WAYNE CREED: Thank You Clelia — You Woke My Soul

Retiring Arts Enter Director Clelia Sheppard

Retiring Arts Enter Director Clelia Sheppard

By WAYNE CREED
Cape Charles Wave

March 9, 2015

Some years ago, fairly new to Cape Charles, I walked into a cold Palace Theatre to take part in a poetry slam that was being hosted by Chris Bannon and the Friends of the Cape Charles Library. As usual I was unshaven, probably a bit hung over, and dressed in flannel and a wool beanie — I must have looked like one of the dock worker extras from On the Waterfront.

As I took a seat and waited for the reading to begin, two elegant, beautiful women entered and sat down. I thought to myself that they must have taken a wrong turn somewhere, or just had the time and place confused with some other. This was my first encounter with Sheila Cardano and her daughter, Clelia Sheppard.

I remember that afternoon well, as I read a story I had written about an odd Russian street performer and his beloved pug dog, and Ms. Cardano read one of her stories about a crazy squirrel. Life is serendipitous, contingent, and I always think of two events that actually saved my life: meeting my beautiful wife, and meeting Clelia Sheppard.

Growing up in West Haven, Connecticut, I remember my mother and grandmother taking me to the great New Haven theaters, and a love and fascination (appreciation) of the stage, whether drama, musical, or dance (Mom actually took me to NYC to see the great Edward Villella) stayed with me through high school and into college. After school, though, the passion kind of seeped away, replaced by other things such as work and career. In all, I had not thought of stepping onto the stage in close to 20 years.

How did Clelia Sheppard and her mom save my life? After meeting that first day, they somehow talked me into taking on a few roles in their Eastern Shore epic A Piece of Eden. By bringing me back into the fold of the theater, they woke up something that even I had forgotten how much I loved. In the years since then, I have had the pleasure to work with and learn from Clelia, but also meet some of my most wonderful friends (Dianne, Susan, Michael, Don, Mary Ann, Sherri, Keith, Amy, and the beautiful David Glowacki). I wish I could say my story is unique, but it is not. In fact, once you get to know Ms. Sheppard and her entire family, you will realize that it’s really quite common. [Read more…]

Limited Tickets on Sale for Havana Nights Benefit at Oyster Farm at Kings Creek

Help celebrate and support the arts at the Benefit by the Bay, Arts Enter’s annual fundraiser.  “Havana Nights” will be held Saturday, May 30, at the Oyster Farm at Kings Creek. Dinner, dancing, champagne, raffle and auction. $100 limited tickets. [Read more…]

EXTRA: Arts Maven Clelia Sheppard Bids Adieu

Clelia Sheppard has announced her resignation as

After 18 years of dedicated service to the arts in Cape Charles, Clelia Sheppard has announced her resignation as Executive Director and Artistic Director of Arts Enter, the organization she founded.

March 4, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: To our great surprise, yesterday we received the letter below from Clelia Sheppard, whose name is synonymous with the arts scene in Cape Charles and, by extension, the entire lower Eastern Shore. Ms. Sheppard is resigning as director of Arts Enter, but promises that she will remain a board member “ad infinitum.” Here is her eloquent and breathtaking letter:

DEAR COMMUNITY MEMBERS, 

As I step down from my role as Executive Director and Artistic Director of Arts Enter Cape Charles, I have a question. I want to know—what inspires you? An Eastern Shore sunset? A work of art that grabs you and won’t let go? Perhaps it’s seeing your child perform on stage for the first time, or hearing the right chord just when you need it most.

When I first stepped inside the Historic Palace Theatre, with her worn seats and dark, quiet stage, I found my calling. To bring this gem back to life. To shine a spotlight on the people of Cape Charles and the lower Eastern Shore. To share my love of the arts. And to test my own limits and abilities: it was a personal challenge. [Read more…]

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Arts Grant Funds Cultural Enhancement on Eastern Shore

Wren Masters

Wren Masters

The Commission for the Arts has awarded the Northampton County Education Foundation a grant to help support an upcoming concert benefiting the Foundation’s work in Northampton County Public Schools.

According to Crosby Johnson, Chairman of the Board of Directors, “This is the first in a series of cultural enhancement and high quality arts opportunities the Foundation will be sponsoring here on the Shore.  All proceeds will support scholarships, teacher grants, and special event activities in Northampton County Public Schools. Twenty-five tickets will be distributed to students involved with music programs at all four Northampton schools.” [Read more…]

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Danceable Drama Is Not Your Father’s Christmas Carol

By WAYNE CREED

December 8, 2014

In Cape Charles, Christmas is our best of times, and this season, Arts Enter and the Palace Theatre are excited to bring you their unique interpretation of the Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol: An Original Danceable Drama.” Rather than just blowing dust off the pages, and trotting old Ebenezer out in a nightgown once again, we wanted to re-examine the story, not just relative to a mosaic of other literary work, but as a play between the elements of speech, music, and dance.

This sounds like a daunting task, but working with the brilliant Amy Watkins makes it so much easier. Her original choreography pushes our dancers’ movement and form in space, shape, time and energy. For Amy, it is the art of movement, using the language of ballet, contemporary dance, jazz, hip hop, folk dance, GaGa, and even pedestrian movement, all fused together in a spiritual, emotional, and even non-literal textual context to create a vivid and intense narrative that invokes dance’s grandest ghosts of the past and present, Martha Graham and Twyla Tharp.

