Category Archives: Cultural

Pursued by a Bear, in Skippack

Tomorrow is a special evening in Skippack. One of the times I look forward to most of all. Mrs. Skippack Blogger and I will leave the house, walk into town, and head to the Barn theater on Store Road, home of Playcrafters of Skippack. A peaceful evening walk thru a beautiful village, followed by great live theater. What a lifestyle.

This time, theater night in Skippack promises to be especially rewarding — a world premiere play, Pursued by a Bear by John O’Hara, a writer based in Skippack. I’ve met with the playwright, director and cast members — one of the pleasures of being the Skippack Blogger. Now it only remains to sit back and relax as this talented crew delivers the goods.

Tears, Laughter, and a Special Request

Pursued by a Bear poses a simple but powerful question. “If you knew you had only six months to live, what would you ask for from those closest to you?”

Director David Deratzian explains, “The main character in the play, Jack, must figure out what to do with regard to the future of his six year old daughter.” He turns to his friends for help, asking them to look after his daughter after he’s gone. The story of the play evolves from this request.

In the play Pursued by a Bear, Jack's friends react as they learn of his cancer diagnosis. From left to right: Ben Fried, Greg Kasander, Jerome Neville.

In the play Pursued by a Bear, Jack’s friends react as they learn of his cancer diagnosis. From left to right: Ben Fried, Greg Kasander, Jerome Neville.

Writer John O’Hara gives his play a feeling of reality, creating characters who make believable decisions, behave in authentic ways (not always nice but real), and find humor in the most challenging circumstances.

The unfolding drama explores both the joys and limits of friendship. One question posed — are these people, who’ve been friends for thirty years, really friends?”

Pursued by a Bear performed in the intimate setting of the Barn theater offers a very personal entertainment experience. Watching a dress rehearsal, I found myself drawn to the characters as their awareness of the meaning of events deepens. I got so caught up in the play that I left my notebook at the theater and had to walk back for it.

Faced with life's most difficult decisions, Jack turns to his friends. Will they provide the support he needs?

Faced with life’s most difficult decisions, Jack, played by Lenny Grossman, turns to his friends. Will they provide the support he needs?

The Right Place for this Premiere

It is fitting that Pursued by a Bear have its world premiere in Skippack. We are town that thrives on interpersonal relationships. Shop here a few times and shop owners will know you by name. The server who pours my coffee at breakfast knows me. Authenticity and warmth are our ace in the whole; what Skippack can offer you that you can’t get easily at Walmart or the King of Prussia Mall.

Human connection is the essence of small town life and the defining characteristic of Skippack. Men and women trying to get along, find happiness, and build meaningful relationships, in the face of their own mortality.

In such places, happiness Is found. In such places, great drama is written and produced.

For more information, visit Playcrafters of Skippack.

Midsummer Night's Magic, in Skippack

There’s a magical being in our beautiful village — the knavish sprite called Robin Goodfellow, otherwise known as Puck. There are others as well — Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth, and Mustardseed. And traveling in a different circle, you may meet Peter Quince, Nick Bottom, and Francis Flute. Please give them a warm welcome to town.

I am talking about the characters in William Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, currently in performance at Playcrafters of Skippack. I saw it last weekend and it is excellent. The brilliance of a Playcrafter’s cast and crew never ceases to astound and impress me. To cut to the chase: go see it.

Why We Need Puck and Co.

Why welcome Puck and his friends?

Mackenzie Moyer as Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream at Playcrafters of Skippack.

Mackenzie Moyer as Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Playcrafters of Skippack.

Midsummer Night’s Dream is filled with magic, enchantment, and lightheartedness – three elements sadly lacking in the world today. Without them, we live in a world of daily brutality reported on nightly news, rants on social media, endless SEPTA rides and endless hours in a corporate cubicle, and taxes and bills and other meaningless stuff.

The antidote is here, right in our village. We need the world of magic and enchantment depicted so beautifully in Midsummer Night’s Dream to make our real world bearable.

