Go Deeper

Theatre Exile’s Back at Christ Church!

Posted June 23rd, 2010

Theatre Exile is coming home from the wilderness. Tonight they return to their previous home at Christ Church for Cabaret of the Exiled, a fundraising event that also marks their first show in their newly renovated space.

Pearce Bunting emcees, and he’s bringing Hoodoo Love Pumpkin back together for the cabaret. Also, did you know that Pearce used to work for Mambo Movers before moving on to fame in Mamma Mia! on Broadway? (Mambo, by the way, is a great moving company.) He’s also acting in the upcoming HBO show Boardwalk Empire. If you go, you’ll also be treated to the dulcet tones of Johnny Showcase, the perhaps less-dulcet tones of Tom McCarthy and Matt Pfeiffer as the Philly Fan and Son of Philly Fan, performances from Nichole Canuso and Martha Graham Cracker, and more.

After the jump, catch up with Theatre Exile’s managing director Bryan Clark and co-artistic director Deborah Block yesterday about the company’s recent nomadic journeys, the rehabbed Christ Church space (now featuring air conditioning and an elevator), and what’s on tap for next season, including Philly Fringe!

Festival Blog: How was your time in exile?

Bryan Clark: Truth be told it was excellent for us as an organization. We love Christ Church. The space allows us to do many more things than a conventional theater space. [But] because we were sort of homeless, we could go to larger venues in different parts of city and attract new audiences. We’ve grown significantly since [being away from] Christ Church.

We’ll continue to use Plays & Players—once per year in the foreseeable future. But getting introduced to the Rittenhouse audiences, and when we were at the Adrienne Theatre, the folks over there, expanded our audience and added people who weren’t making their way over to Old City.

Deborah Block: It feels like coming home a little bit. They’re great people and they support the community so much. The purpose of these renovations were really to expand our capacity to support their community.

FB: Did they improve any of the theater tech for the space?

BC: They did increase electric to the building and more accessibility to it. A new lighting grid will be added with theatrical lighting that will become available. Christ Church will have it’s own sort of inventory. But that’s a later development. It’ll happen by April or May.

FB: When are you announcing next season?

BC: Tomorrow night! [That’s really tonight! – FB.] We had an idea what was going on, and it was solidified late last night. We’ll be announcing the entire season and some of the casts.

FB: Want to give me a sneak preview?

BC: We’re doing a four-show season this year, and will include a show for the first time in the Fringe Fest for the first time in four or five years. Our own Deborah Block will be taking the helm of that show, when she does Iron [by Scottish playwright Rona Munro].

DB: We have a great cast—Catharine Slusar (pictured above), Kim Carson, Mike Hagan, Caitlin Antram. It’s in our own studio space—fifty seats, a very raw space. It’s the first formal public performance in the studio space.

FB: What else has been happening in the studio space?

BC: Two Decembers ago we moved to our place on Columbus Square off of 13th and Reed. By comparison it’s a huge office space, and has a side studio space that we’re continually renovating. It will be about a 50-seat house for small workshop projects. We’ve had a lot of great companies come in here and use it as a rehearsal space. It’s used pretty much year-round as rehearsals.

DB: We new play development in it this year. It was great—local playwrights, five readings, sold out every night. We’ll continue with that in the future, because [developing new work] is really important to us.

Cabaret of the Exiled, tonight, 7:00 pm VIP admission, 8:00 general admission. $25 advance general admission, $35 walk-up; $50 VIP. Christ Church, North 2nd Street just north of Market.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Photo courtesy of Theatre Exile.