~ Finding the comedic and tragic nuances to expose things that can be very meaningful to the soul ~

Feeling creative? Want to add some spark to your routine? Hoping to meet new people? Think outside the box; think beyond your normal limits then go behind that – and there it is! Community Theatre with some of the most interesting and happiest people you are likely to encounter.

Behind The Beyond Community Theatre Foundation is the brainchild of a small group of theatre lovers led by fine arts teacher Cor Sikkes. The non-profit foundation lends its name to the hugely successful production of the Stephen Leacock comedy play “Behind the Beyond”, staged earlier this year by Cor’s partner, Ukrainian director and drama teacher Albina Matuzko.

“It was a logical step to set up a foundation to continue with the hard work and commitment to theatre on the island by Albina,” explained Cor. “Another important factor was all the encouragement and positive comments received from theatre-goers and members of the public after the starting of Behind the Beyond earlier this year. People said they missed this form of theatre and very much wanted us to continue.”

Cor and foundation members believe they can provide a unique opportunity for theatre lovers on the island to fully experience a wide range of “Live Theatre” possibilities embracing and benefiting from a multicultural diversity that already exists on the island. Thinking even further, Cor sees a whole range of untapped resources and possibilities for art education and participation at the island’s senior homes, hospitals, prison and other social groups and organizations presently excluded or set apart from the general community.

Famous for her Baba Yaga character, director Matuzko says she has worked with all age groups in theatre arts, but especially enjoys working with the youth, who she expects will form an important and active part of the new foundation’s work in the coming weeks and months: “It was not by accident that we decided to keep the name of our first show in forming our new foundation. We want to remind ourselves always, also our audiences and sponsors, that there is a lot going on all around us that we should stop and pay attention to, instead of always dealing with clichéd themes and topics that are continuously being explored through skits and shows, while the real underbelly of the community continues to flourish almost in an invisible world. We must make time to listen and look out beyond the daily vanities and routines to find the comedic and tragic nuances to expose things that can be very meaningful to the soul.”

In realizing their dreams to enhance live theatre on St. Maarten, both Cor and Albina are most thankful for the support and encouragement of others working behind the scenes to get the new foundation off the ground with a running start. “We are so happy and fortunate to have others like us, who passionately believe that theatre can be a powerful force to transform and unite the island’s multicultural community, building empathy, compassion, understanding, inclusion of all of us, and appreciation and value of everyone inside the St. Maarten community,” said Albina.

And how will this be done? They plan to provide opportunities for artistic growth for youth and adults through drama and acting workshops, master classes and acting classes, eventually offering theatre performances. This will be challenging, but also inspiring, stimulating and fun! The ultimate goal is to develop and build artistic freedom in each individual. There will be a theatre lab for those 16 years and up. This will be affordable and accessible, dealing with many genres. Then there will also be a children’s company for ages six to 16, selected by audition or during participation in regular drama/theatre/acting classes; speaking of which, the regular drama and acting classes will be held weekly for kids, teens and adults. This is a great chance to shed your nerves and explore new parts of your personality.

Auditions next week!

The director is excited to involve all kinds of people in upcoming productions: “We have in mind a few plays we would like to work on this season and we invite all those interested in acting on stage for our open casting for new members, which will take place on August 19 and/or August 26, from noon to 2:00pm. This is not a traditional audition; we welcome everyone with or without experience to try our improvisational session, with drama games and acting exercises. This is our way to work with actors. Rehearsals will start on August 29 and will be held on Tuesdays at 7:30-10:00pm and Saturdays at 10:30am-1:00pm. Appropriate training is attached to every new production if needed; the less experience, the more wonderful challenge and magic of transformation, if you are ready to believe!”

Behind the Beyond is looking for support persons as well. “We would love to hear from anyone who is interested in the development of theatre arts on Sint Maarten, who can assist our non-profit foundation as a volunteer in any way,” said Matuzko. “You may be interested in the production process, or you may simply have some good ideas about improving our facilities. You may be someone with things at home that you want to donate, such as chairs, tables, theatrical-looking clothes, old fashioned accessories – anything we can use at our new venue.”

Register your interest to be a part of Behind the Beyond by sending an email to [email protected]

The foundation’s work will be at the new, creative centre “TIME OUT” in Cole Bay, at the end of Well Road, next to Island Water World (previously the Montessori School). Contact 522-6883 or 554-8737 for more information.

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