And Skippack needs to be sprinkled with magic dust now and again. We pride ourselves on being no ordinary suburban or exurban town, but instead a lively and, yes, enchanting village, with our own low-key and unobtrusive style. To maintain our identity, we need the magic of the theater in the heart of our village. We need to pay attention to productions like A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which honor the extraordinary, the fantastical, and the power of the human imagination.

A scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream at Playcrafters of Skippack.

A scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Playcrafters of Skippack.

To misquote Shakespeare, “banish Puck and you banish the world.”

Upcoming Performances

Thursday, July 28, at 8 pm
Fridays, July 22 & 29 at 8 pm
Saturdays, 23 & 30 at 8 pm
Sunday matinee July 24 at 3 pm.
Buy tickets online

Playcrafters of Skippack
2011 Store Road
610-584-4005

Paying the RENT, in Skippack

This post was written by Scott McMaster, a local actor who appears this season in RENT at Playcrafters of Skippack.

When you think of Skippack Village, you may not picture rundown buildings, rusty fire escapes, and shanty towns. However, all of these can be found at the heart of Skippack in Playcrafters’ production of RENT, opening Thursday, April 28 and continuing thru Saturday, May 14.

Set in the East Village of New York City in the 1990s, RENT explores the lives of a group of struggling artists who try to find love, friendship, and happiness during a time when poverty, homelessness, addiction, and AIDS shook the city.

Scott McMaster, local actor, while helping to create the set for RENT at Playcrafters of Skippack.

Scott McMaster, local actor, helping to create the set for RENT at Playcrafters of Skippack.

RENT may seem like an odd show to do in quaint Skippack. However Skippack, much like the East Village, has a bohemian culture of its own with musicians, artists, performers, and galleries on display during First Fridays.

I am an actor at Playcrafters of Skippack and frequent patron of Skippack businesses. When in the village, I meet people of different shapes, sizes, ages, colors, incomes, orientations, and cultures. Skippack audiences will enjoy the message of embracing diversity and friendship offered by RENT.

Roseann Enwright in RENT at Playcrafters of Skippack

Roseann Enwright in RENT at Playcrafters of Skippack

To quote one of my favorite lyrics from the show, “give in to love or live in fear.” I believe that Skippack lives up to this lyric by creating a community in which we celebrate our differences and create “connection in an isolating age,” to quote another lyric from the show. That is the true message of RENT. It is about celebrating love and triumph while embracing the fears that come with it. It is about owning emotion, not renting it.

The Tony award-winning musical of RENT is celebrating its 20th year. There is “no day but today” to get your tickets to see this show.

For more information, see Playcrafters of Skippack.

 

Spring is Here: 10 Things to Do in Skippack

Spring is always a special time in Skippack. It marks the beginning of our events season — several months of festivals, parades, car shows, First Fridays, and more. Our beautiful shops display their new inventory. Each shop has its own story, as well as beautiful new items for sale. The sidewalks begin again to be populated with locals and visitors. Tables are brought outside, people take their seats, and lively conversation begins. The village comes to life.

This season, a new restaurant has opened called Swirls & Nibbles, close by the Skippack Firehouse. I met the owners, Blair and Louella, eager and enthusiastic to begin serving customers and to join the community of local business owners in Skippack. I think this family-focused restaurant will be a great addition to Skippack.

I’ve started taking my Sunday walks again thru town. Look for ideas for writing blog posts. I find inspiration everywhere I turn. You will see my ideas in blog posts in weeks and months ahead. For now, here are my initial thoughts. A rough sketch if you will. A simple list of 10 things you can do in Skippack in early spring.

