Kevin and Judy Vincent lived for community theater for many years until their 5-year-old daughter, Kyla, was born.
The Whitestone couple met as co-stars in a Queens theater group production in 1996, got married and 13 years ago started Theatre Time Productions, which moved to the First Presbyterian Church in Whitestone a year later.
The church space allowed them to present two major productions per year and the couple poured themselves, and their money, into their shows, which played before as many as 80 people.
The pair had always loved theater, but community theater’s quirks sometimes got on their nerves the way staying in someone else’s home sometimes does, so having a space of their own was “a dream,” Judy Vincent said.
“It came out of a really deep love and passion for the art. With all the cuts to arts programs at schools, we provide theater to the community,” Kevin Vincent said. “We strive to be as good as we can be, and it was a great space to learn in and to perfect our craft. We had a good run there.”
That run ended several months ago.
The Vincents held Neil Simon’s “Rumors” at the church in October 2009 and were preparing to put on “Laura” by Laura Caspary this spring when they got the news that the church was again raising the fee for holding a show there.
Staffers at First Presbyterian could not be reached for comment because they were on vacation most of this week, according to the church office’s outgoing message.
The Vincents’ shows are funded out of their own pockets until they recoup some or all of the money through ticket and refreshment sales. The most recent rent hike broke the bank when they crunched the numbers based on Kevin Vincent’s salary as a work-from-home paralegal.
Theatre Time Productions was asked to leave and shortly thereafter had moved all its belongings out of its longtime home. The Vincents had lost their second home.
“It’s not that we’re not willing to pay rent — of course we are. We’re a tiny community theater group, we’re not a big corporation who can afford thousands of dollars rent,” Kevin Vincent said. “When we’re a theater group whose entire budget is funded by me, and I’m supporting a wife and child, constant rent increases become something I can’t continue to fund. When a show of ours lost money, I personally lost money.”
So now the couple is searching for a new home base. The Vincents simply need a space with reasonable rent for them to stage the occasional low-budget show in an environment that welcomes all that community theater has to offer.
“We want to find someone that recognizes that having a community theater group in your space is more than just having a tenant. Most importantly, we want someone who wants us there and thinks that what we’re doing is good,” Kevin Vincent said. “If there are people out there who have a space that’s sitting there dark on the weekends, give us a call. We haven’t found a match yet, but we’re not ready to go away, not even close. A match is out there and we intend to find it.”
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cn
©2010 Community News Group
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