Forest Moon brings community theater to Wake Forest

by Sarah Hager

Forest Moon Theater is a new, education-based community theater in Wake Forest. The first of its kind in the area, it is giving Wake Forest residents a chance to cultivate a new hobby or nurture an existing passion closer to home.

Encouraged greatly by the community, Forest Moon’s founders, Bob Baird and Cathy Gouge, began Forest Moon at the ground level with no funding.  Bob and Cathy met via performing arts – Cathy taught Bob’s daughter performing arts in grade school and Bob was in charge of the drama program at Raleigh public schools for a handful of years. They felt the Wake Forest area had a pent up need for an outlet for this kind of art and began meeting with Wake Forest Arts, a local arts support organization. Through the meetings, they had a goal to do a production by the beginning of this year.

Their first production, “Academia Nuts,” had a small cast and a fresh plot, with manageable set requirements. Two antique stores in Wake Forest even donated furniture to use in the set. The proceeds from the show secured enough funding for the royalty fees for the second production, set expenses and a 6-month storage unit rental

Forest Moon actors Colleen Guest and Russell Gentry in "Academia Nuts"

“We want to build an organization, because that’s how you survive,” Cathy said. “In a true sense of community theater, we pull talent from the community. We consider ourselves teachers and seek people with different backgrounds, from no experience to professionals, and try to help each person grow.”

Forest Moon is already looking on to its 2014 season and planning for four productions, including a youth only production, holiday, and two mostly adult performances.  They are currently working to find a space to rehearse regularly and construct sets. Mayor Vivian Jones has shown great support for the organization and arts in general, which is helping Forest Moon move forward.  At some point, they hope to incorporate local playwrights into their productions, giving them the opportunity to perform original work. Other plans down the road include acting classes and a youth program.

The next production is “Harvey” by Mary Chase, a comedy involving a six-and-a-half-foot rabbit imaginary friend to an eccentric adult male. It will be performed October 4-5 and 11-12 at 7:30 PM, and October 6 at 3:00 PM, in Wake Forest.

For more information about Forest Moon, visit their website.

Sarah Hager is a graduate of N.C. State University and currently works in marketing. She DJs at WKNC 88.1 and is enthusiastic about North Carolina’s music scene. In her free time, she enjoys going to shows, reading and playing guitar. You can follow Sarah on Twitter @_sarahnade or email.

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