Because they were forced to cancel their inaugural play due to the pandemic, their first major event was held in August of 2020 – an international drive-in film festival; the international part was an accident, thanks to a technology glitch.
“It ended up being a great thing – we received about 400 films,” Dawson remembers. “We had films from Ukraine, India, everywhere. We’ll host our fourth film festival this August, and we’ve developed an international following with filmmakers of all ages.”
Since then, they’ve hosted a one-man show, two plays (including “Private Lives,” which was canceled twice due to COVID-19), several readings, benefits and two more film festivals.
Katonah Classic Stage’s mission is multifaceted, but their main objective is to produce plays that Dawson believes are “the greatest plays ever written.” They also hold workshops for teens, introducing them to the classics. From April 11 – May 19, they’ll host a Speak the Speech workshop, which is an “introduction to acting Shakespeare,” on Tuesday evenings.
“Last summer, a group of high schoolers and one junior high student worked on Shakespeare for six weeks,” Dawson describes. “At the end, we made a movie out of it. We helped these actors get their feet wet with Shakespeare, so it’s not so foreign or intimidating.”
“Our tagline is that we’re a professional theatre with community at heart,” says Kearney. “That’s largely because the community has brought us up for these last few years – they really are the backbone of what we’re doing. And they’re also the people we’re trying to entertain.”
And entertain they do. To be honest, we had no idea we were missing a professional theater in our area, but now that we have one, we wish it’d been here along. We’ll see you at “The Glass Menagerie” in April.