The Garden Grove City Council recently approved two agreements allowing for year-round use of the Festival Amphitheater, which prior, saw only seasonal productions. Beginning January 1, 2014, the co-operators, Shakespeare Orange County (SOC), and Great Reunions, Inc. (GRI), will share the 540-seat Amphitheater, boosting use of the iconic Main Street venue and enhancing cultural arts in the community.
While SOC is no stranger to the Festival Amphitheater, having staged summer shows in the arena since 1981, the non-profit organization does have a new producing artistic director, John Walcutt.
A veteran stage actor, Walcutt credits the start of his acting career in 1982 to an SOC production, and plans to expand arts programming beyond Shakespeare, to include family plays, musical events, and a summer performing arts camp for children.
“The Festival Amphitheater is a beautiful outdoor venue, and has been home to decades of truly great Shakespeare, but it was underused. I’m back in Garden Grove because I want to invest in this jewel, the Festival Amphitheater,” says Walcutt, in a promotional video produced by Garden Grove TV3, for the City’s “Re:Imagine Downtown” campaign. Launched in August as part of a 20-year vision plan for the city’s civic center area, “Re:Imagine Downtown” is seeking input via www.reimaginedowntowngg.com on topics such as future design, land use, recreational opportunities, and cultural arts. Visitors to the website can also view Walcutt’s video.
GRI, a private company owned by longtime Garden Grove residents Mike and Denise Silva, will coordinate use of the Festival Amphitheater by community, educational, and professional groups. They will also host additional programs for local non-profit groups.
GRI and its clients will use the arena from January through April, and October through December, while SOC will operate the Amphitheater from May through September.
For more information about the agreements or the 2014 Festival Amphitheater season, please contact Community Services Director Kim Huy at (714) 741-5200.