  1. Attend one of the wonderful in-store events at Floral & Hardy. Some of the great programs and events that will take place this spring include vertical vegetable gardening, introduction to landscape design, easter egg hunt, and a bonsai making workshop.
  2. Check out the spring fashions at Wooden Duck Shop, Skippack Hope Chest, and Accent on the Rocks.
  3. Get your hair highlighted or a new hairdo at Skippack Stylekrafters.
  4. Indulge in a spring makeover at Merle Norman Skippack.
  5. Rid yourself of winter aches and pains with healing massage from Simply Be Well.
  6. Subscribe to the the 2016 season at Playcrafters of Skippack, which starts with the ambitious Broadway classic Rent. It’s going to be another great season at Playcrafters.
  7. Turn your lawn into a spring paradise with beautiful hardscaping, plants, and waterfalls from Andrew Welsh Landscaping.
  8. Remove corrosive winter rock salt off your car with professional service from T-Bone Detailing.
  9. Start cafe life early: Sit at one of the outside tables at Euro Delights and enjoy something scrumptious.
  10. Take the kids out for an enjoyable family meal at Skippack Pizza or the new Swirls & Nibbles.

It’s spring. Time to rediscover Skippack.

A chick hatching at Pennsylvania Traditions, one of Skippack's fine shops. A sure sign spring is almost here.

A chick hatching at Pennsylvania Traditions, one of Skippack’s fine shops. A sure sign spring is almost here.

Living History in Skippack: Our Legacy Comes to Life

You say want a revolution? Well, come to Skippack and find out what a real revolution looks like — a hopeful revolution, when we were a young country and ran after freedom and liberty, when our freedom meant everything.

The Skippack Historical society holds its living history celebration, the Revolutionary Encampment in Skippack, on Saturday, September 24, and Sunday, Sept 25 (these are the dates for 2016). The hours:

  • Saturday — 10 am to 5 pm
  • Sunday — 11 am to 4 pm

The living history event is in honor of the encampment of George Washington and 10,000 Continental troops in the Skippack area in 1777.

Location

The living history event takes place at Evansburg Road and Skippack Pike, the location of the IndenHofen Farmstead, a property maintained by the Skippack Historical Society, across the street from the Skippack branch of the US Post Office (3801 Skippack Pike).

Continental Army Drills and Demonstrations

On Saturday, the 1st New Jersey Regiment will be marching, firing muskets, hanging out in their tents, and demonstrating campsite activities. On Sunday, the PA Rifle Regiment will join them.

Colonial-era Celebs

On Sunday, George Washington and Betsy Ross will make an appearance.

Colonial One Room School House

Skippack Living History On both Saturday and Sunday at 2:15 p.m, the one room school house opens its doors, with the charming but strict colonial schoolmarm Miss Hawkesworth ready to steal the show. Don’t miss this awesome lesson which touches on many aspects of history, education, and life. It takes place inside the barn.

Demonstrations

  • On both days: demonstrations on the work and life of an itinerant cooper, open hearth cooking, rug braiding, apple butter making, Indian artifacts,  colonial artifacts,  and old time corn shelling. 
  • On Saturday: colonial games for children and quilting.
  • On Sunday: basket making.

Tours

On both Saturday and Sunday, tours of the historic IndenHofen House, built around 1712, and barn.

Speakers

  • On Saturday at noon Mark Blystone will speak on Foraging for Supplies while at Valley Forge.
  • On Sunday, at  12:15 p.m., Doug Shupinsky will speak on Effects on Residents during the Revolutionary War.

Music

On Sunday, there will be a dulcimer concert. 

Multimedia

To get a taste of the action, watch this video:

First Fridays 2015: The Music is Awesome

The quality of music at First Fridays in Skippack is outstanding. Each month, visitors enjoy a first-class musical journey as they walk down Skippack Village’s Main Street, encountering sweet sounds from a diverse array of talented musical performers.

This amazing gathering of musical talent is largely thanks to Scott Nethery, who is a project manager in the automated identification and package logistics industry, bass player for the band The SuperNaturals, and the husband of Schang-Hai Gallerie owner Barbara Schang.

Finding Talent

Roberto de Matthaeis plays original compositons, both his own style of South American music and jazz.

Roberto de Matthaeis plays original compositons, both his own style of South American music and jazz.

I asked Scott how he found all these great musicians.

“Being a musician myself I already know a lot of talented people in the local area. But I’ve had great luck finding peformers at the some of the local open mics. For instance, this Friday’s headlining act is Mr. Fuzzy and The Barbarian, they run their own open mic at The American Barber Company in Collegeville. It’s half barber shop, half music hall; a very unique place.

