Joe Schmitt writes a weekly blog called The Good Life, featuring information about the region’s history, culture, climate and economy. The blog also showcases new residents, clubs and organizations, outdoor recreational opportunities and local events.
As curtains close on one of the most exciting seasons Yakima’s Capitol Theatre has had, the Capitol’s volunteer group, Backstage, marks 30 years helping to bring theater arts to the Valley. “These have been such exciting times,” says Karla Farina, Backstage membership co-chair. “This year’s Broadway on The Edge series has been fantastic and with the black box opening, we’ve had so much going on.” Breaking Boundries The “black box,” or the Capitol Theatre’s new Fourth Street Theatre, opened this fall followed by spring-time celebrations orchestrated by Backstage. Just one aspect of the group’s behind-the-scenes roles, coordinating special events such as the April ceremonial ribbon-cutting and gala fall under the Backstage members’ umbrella of responsibilities. “More than anything we’re ambassadors,” says Farina. “We’re raising funds and working behind the scenes to promote and support the theatre. With the black box, we have one more exciting thing to promote.” The new venue delivers a different type of theater experience to the Valley, pushing the boundaries of traditional theater and drawing a new generation of theater-goers with edgier performances and untraditional experiences.
Inspiring Life-Long Love of TheaterBringing theater to our youngest audiences, Backstage also supports programming for Valley children by raising funds for Capitol Kids and volunteering with Gus, the Capitol Theater’s mascot who travels to area schools educating children about theater and inspire a life-long love of theater. “Children’s programs and increasingly important to the Capitol Theatre and Backstage,” says Gail Davis, long-time Backstage member. “Children exposed to the arts in early years perform better academically and emotionally in school,” Davis says.
Volunteer With nearly 100 members, Backstage offers theater lovers a perfect opportunity for community involvement. “You can say yes to a lot of things, but if you’re passionate about it, you’re more apt to do a better job and be more involved,” says Farina who has been a Backstage member for five years. “I’ve always been a patron of the theater. I bought Capitol Theatre season tickets when I first moved here and then joined Backstage. It’s been a perfect fit for me.” In their 30th year, Backstage is always looking for new members with a passion for the theater arts. For anyone considering membership, next year promises more excitement. “Next year’s Best of Broadway series is awesome and we’re excited to see the black box become a fun place for a lot of different events,” says Farina. “We love seeing it being used by the community.” Volunteer opportunities offer something for everyone. Far more than fundraising, the group is also charged with decorating the theater for Christmas and decorating the new green room for stage actors.