Archive for June, 2010

27th June
written by Nalin

As AVT has grown as a company, we have had to learn and adapt to ever more complex challenges.  Over the course of the last year, our structure has changed several times.  No doubt, further changes will come in the future as we continue to grow.

However, with the experience and lessons learned of two full-length productions behind us, and an increased awareness of our individual strengths and weaknesses when working as a team, we  believe that we have hit upon a company structure and team breakdown that will bring our talents effectively and efficiently to the stage.

Our Operational Plan, version 4.1, is now available for download.

Company-level authority is held in the stewardship of three directors: Operational, Producing, and Artistic.  They are supported by three production-level strategic personnel: the Production Stage Manager, the Dramaturg, and the Technical Team Lead.  A six-member technical team provides the creative implementation of the Artistic vision of each production.

Operations Director
: Courtney Marietta
Producing Director: Nalin A. Ratnayake
Artistic Director
: Kara McCollum
Dramaturg: Anna Delrosario
Production Stage Manager: Karen Gruca
Technical Team Lead: Kevin J. Hogan
Technical Team:  Sarah Bialobroda, Jeremy Bryon Gruca, Jessica Katzman, Juliana Katzman, Lucas Nemeth, Kelly Lynn Regan

Our production philosophy is twofold: 1) Provide a framework to seed, develop, and produce quality original work from playwrights in the local community, and 2) produce published work from outside the community that brings in new perspectives and provides a standard to which our local writers can aspire.  If a play has already been produced in the community and we are not able to define anything artistically new that we could bring to the work, you will not see that play on our stage.

Dramaturgically, we adhere to three general principles: our productions will be 1) character-driven, 2) unique, and 3) thought-provoking.  We believe that theatre is first and foremost an artistic medium for providing insight into the human condition and secondarily an educational tool for enhancing and growing the cultural and artistic awareness of the local community.

We appreciate the audience members who make up our community of supporters, as well as our Supporters who make this company possible.

25th June
written by Nalin


by Israel Horovitz


an original piece by Heckathorn and Carrillo

Friday, June 25th at 8pm
Saturday, June 26th at 8pm

Tickets $5.00

Performances hosted by Antelope Valley Thespians
in the AVT Blackbox (cross streets 65th W. and L-8)

Address and parking sent to all ticket holders.

Online ticket via secure PayPal / credit card below.  To hold seats for cash payment or for more information please contact

This play contains profanity and depictions of violence.


Winner of the Obie and Vernon Rice Awards. A resounding Off-Broadway success (in tandem with IT’S CALLED THE SUGAR PLUM), this powerful and disturbing study of the mindless cruelty of two teenage toughs towards a helpless stranger earned its author unqualified critical praise, and established him as one of our theatre’s most important young playwrights. “The best Off-Broadway play of the season.”
—NY Times

THE INDIAN WANTS THE BRONX presented by special arrangement
with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.

While these plays are hosted by AVT’s blackbox space, they are not AVT productions. Because they are independently produced, we unfortunately cannot except subscriber credits or any other AVT promotion for these special showings.

20th June
written by Nalin

AVT Company and Patrons,

One year ago, on June 20th, 2009, a small group of friends calling themselves “Antelope Valley Thespians” opened a short, public-domain production called VOICES. Back then, the garage was not black, we had no official status, and we operated with minimal organization. But after two “sold out” free showings for our friends, we got all the encouragement we needed to continue and expand.

You can indulge in a bit of nostalgia in the archived blog post for VOICES or at the VOICES photo album on Facebook.

Today, it is one year later. And crafted out of love, sweat, tears, duct tape, and a rather alarming volume of coffee, a small guerilla theatre company fights the good fight in our local community of Quartz Hill – so much further beyond where we were yet with a dazzling array of possibilities before us.

AVT has many “birthdays”… is it when the first fragments of the idea started to take form on an online discussion board in January 2009? Or this day in June when we first put something together? Or August when we legally formed as a company? Or perhaps later when we achieved nonprofit status, or early this year when we opened our first full-length production?

Any of these days may serve for reflecting on how far we have come on this crazy idea. But today, for me, is the one from which I take the most personal meaning. On this day one year ago, we proved to ourselves that it was possible – that we could take the simplest elements and the smallest of budgets, and combine them with talent and passion to create something meaningful for the community.

Like any creative venture, AVT has been and always will be continually in the process of becoming. We have undergone 3 major revisions to our Operational Plan, and you will soon see another released for your consideration. The learning curve has been steep as we have built this company from the ground up – we have had to learn many lessons the hard way, and also develop an understanding of our strengths and weaknesses as members of a team. I believe this latest revision should last us a good while, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

I also want to be sure to acknowledge the role our Patrons have played in helping us build this company.

