Theater

All of Wakefield's a Stage

The Contemporary Theater Company's expansion brings entertainment and opportunity to South Kingstown.

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The Contemporary Theater Company (CTC) has been a fixture of downtown Wakefield since 2012, providing the community with entertainment and offering classes to aspiring performers. Local business owners have praised the CTC for expanding nightlife, revitalizing the business district and bringing positive change to the area. Now their presence on Main Street is set to increase even more thanks to a $390,000 expansion project. 

The CTC’s expected purchase of 321 Main Street, the building adjacent to their current address at 327 Main, gives the company the means for increasing their educational offerings, workshops and an artistic residences. Most notably, the expansion includes construction of a riverfront patio for outdoor performances. Just over 72% of the project’s funds had been gathered through silent fundraising. An anonymous donor pledged a matching challenge of $30,000 that, if met, would garner $60,000 necessary to construct the patio. 

“The $30,000 was matched by May 31 and the donor extended the match through June, so including the match we raised about $68,000 for the project,” Maggie Cady, the CTC’s Communications Director, says. “The waterfront patio is breaking ground and should be open sometime this summer.” 

The Company has come a long way from their 2005 debut, when they were producing three nights of a single show. Now in 2015, they produce eight full main stage performances and hundreds on the second stage. They’ve grown to employ four full-time members, three part-timers and over a hundred volunteers. 

“The CTC had been a nomadic company for several years prior to moving to Main Street in the summer of 2012,” Maggie says. “Having a permanent home has allowed us to significantly increase our offerings in education and performances and build stronger ties with the surrounding community. Over the last three years, the theater has grown so much that we now have year-round weekend performances and offer an array of improv, theater and youth classes. Businesses up and down Main Street sponsor the theater, and we partner with locals for events such as Wakefield Idol.” 

As members of the South Kingstown Chamber of Commerce and the Wakefield Downtown Merchants Association, the CTC is committed to making Downtown Wakefield a destination for arts, culture, shopping and dining. 

August shows at the CTC include Peter Shaffer’s Black Comedy (Aug 1-2, 7-9 and 13-15), sets of the One-Hour Theater Challenge, where nine actors act out 25 plays (Aug 21-23 and 27-30), Micetro Improv on Fridays and the family-oriented Main Street Kids on Saturdays. 

Every summer CTC features a fun, light-hearted farce, and this summer they’ve chosen Black Comedy. “The first few minutes of the play are performed in darkness, then a power outage occurs in the main character’s apartment and lights flood the stage. It’s a really fun show that audiences are going to love,” Maggie says. 

In the One-Hour Theater Challenge, eight actors try to perform 25 plays in an hour. CTC ensemble members wrote all of the plays, so they really show off local talent in the area from writers to directors to actors. The audience chooses which order they would like to see the plays based on their titles, so everyone gets involved in the process. 

Micetro Improv is their weekly improv show where they make up scenes and songs on the spot. It’s a competition where audiences give each scene a score then vote for their favorite performer at the end of the night. 

Main Street Kids is their weekly family show that features short episodes and improvisation each week, following a group of kids as they learn new things in their adventures around town. 

Also throughout August, the CTC will host the Wakefield Village Association’s River Fire events. These shows will take place on the riverfront patio every Thursday at 7pm, filling Main Street with music as people take in the sights of downtown. 

“Downtown Wakefield is a wonderful location in the heart of the community,” Maggie says. “We have great connections with the high school, local businesses and community at large. It’s easy to walk or bike around the town, and our new property at 321 Main Street has a gorgeous view of the Saugatucket River.” 

They want to take the great inherent resources of the location and share them with the local community with their new riverfront patio. In the summer, Main Street is filled with people – locals, tourists, and passersbys – and CTC loves offering something for all of them. 

Contemporary Theater Company 

327 Main Street 

South Kingstown 

401-218-0282 

contemporarytheatercompany.com