EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

December 4, 2012

Theater troupe readies new digs for holiday show

METHUEN — The North Regional Theatre Workshop arrived here in 2002, a self-described gypsy troupe trying to find a long-term home in several area communities, and settled into a small stage at Nevins Memorial Library on Broadway.

But after 10 years, the workshop has to move on once again. Fortunately, it isn’t moving too far. This weekend, the workshop, now in its 35th season, will perform its Home for the Holidays musical celebration at Dupres Center at Presentation of Mary on Lawrence Street.

Denis Webster-Greene, a member of the workshop’s board of directors and a singer and actor in the company, said the group has cultivated a following here that inevitably required it find a bigger space.

“We love the library, but it was just time to spread our wings a little bit,” Webster-Greene said.

The available space at the library limited the orchestra that could fit to a few pieces, and the stage was cramped during scene changes. At Presentation of Mary, Webster-Green said they can bring in a larger orchestra, 10 to 15 pieces, the back stage area is larger allowing for a shorter time between scenes, and they can hold a larger audience.

“And from directorial standpoint, its been a more challenge to our founding director Paul Webster-Greene,” Denis Webster-Greene said. “He’s going to have bigger stage to work with, bigger pit, and it’s got his creative juices flowing a little bit.”

Paul Webster-Greene, Denis’ husband, was a founding member of what was then the North Reading Theatre Workshop. The troupe performed a number of shows including Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady and Oklahoma! in its early days. After years in North Reading, a high school renovation project forced the workshop on the road. In the following years, it performed in Andover, Middleton, Melrose and Wilmington.

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