Monday, November 14, 2016

Local Actress Opening New Theater

Ami Trowell and her Theatre 3 daughters.
Ami Trowell, known throughout the Roanoke Valley for her improvisational skills, plans to open a new theater, catering to “under-resourced and under-represented communities.” It is called Theatre 3 and “we are committed to presenting works that represent a diverse set of perspectives, with a focus on illuminating the artistic expression of frequently marginalized populations along the lines of race, class, gender, age, sexual orientation and other social markers.”

Theatre 3 is located in Roanoke's historic Dumas Center for Artistic & Cultural Development. Located across the railroad tracks from Warehouse Row, the Dumas was once a hotel and social hub for black Roanoke in the days of segregation. 

The schedule is already packed. "I took over the lease in August,” says Amy. “Our first performance is Dec. 10, a variety show. I've been teaching improv workshops on the first Saturday morning of each month. The next one is the first Saturday in December. Starting in January I will be having weekly classes for improvisation and and after school program for girls in the neighborhood.”

“The name comes from a couple of sources, one is I have three daughters. And for them I want to emphasize that one of the most important actions we can take is being involved in our community. I love participating in community art events and performances, but when I look around I see a lot of people who look a lot like me.

Ami with Big Lick Conspiracy.
“Roanoke is a community rich with diversity and I'd like to see that reflected in our arts community more. That's way the Dumas center is geographically so crucial to this mission. This is a building that was a hub for the Roanoke arts scene. Many amazing artists stayed and performed there, but many Roanokers don't even know where or what it is. I want to revitalize this space to be a place for all Roanokers.”

Ami's training is in theatre and improvisation, “so those are the kinds of performances I am putting on first. But it's a great space for music, spoken word, new works and more.” She is a key member of Big Lick Conspiracy.

The money is coming from couch cushions and under car seats,” she says, tongue firmly in cheek. “Once I have my non-profit [authorization] I'm hoping to start receiving grant money. In the meantime, I have to keep my day job in order to fund this. It's my passion and I think it's one of the most important things I can do, so I'll make it work as long as possible.”

The first project, she says, is to “organize is covering the not-so-attractive chain link fence that surrounds the back parking lot. I want kids from area schools to paint pallets that will be hung on the fence. And I really want to take down the barbed- wire that tops the fence, which makes the place look more like a prison than a cultural arts center.”

If you want to support Theatre 3, says Ami, "visit the website to contribute or simply mail me a check to 108 Henry Street Roanoke Virginia."

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