“Other performers such Anthony Rotelle (pictured at the top of the page, a fine singer and songwriter from nearby Worcester) and Roberto de Matthaeis (who plays original compositions on guitar, keyboard, and percussion) I’ve found at DiVinci’s In Collegeville and The Whitpain Tavern’s open mics. Both places draw outstanding talents from the local area.”

Looking Ahead

Musician Chris Seasholtz will perform during First Friday in July as part of a live art and music event at the TL Roth Studio Gallery. Chris is shown here performing at the gallery, which features the artwork of Terry Roth.

Musician Chris Seasholtz will perform during First Friday in July as part of a live art and music event at the TL Roth Studio Gallery. Chris is shown here performing at the gallery, which features the artwork of Terry Roth.

This upcoming First Friday, July 3, the headliners will be Mr Fuzzy and The Barbarians, who play mix of Blue Grass and Country. Also on the bill is Kendal Conrad, a singer and songwriter who has performed with country star Keith Urban and at our fine community theater Playcrafters of Skippack. Roberto de Matthaeis performs original compositions, both his own style of South American music and jazz.

In addition, as part of First Friday, artist Terry Roth will be doing a live painting performance in conjunction with musician Chris Seasholtz playing live acoustic rock music. This special, live art and music event will take place at the TL Roth Studio Gallery at 4010 Skippack Pike. For information, call 571-331-0167.

Catherine Offner, owner and music educator at Catherine’s Music Studio will be the headliner for First Friday in August.

In the video below, check out the beautiful South American sounds of Roberto de Matthaeis AKA Just Beto, a new arrival on the Skippack First Friday scene.

Six Good Reasons to See The Glass Menagerie at Playcrafters of Skippack

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams opens at Playcrafters of Skippack, Thursday, May 28. Curtain time is 8 pm. Performances at 8 pm Friday and Saturday, May 29 and May 30.

The following weekend: performances at 8 pm Friday and Saturday, June 5 and 6. Matinee at 3 pm on Sunday, June 7. The final performances are 8 pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, June 11, 12, and 13.

Phone: 610-584-4005
Buy tickets online.

1) The Talent of a Playcrafters Cast

The Skippack Blogger sat in on a rehearsal of The Glass Menagerie at Playcrafters, the community theater in the heart of our village. Let’s make it plain: This cast is awesome. Come to Playcrafters and be amazed at the level of talent that waits for us at our doorstep. The personal strengths and flaws of each of the complex characters in this play are captured and held up to the light with dedication and loving care. Get ready for the emotional rollercoaster of live theater, powered by incredible talent.

“When you have such a small cast, there can’t be a weak link,” explains Carly Fried who plays the shy, physically handicapped Laura, “so everybody has to work extra hard.”

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Carly Fried, left, and Michele Loor Nicolay from the cast of The Glass Menagerie at Playcrafters of Skippack.

2) Poetry in Action

“The language is very poetic. Tennessee Williams is a great poet as well as a playwright,” explains Jeff Hunsicker, who plays Tom Wingfield, the restless son and brother.

“Getting your mouth around all these words and giving meaning to all this fantastic poetry is a challenge for the actors, but results in a beautiful experience for the audience.”

3) Still Meaningful Today

Michele Loor Nicolay plays the family matriarch, Amanda Wingfield, a woman from a prominent Southern family who has experienced economic and social decline but who remains determined to hold her family together and secure a future for her shy, troubled daughter Laura.

Michele comments on how her character and the situation depicted in the play, which was first produced in 1944, is still relevant today.

“Amanda Wingfield is a single mother who is struggling, economically and psychologically. That is the same situation of many women today.

“The Glass Menagerie is a timeless play. So many themes are explored: For example, realizing your own ambitions instead of sacrificing for your family; the inability to escape one’s past; and the power of memory. These are timeless themes,” says Michele.

Troy Cooper plays Jim O’Conner, Tom’s acquaintance and co-worker, who visits the Wingfield family for dinner.

