Pier One Theatre on the Spit opens 51st season with ‘Harvey’

The Pier One Theatre on the Spit opens their 51st season with a performance of “Harvey” on May 17 at 7:30 p.m.

“Harvey” is a comedy, written in 1944 by American playwright Mary Chase, who received Pulitzer Prize for the work, according to Stage Agent, an online resource for theatre artists. It is directed by Homer’s Val Sheppard and has a cast of 11 people but a total of 12 characters. This is the 10th show Sheppard has directed for Pier One Theatre; the first was “The Clean House” by Sarah Ruhl in 2013.

Prior to the start of the summer season, Pier One Theatre held a work party on May 5 to clean and prepare the theater and to begin rehearsing “Harvey” in the theater space.

The flats, the standing background sets, were placed on stage later that week and were painted last Thursday.

“Things have been slowly making their way onto the stage since then: props, set pieces, costumes. It all comes together kind of piecemeal but we’re on track to open on Friday,” Sheppard said.

Sheppard said the theater had a good turnout of volunteers for the work party — both long-time volunteers and newer folks. They got the stage cleared off and cleaned, the audience seating prepped.

“We were just turning everything on, plugging everything in and getting ready to go,” she said.

Sheppard has been involved with Pier One Theatre, “about as long as I’ve been cognizant and even before then.”

“My father was very involved with the theater from the late ‘70s into the late ‘80s and my mother danced with Lynne Rolff’s dance troupe in the 1990s.”

Sheppard participated in the youth theater camps starting in first grade and for many summers afterward. In 2009, she started getting more involved in acting and stagehand work. In 2012 she participated in a few productions through both acting and stage directing.

“That sort of reignited my love for theater and Pier One in particular,” she said. Sheppard is also employed by Pier One as their office assistant.

“Harvey” will run until June 1. The next production will be Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” opening on June 20.

Pier One also offers several youth theater camp opportunities that they describe on their website as, “high-quality, dynamic theatre education that builds skills & confidence.”

“Every student leaves with a new understanding of their own potential, and skills that will serve them in both the theatre and the world.”

The first camp of the summer is Production and Theatre skills, with lead instructor Kathleen Gustufson. This camp is almost at capacity. For more information and registration details, see the Pier One website at https://pieronetheatre.org/. Tickets for performances is also available there.