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WITHOUT-FEAR-Rehearsal 4
West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Apr. 9, 2015 5 years ago

Winter Garden resident opens curtain on Without Fear theater company

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by: Amy Quesinberry Community Editor

WITHOUT-FEAR-Rehearsal 1 MAIN CHAR

Amanda Scheirer named her new theater company after an experience she had while studying for her master’s degree at Trinity College, in Dublin, Ireland, five years ago. While in Europe, she toured the Jameson Distillery and learned the Jameson family motto was the Latin phrase “Sine Metu,” which translates to “Without Fear.”

“At that time in my life, it really stuck with me,” she said. “I was living in a new city, a new country and about to undertake the most intense course of study I had ever faced. I thought: ‘Without Fear,’ that will be me.”

This new venture has been a her dream for many years, but she was faced with what she called “doubt-filled thoughts. What if I fail? What if we never get off the ground? What if I can’t handle it?

“I thought back to ‘Without Fear,’ and it only seemed natural that it should be the name of my theater company.”

Scheirer, a Winter Garden resident, founded the business in October, and she is hard at work on her first production, an original play she wrote called “How to Say ‘I Love You’ in …”

“This play has been a true labor of love,” Scheirer said. “I started writing it in 2010, and while all my writing is personal to me and rooted in my experiences, this piece in particular holds my heart and may be why it took me so long to finish. The process of bringing it to the stage began last fall when I held a table read and started an Indiegogo campaign to raise the initial production capital.”

Her goal is to have a theater company that produces new works, fosters new artists, promotes collaboration over competition and compensates artists for their work.

“We are specifically focused on producing new works that inspire, empower and celebrate women around the world,” she said.

Female playwrights are outnumbered in the industry, and she hopes her new company can give those writers a voice.

The theater company is based in Winter Garden, and Scheirer’s parents, who live in Winter Garden, are also involved. Her mother, Michelle Scheirer, is the business manager, and her father, Robert Scheirer, is the director of development. A close friend and fellow artist, Amy Rosvally, is the production manager and marketing specialist. Several of the actors she works with live in West Orange County, as well: Zach Gunier in Winter Garden and Tim Barr and John Devennie in Dr. Phillips.

THEATRICAL BACKGROUND

Scheirer’s love of theater started in the third grade when she went on a field trip to see “A Christmas Carol” in her hometown of Allentown, Pennsylvania.

“I remember looking at my dad, who was a chaperone, and saying, ‘I want to do that,” she said.

So she did, performing all through school and majoring in theater performance in college. While a senior at American University, she took her first playwriting class, and that is where her course changed.

“Writing became my true passion, and when I knew I wanted to continue my education, that is what my focus became,” she said.

She is a teaching artist, Devised Theatre scholar and professional playwright whose play “Getting to Know You” was commissioned by The Focus Theatre in Dublin for its 2013 season.

Scheirer holds a bachelor’s degree in theater from American University and a master’s degree in philosophy in theatre and performance with a focus on playwriting from Trinity College Dublin. She has spent time studying and writing in Italy and the Czech Republic, and in Pennsylvania, she was an educator working for Lehigh Carbon Community College’s adjunct theater faculty, as well as the leading force in the Civic Theatre’s education and outreach initiatives.

She moved to Florida about a year ago.

DEBUT SHOW

Without Fear Theatre’s first show is “How to Say ‘I Love You’ in …” George has been the unattainable love of Nessa’s life for as long as she can remember. Now, in her mid-20s and haunted by dreams of their would-be, fairy-tale bliss, Nessa decides to find George and proclaim her love for him. This play invites the audience to travel with Nessa and her best friend, Sami, to search for George and find out what happens when fate steps in.

There are seven people in the cast: Marisa Nieves Hemphill is the main character, Nessa; Meghan Mitchell is her best friend, Sami; and Tim Barr is taking on the role of George. Other characters in the play are Aaron the Barman, played by Nicholas McCartney; Dan, played by John Devennie; Greta, played by Lauren Ashleigh Morrison; and Ansel, played by Zach Gunier.

Although Scheirer’s premiere production as a company is taking place in downtown Orlando, she is actively seeking long-term performance space in Winter Garden.

And she will keep writing.

“Something I have learned and felt empowered to do throughout my education and professional experiences is that, if the theatre you want to see isn’t being made, go and make it,” Scheirer said. “That is what I intend to do with Without Fear Theatre.”

Contact Amy Quesinberry Rhode at [email protected].

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