After seeing VOICES, Jeri Meyers and Dawn Dopler became our very first Patrons on the spot, donating our first income of any sort. After we incorporated and sent a letter asking the Quartz Hill Chamber of Commerce for their support, Thom Lapworth stepped in and personally paid for our first year’s membership in the Chamber, the benefits of which we continue to enjoy. Jason and Rose Gonella participated in our first playwrights expo and donated in-kind hardware in the form of a fog machine and fluid, which our tech team is itching to get an excuse to use.

As funds ran dangerously low in the face of numerous unexpected expenses for CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, Senaka and Lalani Ratnayake stepped in with a generous donation that kept us afloat. Michael and Deberah Hogan, impressed with our first full-length production, became Patrons of AVT to support our fledgling theatre company. Farmer’s Insurance agent Dave Owens not only has provided AVT’s liability insurance at a killer rate, but he donated his entire commission on the contract and personally bought-out a show of our first two full-length productions!

Gwen and Andy Joseph as well as Bob and Lois Douglass stepped in with donations when AVT needed equipment upgrades to support BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT as well as our first Musicians Night. Al Bowers joined the Patrons club following a great time at the Musicians Night, which actually ended with him being called up to the stage for an impromptu rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” with featured musician and mutual friend Jimmy Lee Young!

Starting with BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT, we have been privileged to benefit from the support of local fine-artist AJ Currado, who now donates her time and talents to AVT for poster and program artwork. Our latest individual patrons, Mark and Liz Longanbach, drove in all the way from Arizona to see BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. Convinced of our value to community theatre and impressed by our ingenuity, they signed checks of support the very next day.

Finally, I would be seriously remiss if I did not acknowledge the early and unwavering support of Eric and June at Sagebrush Cafe in Quartz Hill. Since the days when AVT was nothing but a concept, this eclectic coffee and art house has believed in us. More than that, they give us a great deal one of the most critical and precious resources for a theatre company: delicious coffee. AND they provide a hub for our advertising and, more recently, our physical ticketing.

And of course, each and every member of this company deserves more thanks than I can bestow for their unwavering commitment and tireless efforts on behalf of AVT. Sarah, Anna, Karen, Jeremy, Kevin, Jessica, Juliana, Courtney, Kara, Lucas, and our additional actors Steve, Joe, and Derric have comprised the AVT family.

Ticket revenue brings in only about 65% of what it takes to operate AVT; it is people like you who are the champions of the arts in our community, and donate your time and money to help this company do what it does. In appreciation for your support, we are tentatively planning to hold our first AVT Patron’s Reception in early December. Company members and Patrons will be invited to mingle and recap the 2010 Season with this celebration.

It is a rough road ahead of us… money remains tight, most people who have not seen our work remain skeptical, we continue to insist on producing very challenging plays that inevitably turn into trials by fire, and often its not certain how we will make it to the next event or production. But time and time again, even in our most difficult moments, we have shown that our passion, when rallied, is unstoppable – even in the face of daunting odds.

We would not be where we are today without all of you. It is with utmost sincerity and deep pride in what we have accomplished in the last year that I offer you my thanks for stepping forward to become a real part of what we have created together.

Here’s to our next year of unique, original, and experimental theatre in the high desert!


Nalin A. Ratnayake
Chief Executive Officer
Producing Director
Antelope Valley Thespians

3rd June
written by Nalin

From left: Joe Gruca, Courtney Marietta, and Derric Neal star in AVT's production of BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT, on stage June 4-13 in Quartz Hill.

AVT June 2010 Update

In this episode:

* BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT opens Friday, June 4th for a six-show run through June 13th! Two lawyers duel over the nature of justice… and face a shared past that may undo them both. Tickets available online via secure credit card, or a limited number of physical tickets are available via cash/check at Sagebrush Cafe in Quartz Hill.

* Interview with Karen Gruca, production stage manager for BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.

* Auditions have been announced for THE INTERROGATION OF NATHAN HALE, which will open in September. Please see our website, under the “Happening Now” box at right for a link to more information.

* Our first Musicians Night was held in the garage blackbox on Saturday, April 24th. Check out our blog for photos and podcast sound clips. We had a great time and have future Musicians Nights lined up! Stay tuned for further updates.

* Updates for playwrights – $300 bounty continues, several playwrights are wrighting furiously as we speak. Next Playwrights Expo will be July 24th. Short scripts for staged reading and limited production due June 26th. AVT is moving towards a phased set of event types to help bring locally written work from concept to full production.

* As a 501(c)3 nonprofit company, we depend on your support – ticket revenues recover only about 65% of what it takes to operate AVT. The generosity of our Patrons is what allows us to continue producing unique, original, and experimental drama. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation easily by credit card on our website today.

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