Forest Moon Theater Celebrates Fourth Season with Eclectic Lineup

Forest Moon - Shakespeare in Hollywood

Shakespeare in Hollywood was a crowd pleaser during Forest Moon’s third theatrical season.

Forest Moon Theater is getting ready to open its fourth season with “Arsenic and Old Lace,” and co-founder Bob Baird is excited about the lineup of shows and the theater’s future.

“We have exciting productions planned for the season. We made some brave choices,” Baird said.

Forest Moon Theater is an educational community theater in Wake Forest that was started in 2012 by Baird and Cathy Gouge. In the theater’s first season, it did two productions. The theater has grown steadily to putting on four productions a season, presenting works that have either never been performed in the Triangle or have not appeared on stage in a long time.

“It’s difficult to pick a season because there are so many things to consider, like the talent pool, facility, support personnel and resources,” Baird said. “Plus, the Triangle is rich with theater, so we have to consider what has been done and guess what others may be planning.”

The Triangle is a hot bed of community theater, with three more theater companies opening this year alone.

Baird says Forest Moon Theater has a talented pool of local actors and directors to work with but also is attracting directors from outside the area, bringing a fresh perspective to their work. This season, Forest Moon Theater will perform “Arsenic and Old Lace,” “Agnes of God,” “Anne of Green Gables” and “The Curious Savage.”

Forest Moon - The 100 Dresses

From The Hundred Dresses, March 2016,
performed at the Renaissance Centre.

“Agnes of God,” which Baird will direct, is a bold, three-person play set on an almost-bare stage. What it lacks in sets and actors, the play makes up for in an emotional punch. Forest Moon Theater will perform “Agnes of God” for six performances at the Renaissance Centre Annex in Wake Forest and then stage four performances at the new Sonorous Road Theatre, a black box theater in Raleigh.

Expanding the theater’s reach by performing at the Sonorous Road Theatre is part of the Forest Moon’s five-year plan. Ultimately, Baird says theater organizers would like to have their own black box theater in Wake Forest and run adult and children’s productions simultaneously.

A few years ago, Wake Forest resident Michael Selna was searching for acting classes for son Addison. Unable to find local classes, Addison decided to audition for “Helium” at Forest Moon Theater. He was cast in the production, and in the two years since, he has performed in nine productions around the Triangle. For Selna, having his son find his passion was what he hoped for, and in the process, Selna discovered his, too.

Selna always wanted to be on stage. When he became involved with Forest Moon Theater through his son, he had the opportunity. And he just finished performing in his first production, “Shakespeare in Hollywood.”

“Forest Moon Theater is an asset to the community,” Selna said. “Not just the quality entertainment it offers, but the access to acting that it offers people like me.’”

Forest Moon - Shakespeare in Hollywood

From Shakespeare in Hollywood, June 2016,
performed at the Renaissance Centre.
Photos by David Leone

Youth productions are important to every theater’s bottom line, as are musicals, because both typically sell out, Baird said. But Forest Moon’s organizers are resisting taking this path and prefer looking to curate a season with a mix of comedy and drama with one piece having strong youth roles.

Forest Moon Theater receives 85 percent of its operating revenue from ticket sales; the rest is from local sponsors.

Next year, Forest Moon Theater will put together a committee to read plays and make recommendations for future seasons. Additionally, the theater is looking for behind-the-scenes volunteers such as set designers, costume designers and stage managers.

The theater also needs a warehouse space with electricity. Baird said the theater rents a storage space, but it is costly. A warehouse would allow Forest Moon Theater to have a place to build sets and provide storage. Baird is hoping a local business will offer to rent the theater a space at a below-market rate and take advantage of the corresponding tax deduction.

Anyone interested in volunteering at or supporting Forest Moon Theater should contact Baird at office@forestmoontheater.org.

— Susan Ware Flower | susan.flower@rolesvillebuzz.com | August 2016

Opening the Fourth Season

“Arsenic and Old Lace”

Dates: September 16, 17, 23, 24 at 7:30 p.m.; September 18, 25 at 3 p.m.

Tickets: Advance $15 Adults, $13 Seniors/Students ($18/$16 the day of performance)

Venue: Renaissance Centre, 405 S. Brooks St., Wake Forest

Box Office: 919-435-9458

Website: www.forestmoontheater.org