We are also blessed to have a supremely talented costume designer (who can lift a great deal of stress off of the directors), Vera Miller, who uses fabric to create the characters and fill the stage with texture and color. For period pieces, such as “A Christmas Carol,” she is marvelous in her ability to plot color, changing social status or period through the visual design of garments and accessories. This may sound simple, but it requires a unique knowledge of not just fabric and pattern development, but also an in-depth education in the history of textiles and fashion. [Read more…]

ESO’s 24th Nutcracker Dedicated to the Roll Family

Walt and Jeanne Roll

Jeanne and Walt Roll

Chris Roll

Chris Roll

By DONNA BOZZA

December 8, 2014

For many, their introduction to Eastern Shore Own Arts Center starts with a young daughter mesmerized by the Center’s annual performance of the Nutcracker ballet. With an “I wanna be a ballerina” proclamation, it’s off to ESO. It was much the same for parents Jeanne and Walt Roll and their daughter Erin. But their involvement with ESO morphed into an amazing two decades of selfless donation of time and talents that soon included their son Chris. Their mark is most evident during the months of intensive preparation for the Nutcracker and the reason this year’s 24th production is dedicated to the Rolls.

“Between creating elaborate costumes and props and producing countless videos and photographs, the Rolls have been instrumental in making the ballet happen for 20 years,” said Dana Floyd-Sutter, ESO Dance School Director. It would not be hard to dub the Rolls the First Family of ESO. Their dedication has greatly enabled the non-profit to keep the Nutcracker going year after year.

“Nutcracker is so important to the students,” said Floyd-Sutter. “It’s exciting for them to be part of the tradition and it builds their confidence. It is a great vehicle for team building — I see how it teaches them to love and support each other. It certainly makes them better dancers.” [Read more…]

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REVIEW
Anti-Western, Texas Plays Kick Off Theater Season

Christy Iverson, Mellisa Stein and Sherri DeMarino on a hot Texas porch in "Laundry & Bourbon." (Photo: Chris Roll)

Christy Iverson, Mellisa Stein and Sherri DeMarino on a hot Texas porch in “Laundry & Bourbon.”
(Photo: Chris Roll)

By WAYNE CREED

December 1, 2014

In the early 1960s, novelist Larry McMurtry studied writing as a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. In that same class was Ken Kesey, Peter S. Beagle, Robert Stone, and Gordon Lish. While Kesey was taking his trip across America (with his band of Merry Pranksters) in a day-glo-painted school bus, McMurtry returned to Texas to begin creating the desolate, anti-western motif found in his novels. The adaptation of his novel Horseman, Pass By into the film Hud, directed by Martin Ritt and starring Patricia Neal, Paul Newman, and Melvyn Douglas, sealed his reputation. McMurtry’s anti-western motif reached its apex with Peter Bogdonovich’s adaptation of his novel The Last Picture Show, starring Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, and the debut of Cybil Shepherd (whom McMurtry described as a beautiful scoop of vanilla ice cream).

Last week, the Palace Theatre brought to the stage a giant swig of that same anti-western, north-Texas motif with the production of James McClure’s set of one act plays Lone Star and Laundry and Bourbon (together, also known as 1959 Pink Thunderbird). Laundry and Bourbon and Lone Star are set in the small, rural town of Maynard, Texas. Mclure’s scripts for both shows cling to McMurtry’s recurring themes of discontent, distorted memory, and the ultimate acceptance of your life, one way or another.

Laundry and Bourbon, deftly directed by Clelia Sheppard, takes place in the back yard of Elizabeth (played by Christy Iverson). Her AC is broken, and as it’s way too hot on her front porch, she retreats to the back where she does her very best to avoid a basketful of laundry that is ready for folding. She has a lot on her mind since her husband Roy, a restless Vietnam veteran, has been missing for two days, out somewhere in his beloved 1959 pink Thunderbird. Soon enough her closest friend Hattie (Mellisa Stein) arrives to shoot the breeze, as well as some bourbon, a refuge and respite from her three challenging children. [Read more…]

Mary Miller, David Handschur Closing Eastville Gallery

Mary Miller and David Handschur in their Eastville gallery. (Photo: Artisan Guild)

Mary Miller and David Handschur in their Eastville gallery. (Photo: Artisan Guild)

By DONNA BOZZA

December 1, 2014 

After decades as nationally known designers, Mary Miller and David Handschur, artisans and owners of the Gallery At Eastville, are retiring. “It’s been wonderful running a business, and working as artists on the Shore,” said David. The pair are founding members of the Artisans Guild of the Eastern Shore, and frequent exhibitors at national venues like the Smithsonian. With their experience, they have been happy to mentor new Guild artisans. “We’ve helped with setting up businesses, finding reliable suppliers and markets, even showed how to photograph art work,” said Mary.

Renowned Shore Folk Artist MAMA Girl is one of their favorite stories. After buying one of Mary Onley’s first works at a street fair in Cape Charles, they helped her believe she had a bright future as a folk artist. “We just put a little wind in her sails, the rest is her story,” Mary says. [Read more…]

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