“If you look at modern theater now, a lot of shows popular today will look dated and trite in ten years. But ten years from today, The Glass Menagerie will still be current and relevant,” says Troy.

“The family dynamics depicted in the play, the way we deal with each other in the privacy of our homes, whether for good, bad, or indifferent, have been the same for centuries and will be the same tomorrow.”

4) The Director is Awesome

The Skippack Blogger first worked with director Kevin Robert Binder during last year’s production of the musical Hair at Playcrafters of Skippack. When I take on the task of writing a Playcrafters blog post, I sometimes tip toe into the Barn Theater feeling like an uninvited guest at a cocktail party. Kevin does everything possible to help out. He makes me feel welcome at rehearsal. He introduces me to the cast and explains to them my role as a community blogger. He is understanding and supportive. Perhaps this explains why he gets actors to deliver such outstanding performances.

When Kevin directs a show at Playcrafters, he gives it 100%. This includes long hours of research and in-depth work with the cast at rehearsals. For The Glass Menagerie, Kevin promises an ending that differs from standard interpretations of this classic of the American Theater.

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The cast of The Glass Menagerie in Skippack Village. From left to right, Michele Loor Nicolay, Jeff Hunsicker, Carly Fried, and Troy Cooper.

5) Skippack Pride

Nice restaurants and quaint shops alone do not make a great town. Culture and creativity are essential ingredients for raising our quality of life in Skippack. Playcrafters staged its first production in Skippack in 1957; that’s 58 years of helping build a culturally-viable community. It is an educational resource for our young people and should be a source of pride.

6) Great Value

The cost of a ticket to a play at Playcrafters is $17 (tickets to a musical cost $20) plus a nominal fee for online purchases. Parking is free. The already-reasonable cost decreases if you get a season subscription, as Mr. and Mrs. Skippack Blogger have done each year since we moved to Skippack. Considering the level of performance consistently delivered by a Playcrafters cast, this is an incredible value. Visit the village for dinner beforehand or drinks and maybe dancing at the Hotel Fiesole after the actors take their final bow. That is a formula for a great Skippack evening. Classic American theater in a classic American town.

The 2015 Theater Season in Skippack: Expect Playcrafters to be Awesome

Playcrafters of Skippack, the community theater in the heart of our village, is exceptional. The actors, directors, and production people, all of whom volunteer their time and remarkable talents, refuse to take the easy way out. Instead of relying on the same time-tested productions revisited year after year at most community theaters (think My Fair Lady or Fiddler on the Roof), Skippack’s theatrical team crosses boundaries, presents meaningful ideas, takes risks, and explores new territory.

Each year, Playcrafters exceeds expectations, presenting a fresh season of productions that are diverse, thought-provoking, and entertaining; a mix of comedy and drama. This year, Playcrafters will present two musicals, one in the summer and one in the fall. The quality of production and performance is consistently excellent. You do not want to miss the 2015 season.

Playcrafters of Skippack barn theater is located on 2011 Store Road.

Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike

Opening night: April 23, Thursday
Closing performance: May 9, Saturday

A Tony-award winning comedy about the relationships of three middle-aged single siblings, two of whom, Vonya and Sonia, live together. The events takes place during a visit by the third sibling, Masha, recently divorced, who supports them. The siblings discuss their lives and loves, argue, and Masha threatens to sell the house. The action takes place in contemporary Bucks County. Written by Christopher Durang, the play is a humorous adaptation of classic themes.

More information

last year at Playcrafters, Bishon Prushankin delivered a great performance as Abigail Williams in Arthur Miller's The Crucible. In 2015, theater goers will be able to see her perform in a comedy, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, the first show of the 2015 season at Playcrafters of Skippack.

Last year at Playcrafters, Bishon Prushankin delivered a great performance as Abigail Williams in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. In 2015, theater goers will see her perform in a comedy, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, the first show of the 2015 season at Playcrafters of Skippack.

