Thrive stages renovation at Geauga Theater


Photo courtesy of: Jim Boardwine

Thrive has expanded its program from the SHS stage into Geauga County.

Musical theatre, live music, and classic movies are on the bill at the Geauga Theatre in Chardon, Thrive’s latest project and now, its new home.

Thrive director Jim Boardwine said the group got the place after the previous occupants left and the city was looking for someone to take over it. This was a good opportunity for Thrive, he said, since the group had been looking for a new performance venue for a couple of years now.

Boardwine said this theater is giving Thrive the opportunity to really establish itself as a professional performing arts group.

“It’s definitely giving us the opportunity to present ourselves as our own organization, not just the theatre within the school,…” agreed senior Faith White, who has performed in numerous Thrive productions. 

“People get a misconception that Thrive is the school, like a school club when it’s not,” White continued. “It’s supposed to be a community theatre, but we don’t present that way because we do utilize the school the most.”

Sophomore Conner Sutton, another member of Thrive, said, “They want a place where they can be themselves instead of having to be held to what only the high school allows…”

The group plans on involving more entertainment at the new venue aside from actual shows performed by Thrive.  Plans include the theatre serving as a revival house with themed movies timed with special occasions and events such as Black History Month.

Thrive is also looking to expand upon its already multigenerational cast, seeing as the group is meant to be more of a community theatre, featuring performers of varying ages and backgrounds.

Sutton has performed with the group since he was in middle school and said Thrive will allow him to further his acting career.,.

“I want to be an actor, so I feel like once the theatre comes out, it’s just gonna help it more,” Sutton said. “It’s just gonna progress it more. It’s just gonna be more of an inspiration for a lot of other people to get involved.”

Thrive will continue to have the Streetsboro community involved, but is now including people from Chardon as well. Thrive has already been trying to involve the community of Chardon for months now, Boardwine said, inserting itself into the community in a variety of ways.

In the midst of renovating, the group continues to perform. On March 20, its annual spring variety show, “Art Knows No Boundaries,” streamed virtually and featured performers from both Streetsboro, Chardon and throughout neighboring counties.

While planning for productions in the new theatre, the group is still trying to finish repairs and obtain licences. The group still needs its liquor license and ASCAP license, a license to be able to entertain customers with music. 

Depending on COVID, Thrive is tentatively planning to  have its grand opening on September 10 of this year in the Geauga Theatre. 

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