seen time and time again in different plays and musicals. The theatre also enjoys bringing in out of area performers when they can, and find many of them return for other shows.
“Hiring professional actors is a big investment, but what we’ve seen is that by bringing in a handful of professionals into our already strong mix, we’re able to learn a lot from each other,” Operations Manager at the Renaissance Theatre, Ryan Shealy said.
Actor and drama teacher Izzi Robles is one of many outside actors ready to come back and perform at The Renaissance. In her senior year of college in 2021, Robles saw an audition posting for West Side Story at the theatre and knew she had to audition.
“There are many things I love about the Ren: the gorgeous theater, the wonderful talent, but the kind-hearted people are what makes this theater an absolute treasure,” Robles said.
The Renaissance also offers the opportunity for writers to be a part of the theatre through the Emerging Arts Program. Writers from all over the world have submitted their work to be workshopped over the course of one week to receive feedback and new ideas on how to improve their pages.
At the end of the week, actors will perform the work with the opportunity for the community to watch and provide critiques as well.
Pamela Morgan was grateful to be selected for the Emerging Arts Program for one of her playwrights. The program was so helpful and encouraging, she submitted another one of her works in hopes to be chosen again this year.
“Being selected felt a little like winning the lottery. Getting to travel to another theater, to experience this genuine and creative community who is interested in my work and interested in supporting new work in general, was like nothing I’ve ever experienced,” Morgan said.
Work from the Emerging Arts Program is performed at the Renaissance’s black box theatre, Theatre 166 located at 166 Park Avenue W. The small setting allows performances to be more intimate for the audience and the actors.
“It pulls you in because you have no choice. You’re literally six feet away from someone who’s having an emotional breakdown on the floor as part of the story, and you can’t help but feel more empathetic,” Shealy said.
The Renaissance Theatre’s mission is to educate, engage and inspire. They are able to fulfill this by welcoming any and all who come through their doors, actors and audience members alike.
The theatre tends to dig deeper into emotions and topics that are not largely discussed in everyday life with the intention to challenge ways of thinking and opening perspectives. The Renaissance encourages the exploration of these areas through their performances.
“We always ask ourselves, are we fulfilling our mission? And I am very proud to say, I think the team we have is currently doing that,” Shealy said.
For more information about The Renaissance Theatre or to learn more about upcoming performances, visit their website or call 419-522-2726.
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