Since beginning its collaboration in 2013, the Agoura Community Theater (ACT), under the direction of Curtain Call Youth Theatre‘s Jeff Wallach, has attracted teens from all over the Conejo Valley. “We’ve gone from zero to 60 in two years,” said Wallach. “We’ve snowballed.”
Wallach credits the opening of the new Agoura Hills Recreation and Events Center with attracting more students. “We have this gorgeous space for teaching and rehearsing,” he said. “I always put education first, but the community also appreciates the space itself.”
ACT is unique to the area in that it exclusively focuses on youth, ages 13-19, Wallach said. “I had a mom … contact me saying she’s been Googling for years–she has a 17-year-old daughter.” he said, “She told me, ‘you’re the only one that offers this type of program.'”
An actor/director/choreographer/producer/educator for the past 30 years, Wallach started the youth theater in Moorpark in 2005 as a means of introducing the classics to kids in a unique fashion. Before contracting with the City of Agoura Hills, he utilized venues throughout the area. “We’re thrilled to continue to grow.” said City Recreation Supervisor Nick Newkirk. “Jeff … brings theater to the community the way it’s supposed to be done.”
Each season features four productions, beginning in the summer, which are put on in the Agoura High Performing Arts Education Center’s Black Box theatre. The 2015 season started with Footloose. The company is now rehearsing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream, staged to include music, dancing and video projections. “I never do anything in a traditional way,” Wallach said. “I want to show students that what’s read on the page is not necessarily what needs to come up on the stage.”
Wallach is also working on new opportunities for students. “We hope to develop a mentor program that will focus on design and the technical aspects of theater,” he said. In addition, the Jeff Wallach Performing Arts Studio offers acting, voice and dance classes for all ages at the Rec Center.
Performances for A Midsummer’s Night Dream will run Friday, November 20- Sunday, November 22: Fri–Sat at 8 p.m., and Sat. and Sun. at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 (General) and $18 (Seniors and students).