Local theater seeks help from community

  • Written by Madeline Coats


The Woodinville Repertory Theatre finished its 2019 season in October with “Lend Me a Tenor” by Ken Ludwig. The show was hosted at the theatre group’s previous location, Denali Slab Studio. Woodinville Repertory Theatre


Real estate costs a pretty penny in the Seattle metro area, especially in Woodinville. Finding space for a performing arts studio in today’s market is much more challenging.

After various moves and relocations, the Woodinville Repertory Theatre is searching for a permanent home. Board member Charley Blaine said the organization would prefer to stay in Woodinville.

“We can’t run a successful theatre without a permanent space,” Blaine said. “Not just a permanent home for the Woodinville Repertory Theatre, but for the arts community scattered from the Snoqualmie River to Bothell.”

The theatre was previously located at Denali Slab Studio on Redmond-Woodinville Road from 2011-19. Blaine said the studio moved to a new place with less space to share, leaving the organization homeless.

Blaine said it is expensive to find a new place and the process is taking more time than anticipated. The organization is searching for a long-term solution, he added.

“A number of places have fallen through,” he said. “We hope that it will come together.”

The theatre group wants to work with the community to find a central location. Blaine said the city of Woodinville “does not have an active role with the arts.” 

He said the group aims to bring together the city, community members, local businesses and other arts organizations to develop a center for the arts in Woodinville.

Theatre supporters have suggested using the Woodinville High School, but he said there is not enough space. Blaine foresees a future arts center filled with classes, performances, studios and galleries. He said the center would provide a gathering space for artists to display and show their work. 

“We want to host an ungodly number of arts events, scattered all over the space,” he said. “Woodinville needs something like that.”

The Woodinville Repertory Theatre was founded by the late Peg Phillips, best known for playing storekeeper Ruth-Anne Miller on the television series Northern Exposure. 

“It’s hard, even though we’ve been around 20 years,” Blaine said. “A lot of people don’t know we’re around.” 

He said the theatre has 3-4 shows per year and hopes to continue at the same rate in 2020 and beyond. Each show produces a few weekends of live performances, many of which sell out of tickets. The theatre finished its 2019 season in October with “Lend Me a Tenor” by Ken Ludwig. 

“We don’t have much money to spend, but we get good people,” Blaine said.

The organization has been provided with temporary shelter by Redmond Academy of Theatre Arts, near Avondale Road. The theatre will present “Chapter 2” by Neil Simon on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, March 6-27.

The semi-autobiographical play tells a story about grief and love. Tickets can be bought online for $20, with discounts for seniors and students.

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