SummerFest, the annual summer outdoor theater event, will be moving to MoonDance at Midnight Pass amphitheater in the Beaumont Circle for its next string of productions in 2014. Since 2007, the event was held at the UK Arboretum.
In the previous years, SummerFest crews would have to assemble a raised stage for the summer run, and then a different set for each production. MoonDance comes furnished with a covered half-shell stage, and will give the staff one less weather-related variable to negotiate and more energy and resources to focus on the stage set.
“We’ve been looking for awhile to raise the production values of our shows, and it’s very difficult when you’re building from scratch in the middle of a field,” executive director Wesley Nelson said. “We had been saying for quite awhile, ‘If we only had an outdoor facility, that would be fantastic.’ We’ve been saying that for years.”
After last summer’s production of “Peter Pan” had poor ticket sales due to rainy weather, a SummerFest sound designer mentioned MoonDance as a possible new location for productions. Nelson had never been to the new facility, which was constructed in 2010 by developer Andy Haymaker.
“I went out there to look at the space, and as soon as I started walking around the space, I saw the potential immediately,” Nelson said.
Along with the permanent stage, the MoonDance facility also comes equipped with a designed seating arrangement, and Nelson said SummerFest will still offer blanket and chair general admission seating. Though, because MoonDance only has a seating capacity near 1,000, Nelson said organizers may have to deal with sold-out shows.