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06 Jun 2019

Shows for the Community: Encore Wants to Present Affordable Theater With a Message

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A scene from Encore's recent production of Falling. A scene from Encore's recent production of Falling.

There’s a new entry in the Coachella Valley theater scene: Meet the Encore Theatre District.

Encore began in February 2017, when artistic director Tiffanie Patscheck and her son, Jeremiah Rhoads, took the first steps toward making their dream—presenting financially accessible theater with a message—into reality. The nonprofit company’s first production was a staged reading of Lydia, in September 2017. Written by Octavio Solis, it explores the experience of a Mexican-American family living on the Texas-Mexico border and trying to live their own version of the American dream. Patscheck says the play perfectly fit the company’s mission statement, which is “integrating diversity through the performing arts and inspiring the surrounding community.”

Encore just closed its second, 2018-2019 season with Falling, the story of a family struggling to raise their autistic son. The company partnered up with the Coachella Valley Autism Society of America, and Patscheck says the partnership helped the company set the proper tone for Falling—which earned rave reviews.

Social relevance is a key element in the plays Encore chooses to do, Patscheck says. She and her son have so far shared the directing duties. Encore is always looking for interesting plays—as well as a musical they could sink their teeth into, provided the company finds the proper sponsor.

“We don’t want to do what everyone else is doing,” Patscheck says.

Because of Encore’s community focus and the ample amount of talent in the Coachella Valley, Encore only casts local actors.

“There’s no need to look elsewhere!” she says.

Encore has been presenting its shows at the Black Box at Palm Springs High School, but Patscheck says she hopes the company can find a permanent home in the future. Like most local theater companies, Encore relies heavily on donations to stay up and running, and to keep ticket prices low ($20 in advance, and $25 at the door).

Patscheck, who began performing when she was 5 years old, says audiences for Encore’s productions have been enthusiastic, but small, and she’d love to see more public support.

Encore’s 2019-2020 season is slated to include an all-female series of one acts; an “avant-garde, minimalist” version of Alice in Wonderland; and 14, a piece regarding 14 immigrants who died in Yuma, Ariz. Patscheck said Encore is planning individual auditions for each show rather than season auditions.

“We embrace odd, funny, sometimes uncomfortable productions in a minimalistic way,” Patscheck says. “Our directors and actors create the illusion for the audience, and we hope to continue to bring the whole community into our silly little world.”

To find out more about Encore Theatre Company, visit www.facebook.com/encoretheatredistrict.

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