The Glass Menagerie

Opening night: May 28, Thursday
Final Performance: June 13, Saturday

Set  in St. Louis in 1937, The Glass Menagerie explores the memories of Tom Wingfield, a character representative of the playwright Tennessee Williams. Tom is an aspiring poet who toils in a shoe warehouse to support his mother, Amanda, and sister, Laura. Each member of the family struggles with the hardships of poverty and isolation, and seeks escape from reality into their own deceptions, fantasies, and illusions. Tom is torn between his love for his sister and his desire to create his own destiny.

More information

Last year, David Deratzian appeared in Incorruptible at Playcrafters of Skippack and directed the play Clybourne Park. in 2015, David will direct the Rocky Horror Show. This photo shows David visiting one of our Best of Skippack shops, New Wave Comics and Collectibles.

Last year, David Deratzian appeared in Incorruptible at Playcrafters of Skippack and directed the play Clybourne Park. in 2015, David will direct the Rocky Horror Show, the final show of the season. This photo shows David visiting one of our Best of Skippack shops, New Wave Comics and Collectibles.

A Little Murder Never Hurt Anybody

Opening night: July 9, Thursday
Final performance: July 25, Saturday

It’s New Year’s Eve at the Perry mansion, and Julia and Matthew Perry seem to have it all. But Matthew wants something more; to be rid of his wife Julia so he can have some real fun. He resolves to murder Julia by the new year’s end, and tells her so. She vows to stay alive, and tells him so. And so the game begins — a hilarious year-long match of wits and the witless. Written by Ron Bernas.

More information

Scott McMaster Playcrafters of Skippack

Scott McMaster is shown here in his role as Woof, a member of the tribe in the musical Hair from the 2014 Playcrafters season. Scott also performed the lead role in Dark of the Moon. This year, Scott will perform in Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, the opening play of the 2015 season.

Little Shop of Horrors

Opening night: August 13, Thursday
Final performance: August 29, Saturday

A comedy horror rock musical, by composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman. Nebbish florist Seymour is in love with his beautiful co-worker Audrey. When he discovers a mysterious plant he is catapulted from zero to hero — til he discovers the plant’s true blood thirsty motivations. The music in the style of early 1960s rock and roll, doo-wop, and early Motown. Horror, comedy, and music combine for great entertainment.

More information

The Woman in Black

Opening night: September 17, Thursday
Final performance: October 3, Saturday

The Woman in Black, adapted by Stephen Mallatratt from the novel by Susan Hill, is a creative work of theater that utilizes language, setting, and technical elements to obtain the impact of a Gothic horror story. Set in a Victoria era theater, the two-man play follows Arthur Kipps, a middle aged lawyer who, seeking to come to terms with a traumatic event in his past, hires an actor to perform a manuscript. Young Kipps (played by the actor) travels to a mysterious mansion on a marsh in the North of England where he encounters numerous characters (all played by Older Kipps) and the terrifying Woman in Black, who may or may not be real.

More information

Rocky Horror Show

Opening night: October 30, Friday
Final performance: November 14, Saturday

When their car breaks down on a deserted street, Brad and Janet, a wholesome couple, take refuge in a castle on the hill. There they are welcomed by a cross-dressing mad scientist named Frank N. Furter (“just a sweet transvestite from transexual Transylvania”), his creepy servants, Riff-Raff and Magenta, and various others. Brad and Janet arrive just in time for a party celebrating the creation of Frank N. Furter’s monster, a blond bodybuilder named Rocky. Then one of the party is killed and possibly served for dinner. Brad and Janet will be guests for the night. What next? Let’s do the time warp again.

More information

In Case You Missed It: Video Highlights from Last Year at Playcrafters

Shot during rehearsal of The Crucible at Playcrafters of Skippack in 2014, this video shows the awakening of Abigail Williams, a puritan girl in Salem, Massachusetts, who discovers how to manipulate the self-seeking and hypocritical adults in her community. Abigail Williams is played by Bishon Prushankin, who will appear in the 2015 Playcrafters season. Also in the video, Gillian Williams as Betty Parris, a puritan girl overcome with a strange illness.

