By Andrea Salisbury/Wicked Local Dedham
Wicked Local Dedham
Posted Nov 19, 2010 @ 07:00 AM
DEDHAM — Down a flight of stairs at 619 High St. is where Meg Fofonoff’s vision unfolds.
“This is the theatre school space,” she says standing on the bottom step of a wooden staircase. The air smells like fresh paint. She points to a smaller room. “Here’s the entrance, and the coat rack, and where the kids will check in.”
She walks through the doorway to a larger room. The walls are a soft pink, almost coral color and the hardwood floor looks newly polished. Fofonoff explains that this is where classes for the Fiddlehead Theatre Academy will be held.
“To come into a space, that is just such a fantastic place … with a vintage feel,” she smiles. “It is just like ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ - it is just right.”
The process of finding a location for the theatre academy has been a homecoming of sorts the Dedham native says on a recent Friday morning. A journey that started in Dedham in 1994 with the theatre’s first performance at the high school; took her to a downtown theatre in Norwood for 13 years; and now back to Dedham.
“You have to come full circle to come home,” she says.
The building is owned by Dr. Louis J. Sawan, a dentist at Dedham Medical Associates and a Dedham native who bought the former Christian Science Church three years ago. He says he always envisioned using the space for something artistic.
“I didn’t want to make another half dozen offices in Dedham Square,” he says during a phone interview earlier this week. His voice echoes and he explains he was actually at 619 High St. getting things ready.
Fofonoff explains her degree in theatre is one of experience. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature, and a started her master’s degree in theatre education.
“(But) I had two kids and it was just a matter of time,” she explains as to why she never completed her degree. “I just wanted to be with my kids.”
This job, she says, provided an opportunity for her children to work with her as she builds the reputation of the Fiddlehead Theatre.
For 13 years, Fofonoff called the theatre at 109 Central St. in Norwood home. Its last show in 2009 was “My Fair Lady,” one her favorite productions, Fofonoff said.
While larger productions are in the future for the Fiddlehead, right now Fofonoff is putting her efforts in the Fiddlehead Theatre Academy. She has a core group of five teachers that are certified and have worked either professionally on stage or have their master’s of fine arts. Classes, she says, will range from set design, musicals, and mask making to dance and costume design.
“We are probably going to expand pretty quickly,” she smiles and looks around the space. She adds that she hopes to expand one day to include a puppet theatre and possibly country line dancing.
“I’m a country nut,” she jokes.
The first wave of classes will prepare for performances of “101 Dalmatians,” for kids ages 6 to 8 and “Beauty and the Beast,” for kids age 9 to 15. They will be held Saturdays starting Jan. 9 through Feb. 19. Through the class, students will receive a script and a CD with which they can rehearse at home. This, Fofonoff says, really gets the parents involved. At the end of each session, students will perform for an audience.
Fofonoff has worked professionally in the theatre for 18 years and maintains that her passion has always been about the kids.
“There is nothing better than doing theatre with kids,” she smiles and explains that, while there can be only one Belle, every young actor will “feel like they can really shine.”
She says there is one key aspect kids will learn.
“It is not about the amount of time on stage,” she says. “It is about making the most of the moments you are.”
An open house will be held on Saturday, Dec. 18 from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 619 High Street. The teachers will be on hand to answer questions. For more information or to register, call 617-888-5365 on the web at fiddleheadtheatre.com.
Dedham Transcript editor Andrea Salisbury can be reached at 781-433-8322 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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