Twice a week, actors from the Hill Country Theater don fairy wings and tights while spouting Shakespearean prose as they parade through painted sets of ancient Athens and woodlands on the Lehman High School theater stage.
Thus is the setting of the newly formed community theater’s rehearsals for its first performance, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, by William Shakespeare.
Doug DeGirolamo, president and founder of the group, has been passionate about theater most of his life, starting about the time he was in middle school. He received a bachelor’s degree in theater from DeSales University in Pennsylvania, and was later an artistic director at a theater in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
DeGirolamo, now a Kyle resident, was tired of traveling to Austin and San Antonio to see live theater, so he decided to see if there was any interest in starting a theater community in Hays County.
“I said to myself, ‘I can’t be the only one that feels that way.’ We should really have more theater here,” DeGirolamo said.
He made fliers, passed them out, booked a room at the Kyle Library, and waited to see what would happen.
“We had a couple of people come, and word just sort of spread like wildfire after that. It became less of a question of if we could do it, but more of when,” DeGirolamo said. “There’re a lot of people in Kyle, San Marcos, and Buda who want a community theater, a place where they can go and be creative and see good shows.”
After thorough discussion, the group overwhelmingly voted to put on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” a favorite for live theater.
The production now has a cast of a little more than 20 people who rehearse twice a week at Lehman High School.
The theater group also has a slew of volunteers who are helping with marketing, costume design, set design, lighting, selling concessions and tickets at the box office, and more.
“We’ve got a lot of people in the community who are just looking for a creative outlet,” DeGirolamo said. “There’s people of all ages too, it’s really great the range of all people who are interested in this.”
Marissa Meek, a director of the theater program at Lehman, has also volunteered her time for the community production as a director for the show.
There is plenty to be done before the show hits the stage, and DeGirolamo has his work cut out for him. He is helping with marketing the show, getting the website and social media pages up and running, as well as filing paperwork with the state to get the theater group’s nonprofit status.
As president of the Hill Country Theater, DeGirolamo unfortunately will not be performing in the group’s first show, but hopes to participate in others in the future.
“I really hope it brings a lot of excitement for live theater to this area. A lot of people really love going into Austin to see shows but they don’t have to do that every weekend. I want to bring something here to them. Something that shows people they know, like their neighbor,” DeGirolamo said.
DeGirolamo wants to make Hill Country Theater “a place where (people) can see how creative their community can be and a chance to learn to participate in something new.”
Once the production is done, DeGirolamo wants to put on a children’s theater program and put on another show sometime in the winter.
The dates for the shows are July 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. and July 29 at 2 p.m. August 3 and 4 at 7 p.m. and August 5 at 2 p.m.
All performances will be at Lehman High School in Kyle, and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Lehman High School Drama department as a show of gratitude for lending its theater for the summer.