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Midvale Journal

Director Doesn't Like Nomad Status

Sep 21, 2015 03:20PM ● By Rhett Wilkinson

A Michelle Groves-directed “39 Steps” played in mid-September at West Jordan Community Arts Center. Britany Fullmer and Anthony Lovato starred. The West Jordan city council is reportedly planning on a permanent home for performances in a few years. Groves expressed frustration with changes in venues. Photo courtesy Travis Green

By Rhett Wilkinson

West Jordan - A veteran director in the Salt Lake valley voiced concerns with uncertainty in locations of performances that used to be a mainstay at Sugar Factory Playhouse in West Jordan and is temporarily at West Jordan Community Arts Center.

Michelle Groves, the West Jordan Theater Arts president, is upset that the performances have been moved throughout the Salt Lake valley, including Midvale locations, a city hall, a library, various high schools and even an elementary school, she said. The performances haven’t had a permanent home for five years, when a condemnation notice was posted on the locked door of Sugar Factory Playhouse.

A Groves production, “39 Steps,” just concluded at the West Jordan Community Arts Center, a converted library.

“It’s been very difficult,” she said. “You lose some of your following because people want to know where you are, so you lose your regular following.” She added that storage has also been difficult.

She, cast and crew have done their best to “keep it alive,” she said, expressing gratitude for their website (still and social media, including Facebook.

“You kind of need a home,” she said. “You need a home when acquiring royalties to do the shows; when you are talking with publishers.”

The West Jordan city council’s current plan is for plays to happen at the arts center until a few years from now, when a permanent, dedicated arts facility will be completely built, actor Travis Green said.

“We are certainly grateful for the facility we've been given access to, but we are really looking forward to having a building that is built for performing in,” Green said. Added Groves: “It’s good to have our seat settled, even though it’s temporary.”

In March 2010, first-year Mayor Melissa Johnson asked for a review of 4-year-old seismic studies on Sugar Factory Playhouse. Johnson asked for the studies to see how much renovation was needed. Study results found the building unsafe for occupancy. Engineers review recommended closure of the building as soon as possible.

A review by the Utah Risk Management Association also found the building unsafe.

Auditions for “Dickens” will be held Sept. 22 and 23 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the West Jordan Community Arts Center at 1970 W. 7800 S. in West Jordan. The show will run Dec. 3-19 except Wednesdays and Thursdays.