By Julie Winsel

Cottage Theatre exemplifies what it means to be a community theatre. Run primarily by volunteers, they produce shows all year and host kids’ summer camps (that have to be expanded each year because of the demand) with support and participation from the community.

In August, a new spotlight will be shone on Cottage Theatre as they host the world premiere of Treehouse, by playwright Joe Musso, as part of the American Association of Community Theatre’s (AACT) 2018 NewPlayFest. Cottage Theatre is one of only six theatres nationwide selected this year to host one of these productions.

Susan Goes, Cottage Theatre Executive Director, filled us in on the theatre and play selection processes. Cottage Theatre was chosen through a thorough application process and must be able to fulfill a certain set of guidelines (such as proving nonprofit status and present at least three performances of the work).

Once the theatres are selected, the play selection process begins. Scripts were submitted to AACT and reviewed by AACT’s team. Goes said that the play can’t be previously performed as part of a full production or published in any form. Theatres then select which plays they want to produce. Dramatic Publishing Company then publishes all plays produced in an anthology, with the producing theatre’s name always attached as the premiering theatre both in the anthology and attached to the script any time a theatre produces the play in the future.

Treehouse was Cottage Theatre’s first pick and Goes is excited they get to produce it.  It follows only six characters, with teenager Johnny at the helm. Johnny, 17, is convinced (or at least trying to convince others) that he is actually a 53-year-old man trapped in a teenager’s body.

This coming of age story, with some adult themes, follows Johnny, his friends, and his mother through the process of dealing with what life throws at us.

Through the whole process, Cottage Theatre was able to work with the playwright, Joe Musso and he will actually be attending the performances in August.

Save the date and support an amazing local theatre!

Treehouse | Thursday-Sunday, August 10-26 | Times vary | Cottage Theatre, 700 Village Drive, Cottage Grove | $15-$25 |