Prospective theater coming to Cheney


By Rebekah Frank

Shirt-Pocket Theatre founder Charles Kenfield has hopes of planting roots in Cheney.

Kenfield has had experience directing opera, ballet and drama productions in places such as New York. His partner and co-founder Ryan Hartwell is a junior at EWU and is going for a theater major. The two have been discussing starting a new theater in town for a little less than a year now.

Hartwell and Kenfield want to create a theater company on a small scale. The two imagine a smaller theater in every area, but ones that do not follow the community theater model, which only focuses on getting as many people involved as it can.

“We want to get away from theater’s grandiose needs and instead focus on the nature of basic elements to a play,” said Hartwell.

According to Hartwell and Kenfield, they are going to focus on the intimacy of theater, rather than the production of the theater, by keeping everything small. This theater company will use ideas based on small casting, minimum costuming and minimal rehearsal space. This way the audience will be more in touch with the characters.

“When the actor and the audience member can connect with one another, the audience forgets about the limited space,” said Hartwell.

The plays Hartwell and Kenfield are interested in range from original works to the critically acclaimed. They are also looking to be present on a professional level. They want their actors and directors to give the best that they can give. Hartwell said he will be working with smaller plays and casting no more than four actors.

Hartwell and Kenfield came up with the name of Shirt-Pocket Theatre when considering the things people tuck away. Hartwell and Kenfield said they wanted to capture the idea of remembering things once tucked away, such as the birth of a child or the loss of a loved one.

According to Hartwell and Kenfield, theater helps people cope with their memories. By giving people laughter, tears and wonder, the theater can make people think about things that are normally ignored. Hartwell said that by stripping away a production to the bare minimum one would have to believe in the script and trust the audience to understand the underlying meaning.

Hartwell and Kenfield are currently seeking out talented individuals who are willing and capable of making and fulfilling a commitment to the theater. They are hoping to find people who have extraordinary talent in script writing, script reading and acting. In addition they are looking for a location for their new theater to call home as well as individuals to be members of their board to help guide and shape their dream into a reality.

They have four prospective students on campus already and if students are interested in being involved in this project, Hartwell and Kenfield would like to encourage them to contact either of them.

If interested contact Ryan Hartwell [email protected]