When Live Paint founder Cindy Arnold held her first open-theater workshop on the Hilltop last weekend, she knew she’d chosen the right place for a creative homebase. The informal session not only attracted college students, performers, writers and artists who showed up to talk about their projects and trade feedback, but, “A man who came in, said he was retiring and had always thought about taking up acting.” It was the kind of neighborhood response Arnold was looking for as she undertakes a Spaceworks residency at 1314 Martin Luther King, Jr., Way.
Starting Feb. 25, Live Paint will offer theater workshops for adults every Sat., 1-3pm, free of charge. Arnold promises a relaxed environment for actors wanting to read for an audience or to perform improv, dancers looking to bounce around ideas, and writers seeking feedback on scripts in progress. As for the soon-to-retire planning engineer who expressed a desire to take the stage, he received information on how to produce and perform a monologue. “We are very committed to it being free,” says Arnold.
Live Space’s founder has combined her twin passions of acting and education (“Everyone in my family is a teacher”) for about 15 years. Following a teaching stint in New York City she traveled to Southeast Asia to explore the emerging field of multiculturalism; working with children in Vietnam and Thailand, “I saw similarities in the human experience.” Teaching, acting, music and travel inform her work in the theater.
“It’s a big step to have a performance space,” she says, and a place “to connect with the community.” Live Paint occupies a building recently vacated by Toy Boat Theatre – a local acting group led by Marilyn Bennett who completely transformed the large property on MLK Way from dead commercial space into a vibrant theater house that successfully staged numerous plays and readings. Arnold, who has organized events at the Tacoma Public Library and will be participating in a live event at KBTC studios in April, is planning a variety of family-friendly activities for the Spaceworks space including a Winter Festival event on Mar. 10, “fairy classes” the week of April 23, and a Spring Festival in May (exact times and dates to be announced). “It’s really an organic experience,” she says of the programming. Live Paint, 1314 Martin Luther King, Way, 253-756-2169.