In 2014, Playcrafters of Skippack staged Hair, the landmark rock musical of 1960s youth rebellion. This video clip, shot during a rehearsal, shows how the actors captured not only the joyful abandon of free-spirited hippies, but also the frustration and resentment of parents whose values were being attacked, even as they were footing the bill. With Stephen Barszowski Jr. as Claude, a leader of the tribe of hippies, and Suzanne Rainear and Matthew Mitlas as his mom and dad.

Skippack Fine Arts Scene: Filled with Creative Energy and Growing

You can find significant opportunities to appreciate, collect, and learn about fine art in Skippack. This is largely thanks to the work of individual artists and gallery owners who make Skippack their creative home.

The fine arts community in Skippack has never received the attention it deserves, but its contribution is essential to the outstanding quality of life we enjoy and the unique experience we offer to visitors. Our art scene is small but filled with creative energy and growing.

Barbara Schang at Schang-Hai Gallery

Barbara Schang, owner of Schang-Hai Gallery

Barbara Schang, owner of Schang-Hai Gallery

A conversation with Barbara Schang cannot help but fascinate anyone who appreciates the role art plays in creating a meaningful personal life as well as a strong community. Barbara is the owner of Schang-Hai Gallery in the Village of Creamery, a part of Skippack Township within a short drive of Skippack Village, and an advocate for local artists.

In addition to being a Skippack business owner, Barbara is a local resident, active in the local community and schools, and a musician with a formal music education who teaches and performs at local venues and events such as First Friday. In her conversation, she strikes a perfect balance between appreciation for the abstract concepts of art and creativity and awareness of the practical demands of day-to-day life.

Work by local artists on display at Schang-Hai Gallery

Work by local artists on display at Schang-Hai Gallery

“I display the works of local artists in my gallery,” explains Barbara as she proudly points to a wall dedicated to local artists. 

“I also collect discarded materials from customers who have left artwork here, such as frame, glass, and mats, and no longer want them. I keep them for any local artist who needs framing in a hurry, for an upcoming show or any reason.”

Schang-Hai Gallery, which has been serving the local community for 21 years, also shows work by artists from throughout the United States, provides custom framing services, and maintains a small, high-quality gift shop.

“Skippack is an oasis for culture, beauty, and charm,” says Barbara, “the arts are a big part of that. Much of the surrounding area is rural and conservative. Skippack is like a flower in the desert. Our community elevates fine art and culture, all the good things in life.”

More about Schang Hai Gallery

Schang-Hai Gallery is located at 4136 Creamery Road in Skippack. The telephone number is 610-454-0504: Get more information.

Nicole Dubrow at Black Sheep Pottery

Nicole Dubrow, master ceramist, instructor, and small business owner at Black Sheep Pottery in Skippack Village

Nicole Dubrow, master ceramist, instructor, and small business owner at Black Sheep Pottery in Skippack Village

Ceramic art is one of the oldest art forms in human history. It began with the use of clay to create functional objects like bowls and jugs, and expanded to encompass decorative pieces and, eventually, fine art.

Skippack has a lot to offer the world in terms of ceramic art, largely thanks to the work of one amazing woman, Nicole Dubrow, master ceramist, instructor, and small business owner at Black Sheep Pottery in Skippack Village.

Ceramic art on display at Black Sheep Pottery in Skippack

Ceramic art on display at Black Sheep Pottery in Skippack

Thanks to Nicole, Skippack Village will soon boast of a new gallery dedicated to ceramic art. The new Gallery at Black Sheep Pottery will open March 30 with an exhibition of vessels used in ikebana, Japanese Flower Arranging. In addition to works by Nicole, the exhibit will feature works by master potter Brian Croney and ikebana teacher and artist Grazynka Shaarani, On Saturday, April 11 there will be an artist reception from 3 pm to 7 pm.

The new gallery is one of many recent milestones reached at Black Sheep Pottery. For example:

Student achievement: Three young ceramic students from Black Sheep Pottery, Haidyn DiPaolo, Olivia Carton, Rachael Dubrow (Nicole’s daughter), have been selected to participate in the 18th K-12 National Ceramic Exhibition, which will be on public view March 25 to 28 in Providence, Rhode Island. They join a group of 150 young artists nationwide who are being considered for National Merit awards and scholarships.
Recognition: Nicole will be recognized for excellence in teaching ceramics at the national convention of the National Council of Education in Ceramic Arts, this March in Providence.
Community Contribution: Nicole also created beautiful plates and other tableware for the new Mainland Inn, which is now open for business in Harleysville with a focus on organic and locally sourced foods.

