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Guy Sanville is artistic director of The Purple Rose Theatre Company. Photo: PRTC
By Donald V. Calamia
One of the best known theaters in the state is The Purple Rose Theatre Company located in downtown Chelsea. Founded by Jeff Daniels, the award-winning theater consistently produces high quality shows - many of which are world premieres. Nurturing those new works is artistic director Guy Sanville, who has probably brought to the stage more new plays - and successfully so - than any other director now working in the state. Sanville took time out recently from rehearsals for his latest world premiere, Gravity by David MacGregor, to talk about the popular theater.
What is your theater's mission statement?
To create a theater ensemble that strives to create and develop a dramatic experience that elevates the human spirit; to give a forum to established artists where they can work in a protected environment; to help the young find their voice; to include respect and compassion in the process of creation; to be the home of the new American play.
What are your theater's short-term goals and objectives - such as for the current season?
We are preparing our 2010-2011 season, our 20th. We are developing new work.
What are your theater's long-term goals and objectives?
To be able to keep doing what we're doing, the way we do it. And to keep getting better at it.
What makes your theater different from any of the others in Michigan? What is it about you that is unique?
The quality of every element we produce, our record of developing a company of talent in all areas of the institution and, of course, our founder and guiding light Jeff Daniels, an old school theater guy.
What is your programming philosophy? What type(s) of shows does your theater produce on its main stage - and why?
New plays that speak to the diversity of souls in this part of the world. There is nothing riskier for a theater to do than new work.
What other types of programming, if any, does your theater offer - such as theater for young audiences, educational outreach, etc.?
We do workshops for ages 10 to ? We believe tomorrow's audiences are in today's classrooms. We bring them in for student matinees.
Does your theater offer any classes or workshops - either to the general public or to industry professionals? If so, what are they?
We offer classes and workshops to both: Actor/Director Lab; Voice and Movement - all kinds of acting classes.
Is your theater an Equity (union) company?
Yes. SPT 8.
What is the philosophy you use to cast your shows? From what talent pool(s) do you draw from?
We have a company of associate and resident artists that we create work for and with. We are a theater company, not a producing organization. There is a difference.
How does an actor go about arranging an audition?
Call the office. We love actors and will always find time for them when we can.
Does your theater offer an apprenticeship or internship program? And if so, what is the criteria - and how does someone apply for such a position?
We have eight full time apprentices. It is a general apprenticeship. They learn how a first rate professional theater company runs from the ground up. They are paid well for apprentices and work between 60 and 80 hours per week. Candidates can apply online or pick up an application in the office.
Does your theater accept new play submissions? If so, how does a playwright go about submitting a script for your consideration?
Yes. See our Web site www.purplerosetheatre.org for submission guidelines.
What else should we know about your theater, the current season, etc.?
We are offering a wonderful mix of two world premieres, a classic farce and an American classic, Our Town, a show that is a rarity in a professional theater at a time when everyone seems to be doing one person shows.
Theater name: The Purple Rose Theatre Company
Business & performance address (including zip code): 137 Park Street, Chelsea, MI 48118
Web address: www.purplerosetheatre.orgpurplerosetheatre.org
Facebook fan page: Yes.
Business office phone (including area code): 734-433-7782
Business office hours of operation: 10 a.m to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday
Box office phone (including area code): 734-433-ROSE
Box office hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and one hour before curtain.
In what year was your theater established: 1991
Company's founders: Jeff Daniels
Current leaders or management team: Jeff Daniels (executive director), Guy Sanville (artistic director), Alan Ribant (managing director), Casey Grandon (development director)
Is your theater a non-profit, tax-exempt organization? Yes. A 501(c)(3)
Is your theater wheelchair accessible? Yes
During which months of the year does your season run? Year round
How many main stage productions do you offer each season? 4
How many OTHER productions or programs do you offer each season? Ling Room Group: A performance-based fund raising program adaptable to any space, time or venue.
How many seats does your theater have? 168
What type(s) of seating is offered to your patrons (ex: general admission, reserved, etc)? Reserved.
In general, what is the price range for your non-discounted main stage tickets (exclusive of service charges and other fees)? $20-$38.
Are there service charges or other fees added to the price of the tickets? And if so, what are those charges and fees? Fees apply for online purchases only; the fee varies.
In general, what is the price range for your OTHER programs and services? $75-$800.
Do you offer subscriptions to your main stage season? No.
Do you offer discounts to senior citizens (and if so, what are the details)? Yes. 62 and over receive $3 off.
Do you offer discounts to students (and if so, what are the details)? Yes. Half-price student rush.
Do you offer group discounts (and if so, what are the details)? Yes. Call the box office for information.
For ticket purchases, does your theater accept personal checks? Yes.
For ticket purchases, does your theater accept credit or debit cards? Yes.
Can tickets to your shows be purchased online - and if so, how? Yes. Visit Web site: www.purplerosetheatre.org.
ABOUT GUY SANVILLE:
Guy Sanville directs his 34th production for The Purple Rose Theatre Company with Gravity. His favorite directing projects include Panhandle Slim & The Oklahoma Kid, Escanaba In Love, Guest Artist, Across The Way and Escanaba in da Moonlight by Jeff Daniels, Book of Days and the PRTC and off-Broadway productions of Rain Dance by Lanford Wilson, Bus Stop by William Inge, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, Vino Veritas by David MacGregor and Bleeding Red by Michael Brian Ogden. Sanville has received the Detroit Free Press Excellence in Theatre Award for Best Director four times. He has also appeared in eight plays for the PRTC, most recently as Dicky Deerfield in Sea of Fools. He has appeared in several films, including Escanaba in da Moonlight, Super Sucker, Chasing Sleep and The Lost Treasure of Sawtooth Island. He is a proud member of The Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Actors' Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild.
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