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Roanoke has a new act to check out, with Theatre 3 now open to the public. In regards to the unusual name, Creative Director Ami Trowell says three has always been a lucky number for her. When coming up with the name of her theatre, she wanted to express her connection between her family and the larger Roanoke community. As a full-time single mom of three daughters, Trowell wanted to honor them in some way. Thus, Theatre 3 was born.
Trowell’s team will focus on connecting communities, leadership and innovation. While she’s keeping an open mind about how the theatre will be utilized, she sees many opportunities for it to be a “mechanism for connection and empowerment” through improvisation, spoken word, music and new works.
She hopes it will be a location where both audience and players can be inspired, find their voice and feel connected to their community.
While in college, Trowell met influential people who taught her theatre is not just for entertainment, but also has the ability to teach and empower.
“That’s when I really started forming my current vision of theatre as a vehicle for social change and social justice,” she says. “With comedy I think we have the opportunity to approach difficult topics and present them in a way that is palatable enough for people to keep an open mind.”
Trowell is also part of the improvisational troupe Big Lick Conspiracy. She was also a regular on the TV show “Tuned Out” and has worked extensively on stage and behind the scenes with Mill Mountain Theatre, Off the Rails, VWCC theatre and the Roanoke Children’s Theatre.
Improv workshops take place the first Saturday of every month and Trowell will continue teaching these classes. She’s inspired by improvisation and believes it’s made her not only a better and more creative performer, but a more confident and open-minded person. “I believe sharing that creative expression is good for the soul. I want to bring more good into the world, more love, more compassion, more imagination.”
Theatre 3 is located in Roanoke’s historic Dumas Center for Artistic & Cultural Development. If you don’t know your local history, the Dumas was once a hotel and social hub for black Roanoke during the days of segregation. Several jazz greats, including Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Nat King Cole, played at the Dumas.
“The Dumas provides the perfect geographic location for connecting all of Roanoke’s communities,” says Trowell. “I hope that Theatre 3 will highlight some of Roanoke’s under-resourced and under-represented communities. Our focus is on presenting works that represent a diverse set of perspectives, highlighting the artistic expression of frequently marginalized populations.”
Interested in taking improv classes or want to learn more about Theatre 3? Visit actnow3.com.