Improv workshop continues despite construction at WF Backdoor Theatre
WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - The Wichita Falls Backdoor Theatre staff took another step this week toward completing a half of million dollar reconstruction project.
Despite what is happening on the theatre’s stages, they continue to give performers an opportunity to shine.
Staff at Backdoor Theatre held their first improve workshop of the year on Friday and they had to host it in one of their rehearsal spaces around the corner from the historical theatre. As it is currently undergoing installation of a new fire sprinkler system.
“I was in a production back in 2019 called Disaster. I played Shirley and I’m trying to get back into the theatre scene in Wichita Falls and this seemed like a good opportunity to do something different,” said Deborah Hudgins, a participant of the Improv workshop.
During Backdoor Theatre’s first improv workshop for 2022, 14 inspiring performers came out to run drills and interact with the stranger next to them, so that by the end of the two-hour class they realized that they had more in common than they thought.
“It’s not scary because everybody wants you to succeed, everybody is there. They want to be there so they’re not going to make fun of you. It’s a safe space to come and just give it a shot,” said Erin Spiva, a board member of the Backdoor Theatre.
Normally these workshops would be held inside the theatre’s main stage, but as of this week, 34,000 pounds of scaffolding sits, waiting for construction crews to install a new sprinkler system. During a water main break two years ago the historical building sustained $500,000 worth of damage.
“It’s not something that we had anticipated dealing with, but because of the flood and what happened, the fire suppression system line is what busted that caused water to come into the building, so the fire department and the city came in and looked and found that we needed to get that updated,” Jessica Wood, business director of the Backdoor Theatre.
While theatre staff will be paying for the $105,000 project out of pocket, the Wichita Falls City Council will be helping them get that money back through 4B board funds.
“To go to the city and ask for help, means a lot to us and it makes us feel that we belong here and that we are looking forward to another 50 years of history at Backdoor Theatre,” said Wood.
A history of theatre that the Wichita Falls community gets to experience through the theatre’s many programs.
“I would do it again. I would too, it’s kind of thrilling, it’s almost like skydiving. I get butterflies except everybody else is with you. It’s not like you’re alone,” said Hudgins and Spiva.
Woods said construction crews will be doing work inside the main theatre for the next five weeks and will spend another three weeks doing additional updates around the theatre.
They are also hoping to get some help from the Texas Historical Commission to rebuild the dinner stage that was destroyed in that flood. They hope to have everything done by next year.
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