Theater expands its horizons

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Two filmmakers are hoping to bring some versatility to the 73rd Avenue Theater in Westminster, more opportunities for artists to highlight their passions and work.

Darci Alishouse and Terri Balogh, both South Westminster Arts Group, SWAG, members, have high hopes for the potential of the 50-seat theater.

The women want to bring a mix of artists instead of just using it as a place for traditional theater.

Alishouse said she’s hoping to also bring in people who are passing by and provide a place for multiple types of art avenues including music, film, and more original theater. She said the goal is to also bring in art that hasn’t been in the area.

“We want to reach out to the people in the area and get them more involved in learning or being part of things too,” she said. “So that everyone comes together at one point.”

Balogh said with the area already having a strong art district and jazz festival the only thing lacking is a strong presence of performance art. So to get things started on that level, the women are hosting the Sunroom Film Festival at the 73rd Avenue Theater.

The festival, Aug. 2-4, will feature four independent films: The Aviation Cocktail, a mystery thriller, Stan, a comedy, The Lost Reunions, a documentary and To Redemption, a drama. Each feature film will play twice throughout the weekend.

“We have gathered together some work we think is really unique, films you can’t see anywhere else,” Balogh said. “They are award winning in other areas and they are done by great people who are extremely talented.”

For next year’s film festival Alishouse and Balogh are hoping to feature their own film Feet, a comedy the women are currently working on tirelessly. The film’s star is fellow SWAG member Rich Chamberlain and is a comedy about an art gallery security guard and his obsession with feet.

“We had auditions at the theater and Rich heard about it and came out,” Alishouse said. “We didn’t even know he could act and it turns out he’s great. We even did some shooting in the Rodeo Market Gallery, a local Westminster gallery. By having the auditions at the theater we discovered local talent, that’s the kind of thing we want for the theater.”

As the women begin their quest to bring new and exciting theatrical, film and artistic experiences to the theater, the city of Westminster is planning the future of the theater.

Tony Chacon, senior projects coordinator, said as of right now the theater property is part of an area redevelopment effort. He said there is a developer looking to redevelop the theater, but is waiting to secure financing before anything can be done.

“The developer’s projected scheduled for the project is next summer or fall, but that all depends on him securing financing and project approval by the city,” he said.

“But until that happens, SWAG can continue to use the theater.”

Both Alishouse and Balogh are excited by the idea of a new building, but instead of just the typical theater, the duo would like to see a venue built that can be used for a variety of things, other than just traditional theater.

“I think the redevelopment is fantastic,” Balogh said. “We could even be part of the planning and really make it something useful, make it a really cool space that would work for a number of things.”