Meant for the locals, new theater group forms after previous troupe disbanded
When a small community theater in Market Common disbanded toward the end of last year, local Myrtle Beach actress Kathy Kenney lost a family.
Kenney moved to the area with her late husband and has been doing shows ever since retiring from her job. When the Stage Left Theater Company ended, she said she felt like she had lost access to a tight-knit group of friends.
“It was like a part of my life went away,” she said.
Stage Left Theatre Company, which began in 2009, had become a staple to locals. It held its last show June 26 before disbanding due to an increase in rent in the Market Common shopping center, Kenney said.
She watched the 52-seat theater get slowly torn down and replaced by Nailed It, a DIY arts and crafts studio.
“It was very odd to see that happen,” Kenney said.
Other former members of the Stage Left Theatre Company felt a similar sadness.
In January, some of those members came up with a solution.
Steve Marriott, Brian Koons, Katie Geall and Vaughn Cox, all former performers, had finally found a place to start a new group — the Open Curtain Theatre.
Located in the side section of the members club Moose Lodge, on Burcale Road, Open Curtain Theatre is preparing for an April showing of “Curtains Up!”, a farce comedy with an all-female cast of five.
Kenney, who plays a character named Betty in the show, said she hopes to see Open Curtain Theatre “take off and become popular.”
Performances for “Curtains up!” will be held every night from April 13 to April 23. The theater holds 75 seats for each show.
Tickets are $25 each, but with an $80 seasonal pass, you can get one ticket to each of the four remaining shows. Tickets can be purchased on the theater’s website.
In February, the group performed “California Suite” and was able to sell out two shows. According to Koons, one of the founders, one show in April is expected to sell out as well.
For founder Steve Marriott, the plan is to stay focused, get the basics right, and do things differently than tourist traps.
“This gives something the locals can go to that they can call their own,” he said.
Marriott said he would like to eventually find a space of their own in the future, and experiment with other entertainment, such as a dinner theater night or a game show night.
Currently, Moose Lodge is able to provide customers with alcohol, drinks and snacks. You don’t need to be a member in order to purchase a ticket, however.
It’s also important for the group to make a connection to the community.
At the “California Suite” showing in February, the theater was able to use furniture from Connie’s New To You, a secondhand furniture store in Conway. Afterwards, several ticket holders called the store asking about pieces, according to set designer Katie Geall.
“We are reaching the community,” she said.
The group has three other shows in its 2023 line up, including “True West,” which will play June 13 to 25, and “The 39 Steps,” which will play Sept. 7 to 18.