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THEATER BLOSSOMS IN FILLMORE

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Rorque Wood and Tracie Mecham fell in love while acting in theatrical plays during their early college years in St. George. Both had a second intensive love . . . that of the theater.

Little did they know at that time that they would be so instrumental into bringing theater, with its acting opportunities and entertainment, to such prominence in rural Millard County.In less than four years, they became theatrical anchors in the Pahvant Valley Theater.

The new name was chosen to replace that of the Fillmore Community Theater and was organized by Rorque and Tracie Wood. "Its acceptance and popularity has been received with such great enthusiasm that it has spread throughout the county," Tracie Wood said in explaining why the name was changed.

Productions of the Fillmore Community Theater generally featured actors from only the east side of the Pahvant Valley but now it has spread from east to west, as indicated in the casting of the latest theatrical event. Sarah Henke of Delta and Scott Tarbot of Fillmore were chosen for the leads in "The Diary of Anne Frank."

Fillmore was selected for the Cultural Enrichment Award at the Rural Utah Awards program in Cedar City. Fillmore Mayor Keith Gillins said the honor was largely because of the success of the theater.

When the Woods came to Fillmore in 1992, "the interest was here," Rourke, an LDS seminary teacher, said. "We were excited and since then it has just kept getting bigger and better.

"I volunteered to teach a drama class at Millard High School in January of 1993, invited by a teacher who didn't have drama experience," Tracie Wood recalled. "I found students really needed something to get motivated, and theater just might be it."

That's when the Woods established what they called "A Night of Theatre."

"We invited people of the community to be in it and students in drama classes to perform pieces from a scene from a movie," Tra-cie said. "After that, the kids came out of their shells and performed on stage. Adults too, so we organized the theater."

Rourke they were disappointed when it appeared that a new $1 million auditorium at Millard High was not being utilized to its fullest potential. "School officials have been cooperative," he said.

He said the couple also concluded that most of the emphases in the schools was on athletics when they came to Fillmore. "We don't object to athletics, but we wanted to also see more theater opportunities. Now anyone can audition and get the chance to perform on stage."

The theater's first major Broadway production was "Arsenic and Old Lace," followed the next year by "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers."

"I was taking tickets and people were lined up," she recalled. "I felt this was wonderful. The success was so great that the house was over-filled on the closing night."

The Woods are reluctant to take all of the credit, however, and are emphatic that theater in Millard County couldn't have been so successful without the enthusiasm and support of others. Tracie Wood calls them "pioneers in the endeavor."

Officers selected for the newly renamed Pahvant Valley Theater include B.J. Moore, president; Tafta Watson, president; Debbie Lichfield, secretary; and Rorque Wood, Treasurer. Tracie Wood is executive director.