San Juan Community Theatre gives back with free festival | Guest Column

By Nathan Kessler-Jeffrey

Executive Artistic Director, San Juan Community Theatre

This year San Juan Community Theatre has set aside July 20 and 21 to give back to the community and visitors during the 2018 Summer Festival. Throughout the year, SJCT receives wide support from volunteers, members and donors, businesses, the Town of Friday Harbor, and San Juan County. And the truth is SJCT needs all that support to offer the wide range of shows, classes, musical acts, films, workshops and arts opportunities that fill up the calendar year-round.

The SJCT expresses gratitude and appreciation in many ways, from thank you letters and members-only events, to prizes and ticket discounts. While individual appreciation is great, we wanted to take time this year to thank Friday Harbor and San Juan Island as a whole. So, with the help of some generous sponsors, SJCT’s 2018 Summer Festival is free to the public and looks a bit like this:

Friday, July 20: Parents’ night out

Drop the kids off after dinner at the theater — between 5:30 and 6 p.m. — for a night of theater games, dance and a fun musical film. Take the evening for yourselves, enjoy dinner or dessert at one of Friday Harbor’s restaurants, maybe take a relaxing stroll on the water! Kids ages 3-12 are welcome and will be ready for pickup at 9 p.m.

Saturday, July 21: SJCT Open House, lawn barbecue and show tunes sing-along

Open house, 1-5 p.m.: See behind the curtain at SJCT. Drop in any time for refreshments, theater tours, and fun workshops led by our amazing staff. The whole family is welcome!

Dinner on the lawn, 5-7 p.m.: We’re cooking hot dogs and hamburgers with all the fixings (veggie options are also available) on the front lawn of the theater. When you’re done with dinner, stroll into the theater to see the best video clips from our recent SJCT productions!

Show tunes sing-along, 7 p.m.: Josh Broland leads us in songs from your favorite musicals, including some of our more recent hits like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Chicago.” Everyone sounds good in a group!

Here’s a quick insider tip: Saturday’s theater tours will be led by different members of the staff focusing on different aspects of what we do. Try taking the tour more than once for a full view of everything that goes into making our year-round theater one of the cultural centers of the island!

Special thanks to San Juan Community Theatre’s Summer Festival Sponsors: Frank and Chance Earle, Robert and Rebecca Pohlad, Roger and Claudia Salquist, Gary and Susan Sterner and George and Susan Swindells

Kessler-Jeffrey is a new island resident since joining San Juan Community Theatre as the executive artistic director in January. He and his wife Courtney love their new island life and their miniature Goldendoodle puppy, River. If we’re lucky, River may make an appearance at the summer festival!