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More than 100 events planned for inaugural Central PA Theatre and Dance Festival

Kathy Swartz as character Tes talks to puppet Jack during a performance of Punky's Steam Works on July 6, 2017 at the Schlow Centre Region Library.  Puppet shows for adults and kids are part of the inaugural Central PA Dance Festival.
Kathy Swartz as character Tes talks to puppet Jack during a performance of Punky's Steam Works on July 6, 2017 at the Schlow Centre Region Library. Puppet shows for adults and kids are part of the inaugural Central PA Dance Festival. adrey@centredaily.com

Here’s to a weekend of living vicariously through other, more talented people.

And let’s be honest, you could do worse than the lineup of talent that will perform in different locations across State College for the Central PA Theatre and Dance Festival. Sponsored by Tempest Productions — a professional theater company in Bellefonte — the event will unfold across Friday, Saturday and Sunday, allowing people to encounter different facets of the arts all in one place.

Under the “dance” portion of the menu you’ll find groups like Nittany Ballet, Black Cat Belly Dance and Centre Dance. Ivyside Dance Ensemble — a student company out of Penn State Altoona — will present three pieces on Friday at The State Theatre examining the possibility of finding humor in dance.

Also at The State Theatre on Friday, the Central PA Dance Workshop will perform a rendition of “Peter and the Wolf.” Jill Brighton is the director of both CPADW and the production, which features a cast ranging from ages 6 to 16. She hopes that parents with young children will come to the show.

"It's kids performing for kids," Brighton said.

Centre County’s thespians will also be well represented. Actors from Singing Onstage, a musical theater training program in State College, will belt out a few numbers from “The Wizard of Oz” on Friday at Schlow Centre Region Library. The team from Happy Valley Improv will perform some not-suitable-for-work comedy Saturday night in the attic of The State Theatre, while the “Hunchback of Notre Dame” will visit Schwab Auditorium throughout the weekend courtesy of Fuse Productions.

"Fuse Productions is thrilled to be part of the first annual theater and dance fest and especially pleased to present the area premiere of 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' as the anchor for the festival," Richard Biever, Fuse's producing artistic director, said. "We hope that 'Hunchback' helps draw attention to the many other events taking place."

Readings from the material submitted to the festival’s one-act and short play competition will also be held throughout the weekend. If you get enough drama at home, maybe check out one of the open mic poetry sessions that will be held at Webster’s Bookstore and Café.

Perhaps you’re having trouble envisioning your 6-year-old sitting through an entire poem? Try “A Puppet Talent Show with Adam Swartz Puppets” on Saturday afternoon in Sidney Friedman Park.

Swartz will also be using the festival as a platform to debut "Beer and Puppets," a workshop geared toward adults.

"We're looking forward to providing an opportunity for grown-ups to be creative. We're hopeful that as the festival picks up steam more theater companies will get involved and share their talents and both local and regional audiences will come and enjoy what a broader spectrum of Pennsylvania artists have to offer," Swartz said.

History will also get its due. On Friday, The Elders of Centre County will give a historical tour of Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza and the paver stones inscribed with historically significant dates, like the arrival of the first black student at Penn Student.

For a complete schedule of events visit centralpatheatre.com.

Downtown venues to check out

Art Alliance Gallery Downtown

The Central Pa. Dance Workshop

Penn State Downtown Theatre Center

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza

Movement Arts Studio

Outdoor performance space, 333 S. Patterson

Schlow Centre Region Library

Schwab Auditorium

Sidney Friedman Park

Singing Onstage

State College Municipal Building

The State Theatre

Webster’s Bookstore Cafe

Woskob Family Gallery

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