New arts academy leases iconic Roseville Theatre

Roseville Theatre Arts Academy will focus on children; encourage all performing arts
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The newly formed Roseville Theatre Arts Academy signed an agreement Monday with the Masonic Lodge to lease the iconic Roseville Theatre on Vernon Street in downtown.

The three-year lease runs through 2013. Until November, the theater housed Civic Theatre West, formerly called Magic Circle Theatre, which operated at the facility for 23 years. The nonprofit organized ceased operations Nov. 10 due to $500,000 of debt.

Fundraising efforts to revive the defunct organization were unsuccessful.

But the Roseville Theatre Arts Academy will not attempt to replace the former theater company, said President and Director of Operations and Education Michelle Raskey. Instead, the academy will improve upon the things Civic Theatre West did well.

“The focus will be children,” Raskey said, in a press release.

The academy will begin rehearsal this week for its first children’s workshop production of “The Saga of Sweet Hannah Sue,” a show performed for years under Magic Circle Theatre. That show was co-written by Jennifer Vaughn, who is also a founding board member and musical and artistic director for the academy.

Raskey previously served as program director of Civic Theatre West. Both women say they are thrilled to continue working with children in south Placer County, as they both have done for more than 20 years.

“While some of the programming is similar to what Magic Circle offered, we plan to offer so much more,” Vaughn said. “Our long term plans include a true academy with vocal and dance lessons as well as more one-on-one instruction. We are also working on plans for a summer camp. Our passion has always been working with and teaching children to reach their full potential.”

The arts academy is incorporated under California law and is attempting to secure nonprofit status.

“Our goal is to work with and support the community, not to make a ton of money,” Raskey said. “Because of this, we will be relying heavily on parent and community support.”

While the academy’s focus rests on children, the group also plans to reach out to the entire arts community and encourage all kinds of performing arts.

“We want to make (Roseville Theatre) available to as many performing arts groups as possible,” said board member Stephen Hatcher.

Hatcher, a choreographer and director, will oversee leasing of the facility to other groups.

Other founding Roseville Theatre Arts Academy board members include certified-public accountant Annette Stalker, whose son was an avid participant in Civic Theatre West shows, Eureka Schools Foundation President Renee Nash, whose children also participated in the defunct theater troupe, and financial planner Christian Baldree, who was involved with Civic Theatre West as a musician for 14 years.

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~ Sena Christian