By Jim Reiter
Two amateur theater groups are working together to create a permanent home for local theater in Calvert County. Twin Beach Players and New Direction Community Theater have created the Calvert Performing Arts Alliance in an effort to turn Prince Frederick’s National Guard Armory building into an arts center. Currently occupied by Prince Frederick fire and rescue personnel while they await completion of a new firehouse, the armory will be the subject of a Request for Proposals expected to be released soon by Calvert County.
Twin Beach Players was created in 1998 and currently performs in the North Beach Boys and Girls Club facility; New Direction Community Theater, coming on the scene in 2010, utilizes the St. Leonard Community Center, with rehearsals held in various locations.
Their alliance has so far secured 800 signatures on a petition to make the arts center a reality. They are seeking additional support from local organizations interested in utilizing the building, businesses to support the effort, and others who can help “rally the Commissioners and other county officials on our behalf,” according to a letter from the Alliance to “supporters of the arts in Calvert County.”
The letter states that a performing arts center “is financially viable through a combination of live theater and by providing classrooms, rehearsal space, and storage facilities for other groups.” The center would initially service the two theater groups, but gradually expand availability to other arts organizations. Final plans will be made after the groups see the county’s Request for Proposals and can get access to the armory building to gauge what repairs and renovations would be needed to turn it into an arts center.
“We are open to alliances and hope that other organizations in the county, both public and private, will be able to use the new spaces,” says Twin Beach Players President Audra Vernier. “We’re looking forward to bringing live theater to a permanent home in central Calvert.”