Angela and Wes Meitner of Great Bend believe they have some big shoes to fill as the new managers of Great Bend Community Theatre.
Sally O’Connor was both manager and artistic director of GBCT for four years (“and employed for almost a year before becoming ‘official,’” she said), but retired from the job at the end of the 2013-2014 season. In addition to appointing the Meitners as theater manager, the GBCT board of directors named KB Bell of Great Bend is the new artistic director.
Angela Meitner is no stranger to the stage at the Crest Theater, where GBCT shows are produced. Her first show there was as part of the cast of “Our Town” in 1992. She and Wes moved to Wichita in 1998, but returned to Great Bend in 2004. Wes started getting involved in GBCT set construction because of Angela.
Both remember going to the Crest in high school when it was still a movie theater.
Angela is also employed in occupational therapy at Pawnee Valley Community Hospital in Larned, and Wes is self-employed in construction with Meitner’s Fence & Deck in Great Bend.
As theater managers, the Meitners are responsible for theater rentals and production of GBCT shows — including tickets, programs, posters and newsletters. The Crest Theater, located at 1904 Lakin Ave., is used for a lot more than plays, Angela noted. Recent programs were the Great Bend Jazz Festival and the Camp Hope talent show.
“We have a wedding this summer,” she said. This month the Great Bend City Band is performing summer concerts there as well.
“I was very relieved when Angela and Wes Meitner expressed an interest in taking over as managers for Great Bend Community Theatre,” O’Connor said. “Angela has had an interest in theater since she was in high school and has been involved in community theater off and on since then, so I knew she would be great. And Wes has his knowledge of construction and business so I knew he would be good with the building. Together I expect them to be great!
“I’m also pleased that KB Bell has been chosen as artistic director because there is not another person in the community who knows more about or is more dedicated to GBCT than KB,” O’Connor continued. “He has exhibited great love of theatre over the years and I believe he will do fine work.”
O’Connor said she enjoyed her sojourn as manager/artistic director. “It’s a challenge I was glad to accept and I found it very rewarding. I am grateful for all the support from the community as well as the theatre board and volunteers. It was an exciting time in my life and I expect I will be back volunteering as director, designer, whatever is needed, sometime in the future. Right now I’m looking forward to being an avid patron. The 2014-15 season has been planned and should be entertaining for all.”
Season tickets are $25 and are available now, Angela Meitner said. (Buying early assures a seat and provides working capital for play production.) The season will feature “Beer for Breakfast” by Sean Grennan, Nov. 20-23; “2 Across” by Jerry Mayer, Feb. 19-22, 2015; and “The Dixie Swim Club” by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, April 23-26, 2015. For more information, call 792-GBCT (792-4228).