Words Players are an itinerant theater company — again.
After about six years in the Words Players Theatre building at 14 Fourth St. SW, Rochester, the theater organization is looking for a new home. The 115-year-old building was purchased by Hunter and Traci Downs, of Rochester, and will be converted to offices and a restaurant.
The need to jump from place to place takes the theater company back to its roots.
“Before, we were just catch-as-catch-can,” said Kathy Kuhlmann, executive director of Words Players.
For at least the time being, the organization will be back in that same situation while the search for a new home continues.
“We’ve been looking for a long time,” Kuhlmann said. “We have an idea of what’s out there. But any existing facility we look at will have to have adaptations done to be a performance space. And that’s expensive.”
In terms of continuity and growth, a new home is important. “We can definitely do a lot more with a building, as far as offering classes and programming,” Kuhlmann said.
In addition, there’s the issue of storage space for costumes and props, which now are stored in three locations.
But a new performance space is not Words Players’ only need, and in fact might not be No. 1 on the list right now.
“We’d like to expand staff-wise,” Kuhlmann said. “That’s almost more of a priority. There’s so much programming.”
The organization isn’t completely homeless yet. The building can be used through the annual Shakespeare in the Park production, which runs June 19 through June 28 in Soldiers Field Park.
Meanwhile, the troupe is gearing up for an expanded role in its second year at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Plans are for Words Players and the associated Minnesota SkyVault Theatre Company to occupy a wooded area on the festival grounds. “We’re going to have a Sherwood Forest theme,” Kuhlmann said.
Shakespeare in the Park
Words Players/Minnesota SkyVault Theatre Company will present “Romeo & Juliet” during Rochesterfest. All performances are in Soldiers Field Park, near the Rochester Family Y.
— 7 p.m. June 19
— 7 p.m. June 20
— 3 p.m. June 21
— 7 p.m June 22
— 3 p.m and 7 p.m. June 27
— 3 p.m. June 28
In addition, the acting troupe will present a Family Fun Renaissance Festival from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 24 during Rochesterfest at Soldiers Field.
The company will also be in the Rochesterfest parade on June 26.
You can find Words Players on the web, www.wordsplayers.org and www.mnskyvault.org.