I went to see "Evita" last night at the Olney Theater Center. Excellent production, although I'm not convinced by the show itself. But that's a story for another day. I came back to Howard County from Olney with the same thought I have each time: why does Olney have such a well-established theater company and we don't?
Yes, we have Toby's for musical theater. And we have Rep Stage for drama. But Olney Theater Center is a full-blown combination of both offering subscriptions, camps for kids, and educational outreach in area schools. How did they get to that point? How did they get the community to support the kind of capital investment that must have been necessary to make that happen?
I clearly have some research to do.
Recently a commenter here made a reference to a plan for a local Cultural Arts Center. You can read more about it here on HoCoConnect. I remember that the orginal Inner Arbor Plan for Symphony Woods included an Arts Village which would include a new home for Toby's, but that seems a long way off in the grand scheme of things. Is this another way of getting at the same end result?
I see from their website that Olney Theater Center is celebrating 79 years of professional theater. Columbia is just moving towards our 50th anniversary of existence. Olney (as Mechanicsville) was founded in 1800. They've clearly got some years on us.
One can have a variety of theatrical experiences in Howard County. And I don't begrudge Olney for their success. I just wonder why we can't support a similar venture right here at home.