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A home at last

Its productions have been staged at the Keizer Civic Center, the Kroc Center and Chemeketa Community College. The only constant stage for Keizer Homegrown Theatre has been the Keizer Rotary Amphitheatre at Keizer Rapids Park which hosts the group’s Shakespeare in the Park plays.

Keizer Homegrown Theatre (KHT) now has a permanent home. In Keizer. In an agreement with the Keizer Heritage Center, the theatre group has taken over the event room on the second floor of the center. The addition of KHT to the center truly makes it the culutural heart of the city. The Keizer Heritage Center is home to the Keizer Community Library, the Keizer Heritage Museum, the Keizer Art Association and its Enid Joy Mount Gallery.

The building, which started life as Keizer School in 1916, will fulfill the Keizer Heritage Foundation’s goal of preserving history and maintaining the building as the heart of the community.

Keizer Homegrown Theater is a perfect fit for that vision. The group will continue to stage Shakespeare plays at Keizer Rapids Park each summer; all other productions will be held at its new home.

A volunteer organization, KHT is managed by a dedicated group of volunteers led by Linda Baker, a former long-time drama teacher at McNary High School. Keizer Homegrown Theatre is a member of the Salem Theatre Network, a group of 13 theatrical companies in the region—that is a lot of live theatre for our metropolitan.

It used to be that Pentacle Theatre was the only live theatre. The strength of the 13 members of the network demonstrate that residents in Keizer and Salem will support the performing arts.

All those groups, especially Keizer Homegrown Theatre, benefit from the art and drama programs in our schools.  KHT may be a small organization but it has big ambitions and the shows it produces are as sophisicated as anything you’d find in a large city.

With the move to its permanent home Keizer Homegrown Theatre can concentrate on making its new space its own and serve its needs. There will be some modifications made over the coming years including staging, storage and seating.

Keizer Homegrown Theatre’s first production was already staged at the Keizer Heritage Center. Last February  Love Letters was produced in the space it now calls home. That play proved that the event room could easily be turned into an intimate theatre.

After wandering over recent years staging shows at various venues, Keizer Homegrown Theatre has come home where it belongs.