Live theater is returning to Jacksonville. The Randall Theatre Company of Medford is announcing plans to perform some of its 2017 season of shows in a new Jacksonville location. The planned expansion is part of a partnership between the Randall Theatre and Jacksonville’s Calvary Church. The church building located on 5th Street in Jacksonville will provide a space for at least four Randall Theatre main stage productions in 2017, beginning with the musical On the Town, which runs May 5 through 28.
The expansion is the result of discussions that have been taking place over the past two years between Randall Artistic Director Robin Downward and Jacksonville Mayor Paul Becker. According to Mayor Becker, reviving live theater in the historic town has been a longtime goal. Jacksonville has not had a resident theater company since the 1980’s. That’s when the Gilded Cage Players melodrama troupe moved out of Pioneer Village and into a converted feed store in Talent. The company later folded and that space became Actor’s Theatre and, eventually, Camelot Theatre.
Now, the Randall Theatre Company, in partnership with the Calvary Church, is going beyond melodrama in bringing live theater back to Jacksonville. The Randall will be producing the energetic, high quality plays and musicals that the theatre is known for. The benefits to theater-goers include a larger auditorium, comfortable seating and year round heating and air conditioning – something the current Randall Theatre location has struggled to provide. Jacksonville Mayor Paul Becker says that the move could not come at a better time. ”Many people have approached me about the possibility of Jacksonville acquiring a theater for live stage entertainment. Old-timers recall the popular melodrama for when Pastor Brian Steller learned that the Randall was looking for a Jacksonville home. He says the church had been looking for a way to make more use of their building outside of worship services but in a way that would benefit the community. Bringing in the theater company would do just that. Representatives from the church and the theater met several times to work out the details of the agreement, which became final on February 17. Under the terms of the agreement, the church and the theatre will share the space yet maintain their own separate identities. Pastor Steller says the partnership is good for the church, the theater and the Jacksonville community. “We are excited to network with Randall Theatre. Though we are separate organizations and will remain that way, both of us have a desire to serve our local community. We believe this relationship will enable both parties to do that more effectively.”
The church and the theater will work together to renovate the existing stage and bring upgrades to lighting and sound in the main auditorium. To that end, fund raising efforts are underway. Both Calvary Church and the Randall are counting on support from the Jacksonville community to get the space performance ready. Anyone wishing to contribute to the stage renovations should contact the Randall Theatre at 541-632-3258 or Calvary Church at 541-621-6272.
Shows currently scheduled to run in the Jacksonville location are On the Town (May 5 through 28), Neil Simon’s California Suite (June 23 through July 9), Young Frankenstein, the Musical (July 28 through August 20) and Dial “M” for Murder (September 15 through October 1).
The Randall Theatre will continue to operate at the Medford location on the corner of 3rd and Front Streets. The stage will be home to the Randall’s Playhouse Series, which features both local productions and acts from outside the area. The Nightmare Chamber Haunted House will also remain in operation at the Medford location. Robin Downward believes the expansion allows the Randall a unique opportunity. “With two locations, we have the opportunity to truly offer something for everyone. For the casual theater-goer – the lighter fare of musicals, comedies and well-known dramas. For the patrons who relish deeper, more thought provoking theater, we can now provide for them as well.”
Although the church and the theater are 80% self sustaining, materials will be needed to help with stage reconstruction, painting, curtains and other items needed.
If you wish to donate to the cause, please feel free to donate by clicking on the following link: https://www.crowdrise.com/randalltheatrecompan
About the Randall: The Randall Theatre is an intimate community playhouse committed to high quality productions in drama, comedy and musical theater. We strive to bring together the best in Southern Oregon actors, directors and technical staff in an inviting and meaningful setting. The Randall Theater further exists to assist those in the community who are seeking an outlet for their passions.
The Randall Theatre is a 501(c)3 Non Profit Organization. All donations are tax deductible.