When describing his appetite for theater, Alexander Dumas paraphrased the Spanish playwright Lope de Vega by saying “All I want is four trestles, two [planks], two actors, and a passion,” invoking the tradition of fourteenth century troubadours who would lay boards over their wagons to create their stages. All they needed to present great theater were two planks and a passion to bring their stories to life. At Two Planks Theater Company, we strive to follow in this tradition to create entertaining and enjoyable performances for theatergoers across Connecticut… and we would love for you to join us. Contact us to find out how you can get involved and help TPTC grow.
Our History… and Future
Long before Two Planks Theater Company (TPTC), a pair of young thespians, David and Susan Halliwell, teamed up to offer intensive, summer theater workshops to young actors and musicians on Pleasure Beach in Bridgeport. In the years that followed they were joined by choreographer Judy Abbatiello, and the program relocated to the University of Bridgeport.
But every year, no matter where they moved, a majority of their students seemed to come from the town of Monroe, and in 1998 they were invited to bring their program into the Monore Public Schools’ Arts & Imagination Program, where it thrived for the next decade and a half.
During that time, Brooke Burling relocated to Monroe from Hollywood, CA, and brought his erstwhile set designing skills to the talent pool. Then in early 2012, the group was approached by the Town of Monroe to develop a year-round regional, professional theater company out of the (then) soon-to-be empty Chalk Hill School. The theater was to be the anchor tenant of what was to become a multi-use community center. Burling drew on his nonprofit management background to spearhead the project, and TPTC was set to usher in the redevelopment of the Chalk Hill property starting January 2013… until tragedy struck in neighboring Newtown, and the Chalk Hill School was reallocated as the temporary home for the children of Sandy Hook Elementary.
However, true to its name, Two Planks continued to follow its passion to bring exciting live theater to Monroe and its surrounding communities. After performing one last show out of the Monroe School District, TPTC expanded its horizons in 2014 and for the first time ever brought live theater outdoors to the town’s Wolfe Park… including not only a student Summer Workshop production, but also Two Planks’ return to regional theater with its first Main Stage production. Later that fall, TPTC found a new, temporary home and a wonderful host at the United Methodist Church of Monroe (UMC) and launched its inaugural full season of shows in 2014-15.
In the coming years, Rob Primorac joined the operational team, bringing his background in lighting and sound design to the table. The company continues to perform and grow, continuing its three-show Main Stage season UMC and adding a junior summer production to its summer lineup outdoors at Wolfe Park, to bring its yearly calendar of shows up to six.
Stay tuned for details on all this and more, and we invite you to join us in our adventure to grow our organization and continue to bring exciting regional theater to southwestern Connecticut.