If you’re in need of an escape from reality, Lowell’s various theater groups have upcoming productions that can do just that. From plays that embody the relationship between two dissimilar family members, to festivals that celebrate females in film, these productions are ready to let you flee from your daily responsibilities.
Merrimack Repertory Theater
MRT remains true to their mission statement to “share theatrical stories of human understanding that reflect and engage community” for 40 years. Under the direction of Artistic Director Sean Daniels and Executive Director Bonnie J. Butkas, MRT allows their audience an opportunity to be so much more than a spectator in the crowd. They get their audiences to experience the play so deeply it feels as if they’re on the stage themselves.
With the brand new month comes a brand new play for people to enjoy opens February 13th and runs to March 10th. The World Premiere of “The Heath” by Lauren Gunderson will bring you into the world of family members with dissenting personalities, yet their differences are what makes their relationship that much more beautiful.
Image Theater was formed in 2005 as a non-profit theater company. In the nearly 15 years the company has been around, they have made quite a name for themselves as they do so much for local writers, playwrights, novelists, and filmmakers. Founders Jerry Bisantz and Ann Garvin have worked with gifted producers in order to produce their fan-favorite “Keep Your Kids at Home” naughty readings; “Mill City Minutes” ten minute plays; and the full length play “Kerouac’s Last Call”.
Garvin had humbly noted that Image Theater is a “little homeless theater company” as the group does not have one set home stage, however numerous Lowell companies have welcomed their productions with open arms. You can find Image Theater’s productions at popular Lowell destinations such as The Old Court Pub, The Whistler House Museum of Art, and The Lowell Freshman Academy. The company will take an interesting spin on Garvin’s “Femnoire: The Women’s Playwriting Festival” to create the “Femme Film Fest”, which will feature short films by women filmmakers from all over New England on May 3rd and 4th. Shortly following “Femme Film Fest”, the company will also produce some “one-acts” between May and November. Image Theater rarely follows a “set season”, but you can keep updated about exciting upcoming productions at www.imagetheater.com.
Only a short 5 years after Studio 506’s founding in 2014, what started with a few friends keeping the love of theater alive turned into a successful theater group in Lowell. Founder Kaitlyn Crockett hopes that Studio 506 sheds the “stigma” around what it means to be a community theater group. Instead, the company calls themselves an “Indie Theater Company” as they perform shows in creatively unorthodox ways to get the surrounding community connected to their shows. The group has had success with past productions. Some were performed in the center of a Lowell garden with the audience just inches away from the actors.
In March, Studio 506 will bring something new to the table with, “Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again”, a production written by Alice Birch and directed by Kaitlyn Crockett. “Revolt” will be performed at the Humanity Boutique, and it will discuss sex and gender in a way that “does not behave”. Don’t miss this rendition of a play that doesn’t play by the rules by a Lowell group that throws the concept of “ordinary” to the wind.
Balefire Theater Group
Similar to Studio 506, Balefire Theater is a recently created theater group (founded in May 2016), that wants to give their audience members a different theater experience. Past productions, such as “Sherlock Holmes: ‘A Study in Scarlet’”, involved audience members surrounding the action of the play while they are served dinner and drink. Balefire Theater recently began to adopt this production method of “Dinner Theater” in August of 2017, that allows audiences to enjoy the theater with their eyes- and their stomachs.
The next opportunity to please your palate will take place from March 21st-24th for the company’s upcoming production of “Waiting for Godot”. This play takes place in a post-World War II, and explores the awaiting of the mysterious “Godot” through the eyes of the two main characters. The play is a wonderful mix of history, humor, and the human experience that will serve warmth to your heart with a fresh side of laughter.
For locals who are wondering what UMass Lowell students bring to the stage, a Spring production called “Triptych” is currently in the works. President of the Off-Broadway Players club, Daisy Var, had done a wonderful job of relaying information about all things “OBP” in 2019, but her “lips are sealed” in terms of news for their fall production. However, there are 6 opportunities for folks to view Triptych from February 27th-March 3rd. The production will include original pieces that were written by the club’s advisor, Dr. Dale J. Young. Check out how these UMass Lowell students will bring this new creation to life!