When Marci Melton (then a ballet instructor with the Penticton School of Dance) was struggling to program lights in the Cleland Community Theatre along with John Clarke, the theatre technical advisor, for a ballet recital, they had no idea their frustrations would create something wonderful.
Frustrated by the lack of equipment available for programming due to the absence of a budget for any theatre improvements, fund raising seemed the only hope to raise enough money to obtain the necessary upgrades. So, as many great things are spawned over a good cup of coffee, the idea of putting on shows to raise funds for theatre improvements transpired between them.
Ron Philpott, Operations Supervisor with the City of Penticton Parks, Recreation and Culture Department, was approached. The goals were to showcase local talent and to generate funds to upgrade the Cleland Community Theatre. Thus, the first production was planned for Christmas 1990, and Soundstage came into existence.
The partnership and collaborative relationship forged between Soundstage and the City of Penticton was then a vital and supportive one, to the benefit of the entire community. Many local teachers, business men, artists, performers, students, tradesmen and arts groups have shared their time, skills, and talents for this worthy cause. Their vision allowed the seed to grow.
Some volunteers became the core of what Soundstage is today. From the start Lynne Leydier, a soprano and voice teacher in the community, contributed her talents as music director and performer in Soundstage’s early programs. Over time, and with the retirement of Marci, she eventually added the role of producer to her directorial duties steering the concept organization into higher levels of music theatre goals.
Allowed to expand on their talents, and skills, Lynne and other professionals within the community challenged any preconceived barriers in production. This creatively charged group came to the fore with a solid commitment and hard work, enabling the growth in span and scope of the productions from year to year.