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Fresno Soap Co.: A New Venue & So Much More

IN THE August 2 ISSUE

FROM THE 2014 Articles,
andArts & Entertainment,
andLorie Lewis Ham,
andTheatre
SECTIONS

by Lorie Lewis Ham

Recently KRL had the chance to chat with R.S. Scott, one of the founders of Fresno Soap Co., a new venue and non-profit dedicated to the arts. Fresno Soap Co. is a non-profit branch of Jump Right In Productions.

KRL: What is Fresno Soap Co.?

RS: Fresno Soap Co. is a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to support the arts and celebrate our diverse community and cultures. We are more than a venue, we want to be a place where artists, whatever their passion, can pursue and cultivate their work.

KRL: Who all is involved with Fresno Soap Co.?

RS: The community! Our Board of Directors represent the many facets of our community. The primary goal is to have an educational based program that benefits everyone. Our team is made up of teachers, business professionals, and artists.

KRL: How, when and why did it come to be?

RS: For the past few years, the Broken Leg Stage had become a great venue for artists to perform original work and experimental theater. We were disappointed to learn that the venue was closing its doors. We realized the negative impact this would have on independent companies here in Fresno, so we began working on a way to keep the doors open. We spoke with many of our colleagues and realized that not only was there a need for an affordable venue, but an additional need for an organization to help provide support, education and networking capabilities to our local artists. Taking a page from our own production company’s philosophy, we jumped right in, and began forming partnerships, adding educational, and outreach programs creating a united network (a one-stop shop) for artists. April of this year Fresno Soap Co. (FSC) was created.

theatre

The top view render of the facility layout once completed.

KRL: Why are you personally involved and what is your position?

RS: As a true fan of the arts and local artists myself, I can’t think of a better way to spend my time (besides writing) than helping support the aspiring writers, actors, photographers, directors, film and everything in-between here in Fresno. I am the Co-Founder and Executive Director.

KRL: Why do you feel that Fresno Soap will be important to the local theatre community?

RS: Fresno Soap Co. is a place where local theater and performance arts groups can call home. A place where they can work and produce their shows in a professional environment without worrying about their pocket book.

KRL: What all are you involved in and/or plan to be?

RS: We are excited about the partnerships we have formed and are continuing to form. Starting in August, we will be an official venue for the Fresno Art Hop. We are currently a hosting venue for Fresno Jazz Hop. We are the home venue for Curtain 5, The New Ensemble {tne}, Jump Right In Productions, Blimprov Comedy Troupe, and Central Valley Comedy Theater. We will also be offering workshops in storyboarding, animation, comics, drawing, conceptual design, as well as two separate improv workshops given by Nick Haas of Blimprov, and Sabrina Pratt of Central Valley Comedy Theater. We will also be the new home to Flamenco Lucero, dance classes consisting of Flamenco workouts, beginning Flamenco, a performance class, as well as Zumba given by Gloria Verdugo. Through our Advisory Board we are creating effective internships for students. We are also proud to be in a great partnership with C.E.N.O. (Cancer Excludes No One) with providing a venue and sponsoring programs for cancer awareness through performing arts.

KRL: What are the plans for the rest of the year?

RS: Our goals are to finish the renovations on our facility. We are adding a new modular 50 seat black box theater, a coffee bar workshop lounge/performance space as well as a new rehearsal space and front lobby.

theatre

Rendering of the new black box theater once completed.

KRL: And your goals for the future?

RS: We want to provide support needed for local artists and provide a home for the independent theater companies and performance artists to showcase their seasons. We will continue to work with the community, schools, and universities to give effective outreach programs centered around the arts as well as programs for homeschooled children and at risk youth.

theatre

Rendering of the coffee bar lounge

KRL: How is it connected to Jump Right In?

RS: Fresno Soap Co. is a non-profit branch of Jump Right In Productions (JRI), however it operates completely independent of JRI.

KRL: What does Jump Right In have coming up the rest of this year?

RS: Jump Right In is producing “All in the Timing” opening August 1; as well as two upcoming original works: “Jazz Man” by Art Cano, and “91” by myself, R.S. Scott.

KRL: Where are you located?

RS: Fresno Soap Co. is located at 1470 N. Van Ness located one block south of McKinley in the Tower District.

KRL: What can you tell us about the space itself?

RS: “Every Day Better” is our daily slogan. We are excited about taking place in our space. Once the renovations have been completed we will have over 2600 sq. ft. of space, including a rehearsal space, sound and editing studio, black box theater, coffee bar/performance lounge and front lobby for the aspiring and professional artists alike to work in.

theatre

Rendering of the view from the new lounge to the front of the space

KRL: Where can we find you online?

RS: We can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FresnoSoapCo; Twitter @fresnosoapco, Instagram @fresnosoapco; and www.fresnosoapco.com

KRL: Anything else you would like to add?

RS: We are very excited for our upcoming productions! Curtain 5 will be performing: Ben Minus Jake opening September 26 and Ashes opening November 7, both original works written by local playwright Andrew Champaign. The New Ensemble {tne} will be performing Gideon’s Knot opening October 24.

Check out more local arts and entertainment articles in KRL’s A & E section.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and an enthusiastic contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.

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