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Sacramento’s New Theatre Company Announces First Show

Apr 03, 2024 09:57AM ● By Pioneer Players News Release

The cast of “The Importance of Being Earnest” performs on stage. Photo courtesy of Pioneer Players 

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) – Pioneer Players, a newly formed nonprofit theatre company in midtown Sacramento, have announced their inaugural production, Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”.

Serving as the new resident theatre company of Pioneer Congregational United Church of Christ, Pioneer Players is the creative vision of Artistic Director and church member David-Matthew Barnes. The objective of the new company is to produce inspiring and uplifting shows including plays for young audiences and original works written by their planned workshop-based Pioneer Playwrights.

Barnes, whose catalog of more than seventy stage plays have been produced around the world, says he recognized the need for more support for local playwrights. “Many of my stage plays were first performed in Sacramento before moving on to other theatres,” he says. “Giving the opportunity to workshop scripts is something I’m very committed to offering to fellow playwrights. We would love for Pioneer Players to be the first theatrical home for many playwrights in Sacramento.”

Similarly, Barnes recognized the need for more productions specifically aimed at young audiences. This fall, Pioneer Players will launch their first children’s theatre production (featuring adult actors), an interactive musical version of Little Red Riding Hood. “I love the idea of families having a shared experience through theatre,” Barnes says. “As an arts educator, I realize how significant having access to theatre can be, especially for young people.”

Also joining this artistic endeavor is Cyndi Lopez-Spencer, who is serving as the Resident Technical Director of Pioneer Players. An alum of Sac State’s theatre program, Lopez-Spencer has been working as a stage manager or a technical crew member for over 30 years. "I'm really excited to join Pioneer Players and their effort to provide theatre that is accessible to the community,” says Lopez-Spencer. “This is a really amazing team to be working with. It’s exciting to be a part of this company who are doing and planning such innovative things.”

First, Pioneer Players will present Oscar Wilde's “The Importance of Being Earnest”, with Barnes directing. Performance dates are April 6 - April 21: Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m.; Sundays at 3 p.m. The Pioneer Theater is located inside the Fellowship Hall at Pioneer Congregational United Church of Christ: 2700 L Street in midtown Sacramento. To reach the Pioneer Theater, enter the church through the doors located in the church courtyard. The theater is accessible. Street parking is available. Concessions are cash only. Patrons arriving late will not be seated until intermission. Tickets are $15.00.

Advance tickets can be purchased from Eventbrite. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.

First performed on February 14, 1895, at the St James's Theatre in London, “The Importance of Being Earnest” is a farcical British comedy classic. The play tells the story of two men, Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff, who both assume the identity of a fictional man named Ernest, leading them both to fall in love and find an assortment of problems along the way. Working within the social conventions of late Victorian London, the play's major themes are the triviality with which it treats institutions as serious as marriage and the resulting satire of Victorian conformity.

“We believe that the Pioneer Players align closely with the mission of our church through their creative storytelling and performances, fostering connections among individuals, providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all, and contributing to the betterment of the community," says Rev. Dr. David C. Bocock, the Pastor of Pioneer Congregational Church. “This initiative resonates with our core values and exemplifies our commitment to spreading love, building community, and extending our service to all. We are thrilled to support Pioneer Players and look forward to their positive impact on the Sacramento community.”

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