Donna Chalmers can look back and clearly see the “tremendous value” of Fifth Row Center’s community theater productions in South Hall and North Gwinnett.
It’s the future that concerns the 501(c)(3) nonprofit’s founder and artistic director. The organization that has been providing entertainment for eight years is in search of a home for its rehearsals and performances.
Following almost two years at the Buford Community Center, most recently, Fifth Row Center could no longer afford the venue. Chalmers said she’s unsure whether to hang on or end the group’s strong run.
“We want to keep going. We want to get stronger and enrich this community even more,” Chalmers said. “But without the resources, our hands are tied.”
Chalmers said some churches are thinking about letting the group use their sanctuaries. Fifth Row Center most recently performed at The Crossing Church in Buford and has also done some events at Sterling on the Lake.
Chalmers said the Cherokee Bluffs Amphitheater in South Hall is hopefully an option for some performances, though “we will be at the mercy of the weather.” The ideal long-term solution, according to Chalmers, is a community building that several arts groups could use for a reasonable fee. That would provide a consistent location.
The artistic director said she hopes some people in the community will step up and say they want a quality community theater and to ask what that would take.
“That would give us a tremendous amount of hope,” Chalmers said.
Chalmers said Fifth Row Center’s “multi-generational” community theater provides training and development for its many participants and has drawn standing-room-only crowds in the past.
Fifth Row Center had to cancel its Christmas production this year because of the uncertainty over the availability of rehearsal and performance space.
Among the theater group’s performances through the years are “Little Women,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe” and “A Christmas Carol.”
Fifth Row Center’s acting class will be performing “Charlotte’s Web” at 11 a.m. Saturday on the grounds of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, A Smithgall Woodland Legacy, in Gainesville.