An old laundromat on 318 S. Water St. is now a space for Aligning Stars Theatre to hold events and shows — although those will happen virtually until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
Director and founder DeeDee Bouzek told the Hub that moving into a new building has solidified the theatre’s place in the community as a space for performers to feel comfortable and express themselves. But for now, Aligning Stars is working virtually, and streaming shows, the next “Killer Party” is available starting Friday, March 5, though Sunday, March 7.
Aligning Stars moved into the Water Street building in June 2020. The theatre has been doing renovations since then, including “gutting” out the laundromat, building an additional restroom and replacing the flooring, Bouzek said. Before occupying the building, the theatre would rent out and use spaces around the community, like Stoughton Center for the Arts, Bouzek said.
“It’s nice to have somewhere that is a consistent place where the actor and students can come and really feel like it’s their own space,” Bouzek said. “They’re putting themselves out there acting and to make that space as comfortable as possible.”
Bouzek created the Aligning Stars Theatre as a way for teens from Stoughton, McFarland, and other communities to come together as friends and artists, she said.
The community aspect is what Kristen Nett, a Stoughton High School graduate and longtime actress at the theatre, said she believes is the most important to the students and young adults who act there. The theatre has been a place for so many kids to call home, regardless of who they are, Nett added.
“Our director does a great job of accepting everyone regardless of interests, race, gender, sexual orientation,” she said. “It’s going to be great for the City of Stoughton and to open the community’s eyes to differences and art and theatre.”
Eventually, Bouzek hopes the space can be used for young actors and students to hang out, rehearse and put on shows, like “Little Shop of Horrors,” which was canceled last year. But for now, the theatre is trying to find ways to make art and bring actors together, both in-person and virtually.
Nett said the past year has been difficult for artists to find opportunities to be creative because of COVID-19. Despite this, she added that the theatre has been trying to find virtual opportunities to continue making shows.
In October, Aligning Stars held a Halloween Cabaret show. Some of the theatre’s current actors and alum came together to record a song of their choice, and then Bouzek stitched their parts together to create a virtual show. It’s a similar style to Aligning Stars’ upcoming show “A Killer Party: A Murder Mystery Musical.” The musicalwas written by Broadway professionals and is intended to be produced and viewed virtually.
The actors recorded their scenes at home, and only went into the theatre to record some musical numbers, Nett said. It was challenging to act out a scene without seeing the other person, Nett said, but she is looking forward to seeing how people receive the show.
For Bouzek, she always just “wants to give the artists in my world a chance to do something,” she said.