Area Community Theatre of Sharpsville Inc. opened a new chapter in its history Oct. 21-23 by looking back at what it has accomplished.
ACTS opened the main stage of its new home in Sharon with a revue of hit songs from musicals it has performed since it opened in 2010. That new home is the former Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 40 S. Irvine Ave., Sharon.
“I think a show like this, where we’re reminiscing of the past, is a perfect way to put our stamp on it before we move into the new era,” said Miriam Necastro, a frequent ACTS performer and board member.
Patron Katie Sass of Brookfield, said she “loved the show.”
“The church looks beautiful, and I’m sure God is watching over everything,” she said, pledging to see future shows.
“I hope it does well,” Sass said.
Board member and show producer Anita Perman said the board wanted the building to retain the character of a church, even though it is now put to a decidedly secular use. But, the transition from sacred space to public performing arts venue took thousands of volunteer hours on top of tasks that had to be left to hired professionals.
“The blood, sweat and tears that have been put into this building have made the last two years totally worth it,” said Necastro, a Brookfield High graduate and Brookfield Middle School teacher. “When everybody stood up at the very end, I was getting emotional because I’m like, I can’t believe it’s been two years and that we’re back.”
ACTS lost its original home at the Piece Opera House in Sharpsville when the elevator-less building with its impossibly steep steps was rendered unusable by current building codes. ACTS performed at neutral sites such as local schools, and lost the better part of a season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The former church building is much larger than the opera house, has a bigger stage, and is easier to get into.
“The opera house is always going to hold a special place in my heart, but we were quickly outgrowing it,” Necastro said.
Co-founder Susan Piccirilli said she never imagined ACTS would have its own home.
“This is like a dream,” she said. “Even a year ago, when we first started renovating, we didn’t know how long it would take. Look what we did. It’s been an incredible feeling.”
Co-founder Tom Perman said the new building gives a home to a theater family of performers and support personnel that had been created by ACTS shows.
“It was so much fun to get that family back, because it was just pieces and parts up until the last two months,” he said. “As we continued into the rehearsals and you started getting that flow back, you remember what you were missing. That missing part was the family.”
In addition to staging shows, concerts and other artistic events on the main stage and in the basement room known as 40 Below, ACTS will continue its community outreach endeavors, such as vocal workshops, kid’s camps and master classes, Anita Perman said, and the building is available for rent.
Up next for ACTS: a creative storytelling workshop for kids, Nov. 12; singer Steve Vuich, Nov. 12; a show of Disney songs, Nov. 26 and 27; a Christmas show, Dec. 16-18; a concert of love songs, Feb. 4; Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel,” March 24-26 and March 31-April 1; and the William Inge play “Bus Stop,” May 19-21 and 26-28.
Information: www.actsharpsville.org or 724-815-4388.