South Sound BBQ Festival

Get Your Fingers Messy at the South Sound BBQ Festival

by Kelli Samson for OLY ARTS The Lacey Chamber of Commerce hosts the South Sound BBQ Festival as a finale to Lacey Days. This will culminate the celebration of the city’s 50th anniversary. For fans of traditional, slow-cooked barbecue or anyone who ever wanted to be in an eating contest, this event is not to …

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OFT summer workshops, 2016

Camps and Creativity at Olympia Family Theater

by Kelli Samson for OLY ARTS At the start of every summer, Olympia Family Theater’s production season ends, making way for the training of future thespians. The audiences and rhythms of the past nine months change. Rehearsal schedules give way for day camps, and guests switch from theater patrons to children aged 5 to 12. …

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Ted and Jen Ryle

Jen and Ted Ryle: Olympia Family Theater’s Dynamic Duo

by Kelli Samson for OLY ARTS Meet Jen and Ted Ryle, the couple behind Olympia Family Theater. Theater is a touchstone for the Ryle family. Fittingly, the Ryles met each other at an audition at Shoreline College. “I nudged my friend when Ted walked in, and said ‘Who’s the straight guy? I want him!’” Jen …

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Jason Haws in The Understudy at Harlequin Productions

Jason Haws: Seeker of Truth

by Kelli Samson for OLY ARTS Jason Haws is a shapeshifter. Whether onstage or in front of a classroom, he glides effortlessly between roles and is utterly unforgettable in each, always stealing the show. As director Brian Tyrrell, who’s known him for over twenty years, articulates, “Jason Haws is a chameleon.” Though Haws had dreams …

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Maggie Ferguson-Wagstaffe in Five Women Wearing the Same Dress at Harlequin Productions

Maggie Ferguson-Wagstaffe: Born for the Stage

by Kelli Samson for OLY ARTS With her jazzy voice, inflamed red hair and that mischievous twinkle in her eye, Harlequin Productions’s resident secret weapon has for years been none other than actor Maggie Ferguson-Wagstaffe. She’s currently gracing Harlequin’s State Theater stage as both Miss Erikson and Lady Saltburn in Present Laughter. She describes this …

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Blubber with puppet designer Jamie Jenson

OFT’s Original, Punk-Rock Musical: Fishnapped!

by Kelli Samson for OLY ARTS Evergreen State College alumna Amy Shephard has collaborated with Andrew Gordon and Daven Tillinghast to write Olympia Family Theater’s final show of its 11th season, Fishnapped! “It’s an interactive, musical mystery involving a missing goldfish,” says Shephard, who also choreographs the production. The musical numbers, composed by Tillinghast, are …

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The Slug Who Stole Solstice at OFT, set painting by Steve Bylsma

Steve Bylsma: When Art and Science Meet

by Kelli Samson for OLY ARTS Growing up in Bothell, Steve Bylsma loved drawing the natural world. The 2011 Evergreen State College graduate and freelance artist continually brings art and nature together. Bylsma enjoys creative problem solving, so his set-design work for Olympia Family Theater has been a perfect fit. “I generally enjoy designing sets …

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Kathy Dorgan

Kathy Dorgan: Storyteller

by Kelli Samson for OLY ARTS Kathy Dorgan, a member of the Washington State Thespians Teacher Hall of Fame, is celebrating 20 years of directing plays at Olympia High School. If not for a broken leg as a teen, however, this California native and former athlete might have taken a very different path. “I was …

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Corinna Luyken

2017: Corinna Luyken at Captain Little

by Kelli Samson for OLY ARTS Most kids love to draw. The difference between artists like Corinna Luyken and many of us is she never stopped when she grew up. Luyken’s first book, The Book of Mistakes, was inspired by her young daughter crumpling her own artwork for the first time, declaring its imperfection. Luyken …

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Carolyn Willems Van Dijk

Carolyn Willems Van Dijk: Impacting the World

by Kelli Samson for OLY ARTS Actress Carolyn Willems Van Dijk was born for the stage. She’s all doe eyes and smile, voice and confidence. In short, she is something to behold. And behold her you can—if you haven’t already been lucky enough to do so. She’s performing in Harlequin Productions’s upcoming contemporary musical, First …

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