Sunday’s arts feature: Community High School shares spotlight with Roanoke’s alternative artists and performers
CORRECTION 1/24: The capacity of the June M. McBroom Theater is about 150 seats. This was incorrect in Sunday’s story; the online version has been updated to fix the error.
The Greek chorus couldn’t stop giggling as its members stood in a line and attempted to perform the can-can.
After the first attempt, Community High School drama teacher Les Epstein hops onto the stage and shows his students how it’s done. They’re rehearsing in the private school’s new 150-seat June M. McBroom Theater for a performance of Aristophanes’ ancient comedy “The Frogs” that will take place during the upcoming Roanoke Marginal Arts Festival.
Since the school reopened in its new location at 302 Campbell Ave. in October, groups such as No Shame Theatre and Big Lick Conspiracy have performed in its new space, and avant-garde company Gamut Theatre has made it its permanent home.
The school also opened an art gallery, Liminal: Alternative Art Space, which has held exhibitions that have included works by Ingrid Moldenhauer Chase and Susan Jamison, and readings that have mixed students together with the likes of children’s book author Amanda Cockrell.
Liminal not only participates in Roanoke’s Art by Night monthly gallery tour, but its director, Community High School art teacher Brian Counihan, asks his students to go to the other participating galleries and write reports on what they find there.
In other words, Community High’s new venues have instantly turned it into an important player in the downtown Roanoke art scene.