Live Music. Live Theater. There are cultural observers who are questioning whether these may soon become an “endangered species” in our ultra digital age, where so much of our experience comes through a digital portal. Attendance figures at our major cultural institutions have seen a steady decline over the past two decades. But there seems to be a cultural shift taking place- one that bodes well for Creative Cauldron and our “little center for the arts in the Little City,” ArtSpace Falls Church.
Attendance and patronage is increasing at cultural venues that invite participation and involvement…. a sense of belonging. It is especially true for those that provide programming for families and young people. This is Creative Cauldron’s third season programming and managing ArtSpace and we are now benefiting from an increasing patronage and support for our mission: to make the arts accessible and affordable to the community we serve.
Our space is very intimate: only 70-90 seats for any given performance, yet our audience numbers have been steadily growing. Together with our resident artistic partners Falls Church Arts, who curate and host exhibitions in the gallery, we reached over 10,000 people last year! People are coming from greater Falls Church and all over the metro area to see live professional theater, musical performances, and exhibits and also to enroll in summer camps, workshops and classes for adults and children.
Creative Cauldron’s programming is diverse, providing for a wide range of tastes and audience appeal across the age spectrum. And when we say “live,” we mean an up close and personal experience that feels like someone has invited you into his/her living room. Something magical happens in the exchange between artist and audience when the space is as small…. something that is vital and important. We feel connected to one another in a way that no digital medium can ever deliver.
I could share so many stories about people who have come here from the District, and more distant localities, precisely because we can offer them something that they don’t get at other venues: quality performances combined with intimacy, connection, and affordability. And the talent of the performers and artists that perform here has been consistently amazing. Performers love the intimacy of the space too!
Take this weekend for example. Our FOURTHWall Summer Cabaret series is in full swing. This Saturday evening at 8pm, stage veteran and song and dance man, Terry Currier will perform “Tumble Down Dreams.” Terry is a consummate performer, who has been delighting audiences for over five decades at venues like Arena Stage, the Kennedy Center and on Broadway.
Through its support of Creative Cauldron, and other cultural entities like the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation, Falls Church Arts, Cherry Hill, and so many others, the City is getting a reputation as an arts and cultural destination. Our visiting patrons learn about other arts and cultural events happening here too: First Fridays, Concerts in the Park, city sponsored festivals, and the wonderful restaurants, parks and friendly atmosphere that the “Little City” has in spades. We are thrilled to welcome them.
But there are many of you reading this article that live in the City or nearby environs, and have never attended an event or performance at Creative Cauldron.
So let me extend a personal invitation to our 2012-2013 season. We open with: “Cole” (October 5 through October 28), an homage to the great American song master Cole Porter. Porter wrote some of the wittiest, melodious and sophisticated songs ever written for the stage and screen. Then we’ll celebrate the bicentennial year of Charles Dickens birth with an original adaptation of “Oliver Twist” (Nov 2 – 18). December will feature our holiday classic: “The Christmas Cabin of Carnaween” (December 7 – 23), a beautiful Irish folk tale, underscored with live Irish music.
In January, we begin the third annual “Passport to the World: A Festival of Theater, Music, and Dance”(January 12 -February 17). Thanks to a grant from the Arts Council of Fairfax County, this season will include more family-friendly story theater performances featuring large-scale puppets, designed by Margie Jervis, along with music from different ethnic cultures. Margie will continue her amazing puppetry design magic in our spring production, an adaptation of “Peter and Wendy”(March 1 – 24).
The season closes with “Thunder Knocking on the Door” a blues fable written by Keith Glover with music by three-time Grammy award winner, Keb’ Mo’.
‘Thunder’ brought down the house when it premiered at Arena Stage in 1999, and we are sure it will rock the cauldron this year.
So put down that iPod, turn off that large screen TV, stop checking those messages on your smart phone, and join us at the cauldron for an unforgettable afternoon or evening of live performance.
Laura Connors Hull is the founder and producing director at Creative Cauldron.