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Sandy Journal

Sandy Arts Guild begins 2017 season with British comedy

Feb 22, 2017 11:19AM ● By Bryan Scott

Set Designer Dwight Western sits amongst his creation. (Keyra Kristoffersen/City Journals)

By Keyra Kristoffersen| [email protected]
The Sandy Arts Guild, along with the Sandy Amphitheater summer concert series, has long been known for putting on elaborate shows and involving the community.
“It’s been a real cooperative effort between Sandy City and the Canyons School District to get a home,” said Karla Marsden, the company producer.
The guild uses the shared space at The Theater at newly remodeled Mount Jordan Middle School next to Jordan Commons.
“For years, for Christmas, I asked my husband for a fly-system (for the theater), and now we finally have one,” Marsden said.
The 2017 season begins with the guild’s winter show of “See How They Run,” a family-friendly play running Feb. 17 to March 4. The show is directed by Jarom Brown, who also plays the vicar, Lionel Toop. 
“We have a talented actor that can pull it off, so I have a lot of hopes,” Brown said.
“See How They Run” takes place in a small rural vicarage in 1945 England. Audiences can expect to see costumes from scratch, mistaken identities and characters running about yelling in Cockney accents. 
“I do get to carry a girl around the stage and throw her in the closet, and that’s a lot of fun,” said Susan Barry, a Sandy Arts Guild first-timer who plays Ida, a maid drawn to all of the dramatic events happening throughout the vicarage. “It’s a fun role — I think she’s kind of like the clown of the play. It’s been a fun character for me to play around with. She has a big personality.”
Lindsay Higbee, who plays Penelope Toop, an English-born, American actress, described Penelope as a lot of fun.
“She’s kind of a troublemaker in the village, who wears trousers, which is unheard of. (She’s) loud and boisterous, a sassy little creature,” Higbee said. “It’s been fun experimenting with the mid-Atlantic accent.”
The arts guild supplements their budget by renting costume and set pieces to schools and other community theater groups. According to Marsden,  the biggest issue that comes from deciding on a season line-up, besides expense, is whether a regular cast and crew exists to support a given show. 
“We have a very creative master carpenter, who also is the set designer. He’s been able to build what would be very expensive molding and its bent PVC pipe,” Marsden said. 
Dwight Western is the master carpenter. He started with Sandy in 2005 with a role on the stage that eventually transitioned into set designer and master carpenter, creating set pieces that the other members of cast and crew call “stunning” and “fantastic.”
“This is all from scratch. I bought a table for cheap at (Deseret Industries). I bought it for the hardware and I couldn’t have bought the hardware I wanted for the cost of the table, let alone all the things I was able to with it. Because we use a lot of strange shapes, we use a lot of pool noodles, whatever we can find that we can turn into something else,” Western said. “I wanted to create an old-world feel, even though the play is a bit more modern. I wanted to bring in the church feeling into the vicarage and that’s why we went with the large church window (made of warped PVC).”
Recessed windows and doors were created to give the feeling of thick centuries-old granite walls.
“They’re amazing, really professional here,” Higbee said, who was also in the guild’s production of  “I Hate Hamlet” in 2016.
Members of the Sandy Arts Guild are excited about the 2017 season that includes upcoming activities like the Elementary School Art Show taking place March 22–29 at the Shops at South Towne and features art submissions from elementary-age students from the Canyons School District and private and charter schools from all over Salt Lake Valley. Auditions will soon be announced for “The Lion King Jr.,” which will be shown April 27–29 at The Theater at Mount Jordan and the big summer musical “Beauty and the Beast,” running Aug. 4–12 at the Sandy Amphitheater.
For more information about the Sandy Arts Guild and their 2017 season, visit