LEWISBURG – RiverStage Community Theatre and Strictly Ballet have announced the audition date for their upcoming co-production of the inaugural Lewisburg Victorian Nutcracker to be performed this December.  Auditions will be held on Saturday, August 25 from 10:00am to 2:00pm at the Strictly Ballet studio on the 2nd floor of Greenspace Center, 815 Market St, Lewisburg.

Amy Casimir, director of Strictly Ballet, said, “When the Victorian Christmas parade ended a few years ago, it really left a hole in Lewisburg’s holiday activities. Our family really enjoyed the parade, both as spectators and participants, and wanted to see if we could help start a new community tradition to take its place.”

Casimir and her husband, Trey, took as inspiration the concept of community Nutcrackers,” which have been performed in various towns and cities across the United States. “Community Nutcrackers tend to be a little looser, a little more varied in their staging, although the ballet portion is still performed with as much rigor and discipline as the dancers are capable of,” said Amy. Trey added, “I’m in charge of the loose and varied, and she’s in charge of the rigor and discipline.” “We are grateful to be able to partner with RiverStage,” Amy continued. “They have knowledge of stagecraft and set-building, as well as a costume collection that should come in really handy.” All proceeds from the performance will be split between Strictly Ballet and RiverStage Community Theatre, with Strictly Ballet’s share going toward funding future Nutcrackers.

The Casimirs intend to solicit local businesses for financial support for the production — in return, the businesses will receive notice either in the program or onstage, through downtown Victorian Lewisburg signage, storefront sets, or other theatrical representations of the donor businesses. Furthermore, sponsors will be sought for iconic sets or costumes. “We’re hoping one of the local tree service companies will sponsor the Christmas tree,” said Trey. “The tree is an elaborate set piece that is central to the story, and it would be a great opportunity for some tree-related business to get their name out there on an ongoing yearly basis.” Furthermore, in keeping with the community Nutcracker tradition, people who want to put on a costume and participate in the party scene onstage are encouraged to show up two hours early in appropriate Victorian garb for minimal rehearsal, pay a nominal fee and join the show. Local dignitaries will also be invited to join the cast for the opening party scene.

Auditions for dancing and acting roles will be held on Saturday, August 25, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Strictly Ballet studio on the second floor of Greenspace Center (a.k.a. the old Lewisburg High School), 815 Market St, Lewisburg. Non-dancers, including boys, are also sought for various non-dancing roles. “We really hope that all interested local dancers and performers will participate, no matter their usual studio affiliation,” said Amy. “We’re not looking to steal dancers or step on anyone’s toes, we’re just hoping to create a new tradition that will provide some holiday joy to the community for years to come. In the first years we will almost certainly do no more than the first act, so rehearsal time should be pretty manageable. However, as we gain experience and increase the Nutcracker fund, we would like to stage the entire production.”

The Lewisburg Victorian Nutcracker will be performed Saturday, December 15 at 7:00 p.m. at RiverStage Community Theatre (Greenspace Center, 815 Market St) in Lewisburg. For more information, contact Amy Casimir at (818) 458-1540 or on Facebook at Strictly Ballet Arts.