More about Black Sheep Pottery

Black Sheep Pottery offers create-your-own and paint-your-own pottery; classes in pottery wheel, sculpture, tile, jewelry, and glass; creative birthday parties; after school programs, open studio; full-semester courses; events for the community, wonderful gifts including custom orders, and more. Summer Pottery Camp is now open for registration. Visit anytime. Walk-ins welcome.

Black Sheep Pottery is located at 4038 Skippack Pike, phone 610-584-5877. Get more information.

Terry Roth at TL Roth Studio Gallery

Artist Terry Roth, owner of the TL Roth Studio Gallery in Skippack

Artist Terry Roth, owner of the TL Roth Studio Gallery in Skippack

Most recently, the art scene in Skippack has gotten a jolt from Terry Roth, the high-energy resident artist and owner of TL Roth Studio Gallery, a new, contemporary art gallery located in Green Wolf’s Village Barn in Skippack Village.

Terry grew up in Bucks County and recently moved back to Harleysville, Pennsylvania after living 40 years in the Washington, DC area.

Artwork by Terry Roth on display at the TL Roth Studio Gallery

Artwork by Terry Roth on display at the TL Roth Studio Gallery

His work has been shown in various venues throughout the DC metropolitan area and appears in private collections throughout the country. He chose Skippack for the location of his new gallery.

“Offering fine art to the public, particularly if it is created on the store premises, is a great benefit to Skippack Village,” says Terry. “It brings a higher level of art to a community generally known for resale of craft items, and it is also attractive to a more affluent clientele.”

The TL Roth Studio Gallery is now showing a series of new acrylic works on canvas. They are bold with rich texture and a brilliant variety of color.

More about the TL Roth Studio Gallery

If the gallery does not have artwork to that fits your needs, artist Terry Roth welcomes custom commission work; any size available, from 24 X 36 inches to 6 X 6 feet. He offers framing options for all work sold and will deliver and hang your new art for you.

The TL Roth Studio Gallery is located inside Green Wolf’s Village Barn Shops at 4010 Skippack Pike. Call 571-331-0167. Get more information.

Playcrafters Opening: Incorruptible

Currently at Playcrafters of Skippack: Incorruptible, a comedy by playwright Michael Hollinger about corrupt monks during the dark ages. The play runs thru October 11 at the Barn Theater off of Store Road in Skippack.

Dry Bones Turn into a Cash Cow

At the heart of this sophisticated play are the bones of a holy saint. In a French abbey, the bones of Saint Foy are displayed on the altar. They are relics, a part of a deceased holy person’s body believed to have healing powers. Unfortunately, these bones have not helped create any miracles in more than a decade. Pilgrims are no longer willing to pay even a penny to pray at the alter of Saint Foy.

The monks of Saint Foy, desperate to survive and continue their mission, must find a way to make money to continue their holy work of feeding and clothing the poor. A visiting minstrel suggests an enterprising way to survive and prosper – dig up bodies from their cemetery, and sell the bones of ordinary men and women as the remains of saints.

Laughter and Timeless Questions

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Can faith remain incorruptible in a material world? For certain, we can have fun finding out.

The play is a comedy that asks timeless questions: Do the ends justify the means? How well do our faith and ideals hold up when challenged by poverty and the struggle to survive? What is the value of faith if faith alone is not enough to address challenges we face? Incorruptible provokes both laughter and thought, and makes for a delightful evening of theater.

Director Arnie Finkel, the actors, and the production team have taken on a challenging work, much spicier than the fare you will find at most community theaters. In so doing, they help make Skippack a more interesting and intelligent village. The barn theater is itself a delight, intimate and visually pleasing, with not a bad seat in the house. For tickets, click here.