Can a Community Theater Go Professional?

As NextStop celebrates 30 years of theatre in Herndon, David Siegel interviewed NextStop’s Producing Artistic Director, Evan Hoffmann, about the history of Elden Street Players and NextStop for DC Metro Theater Arts. Read the entire article here.

David writes: “With NextStop Theatre Company celebrating its 30th anniversary, I chatted with Evan Hoffmann, NextStop’s producing artistic director, to learn about the company’s journey.

Founded in 1988 as the community theatre company the Elden Street Players, the Herndon-based troupe had a vision of being a unique kind of community theatre: one with a focus on bold artistic choices. For 25 years, the Elden Street Players were an artistic force in the DC area’s large community theatre community. The Players received many WATCH Awards for community theatre excellence and had an admiring audience base.

The theatre troupe also had an invaluable physical venue available for its use. It was a repurposed, once-industrial warehouse space the company named “The Industrial Strength Theatre.”

In 2013, the Elden Street founders and Board of Directors decided to move into the professional ranks. The theatre soon became a member of theatreWashington, the organization responsible for the annual Helen Hayes Awards, among other activities. Evan Hoffmann was hired as the producing artistic director for the newly rebranded NextStop Theatre.

Why “NextStop” for the new name? The name connected the company’s future achievements as a “next stop” on the journey that began three decades earlier as The Elden Street Players.

David Siegel: Why did you and the Elden Street Board decide to re-establish a community theater to become a professional theater company?

Evan Hoffmann: As the Elden Street Players began to approach their 25th anniversary season, a discussion began about what the future of the company was going to look like. Having personally been involved with the company for nearly 20 of those years, I wanted to see the company grow and accomplish even bigger and better things.

After working in the DC theatre community for nearly 10 years, I felt confident that western Fairfax County and eastern Loudoun County represented the perfect location for professional theater to expand in our community. With such a wide range of wonderful professional theater in the community, it made no sense to me why the Dulles Corridor wasn’t represented.”

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