Springville is home to thriving arts community that is only about a half-hour south of Buffalo.
In this small rural town, the Springville Center for the Arts is leading a renaissance of sorts. The mostly volunteer-run Center went from an initial annual budget of $5,000 to today undertaking a two-point-one-million-dollar capital campaign to renovate the church it now owns outright and calls home.
Thursday night the Center opens with "Guys on Ice". WBFO'S Marian Hetherly took a ride down Route 219 to check out a recent rehearsal and produced an audio postcard:
"My name's Dave Danielson and I play Marvin, Marvelous Marvin, the ice fishing king. Basically, he's just your average Joe who knows that he's the best ice fisherman going and wants to get a show on TV and thinks this is his big chance. We're waiting for Cubby to come, who has his own fishing show, and I think that's my way out of my crummy job at the plant. I'm going to start a career on the TV. The play basically is about us waiting for Cubby and talking about the things that are important to us in life: love and beer and fish and the Packers. I've been doing plays here about five years or so. It's lucky to have the opportunity to have something like this around. It gives me a chance to perform and do it around here, where I live. I'm an insurance agent, so this is a good outlet for me."
"My name is Keith Cordaro and I play Lloyd, the married fisherman. Marvin and Lloyd are two really good friends and they manage to talk even though they don't. That's a lot of what it comes down to. I retired from the post office four years ago and was looking to do stuff around Springville and I saw the audition come up and I'd seen one of the shows before, so I figured 'why not, give it a try.' I did have some artistic tendencies when I was way back in school, but I didn't follow them up, so I guess this is part of my bucket list."
"My name is Kim Higgins. I'm the producer of the production 'Guys on Ice' for the Springville Center for the Arts, and I'm also the music director and the pianist in the pit. It's a hilarious farce, but very true as I understand it. My mother was born and raised in Wisconsin and said 'Kim, this is spot on.' This show is going to be going on the road some. It was a good show to do it with because we're a small cast, we have a very portable set. We're actually going to be going to Colden to be doing a show, we're going to be going to Cattaraugus to be doing a show, we're going to be in Holland doing a show, so we're looking into that opportunity as well. I think as we're expanding, there's also a lot of opportunities for us to do collaborative projects with the other theaters in Buffalo. We're not that far. If they could take our shows to different theaters, they could bring their shows here and we can widen both audience bases."
"I'm Doris Biscup. I've been a member of the Springville Players for over 30 years and this is my first directing experience so I'm pretty excited about that. The Springville Players was an organization that started a long time ago, I think back in the '60s. They were just a group that got together and did a couple shows a year and they would perform them on the elementary school stage in the cafetorium. So this building became available and we just said 'perfect.' It's a church. It used to be the Baptist church in Springville, but now we have to continue to do the upkeep. Because it's a historical building, we have boundaries. There's only certain things we're allowed to do. So it's not going to happen overnight, but when it's done it's just going to be beautiful. We're kind of doing our own Ani DeFranco thing here (laughs)."
"My name is Seth Wochensky. I'm the executive director of Springville Center for the Arts. What's really powerful is the idea that the arts can thrive in a place like this, the arts can thrive in Springville, you know, a town more well known for cows probably than anything else. Let's be honest. It's out in the stix and it's not an art town. It doesn't have the reputation. You know, it's not like an East Aurora or something like that. And we're not a very affluent community. So if the arts can survive here and thrive, then I think that's a model that we can look at and apply to a lot of other areas. I think what we're really successful at here is building community."
The performance runs through February 19th at the Springville Center for the Arts.