Burlington’s Studio 1 is ‘So much more than real life’

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The arts can provide an outlet for people to express their inner emotions, struggles and triumphs. In the words of Tami Kress, the founder of Burlington’s new Studio 1, “They allow people the opportunity to collaborate and to work together and to create.”

Kress started Studio 1 in April of last year. The studio offers classes for all age groups, kids through adults. The official opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for Studio 1 was held on April 10. The studio houses three studio spaces and a 110-seat black box theater.

“We offer acting classes and performance classes,” Kress said. “We have things like fencing and zumbatomics and makeup classes, all relating to theater.”

After Kress created the studio, she brought in the current Studio 1 president, Tim Brown.

Elijah Chester, vice president of Studio 1, said the studio’s vision is to provide a place where artists can create in a nurturing environment and where the community can go to enjoy themselves.

“We endeavor to partner with our community to uplift and inspire using all forms of art,” Chester said. “Especially in areas of great need, from the bi-lingual community to the disabled in productions, that foster understanding and kinship.”

Studio 1 has a main stage and a youth stage. The studio mainly tries to do shows that are not typically performed. Right now the main stage production is working on “Scarlet Pimpernel,” a play that takes place during the Reign of Terror following the start of the French Revolution. The most recent youth stage production was “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

“We want to reach out to do things that are maybe not done for whatever reasons other places,” Kress said.

Chester explained that statistics show children, and he believes adults as well, perform in all aspects of life more successfully and with more confidence when exposed to theater. They are given an opportunity to challenge themselves and overcome fears. The intimate setting of the Sara McMillan Brown Theatre provides that, Chester said.

“We not only have passion for the young artist, but for the seasoned and for the older ‘newbies’ as well,” Chester said. “The arts are for everyone and should be a part of the community’s DNA, and we dream of being a positive catalyst for growth and art prosperity here in Alamance County and beyond.”

Kress said she has had a lot of people ask her if, during this tough economy, it is the right time to open the studio. She believes now is the perfect time.

“We want to keep entertainment local,” Kress said. “We want people to have local opportunities and Studio 1 is going to provide that opportunity.”

The motto at Studio 1 is “So much more than real life.” Kress said it’s nice to be able to get involved in something much bigger than herself.

Chester said Alamance County has a wealth of talent that is regularly demonstrated throughout the year in various performing arts groups. It was time that the area had an additional venue for performance opportunities.

“Sometimes we feel so weighted down by the world,” Kress said. “It’s really important, I think, for people to have a place to come and create and be a part of something bigger than themselves.”

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