Jody Drake, right, portrays Sharlot Hall for the first time in Soul of Yesterday written by Karla Burkitt, along with Lane Burkett, left, and Kate Fournier.
In May of 1994 the idea of Blue Rose Theater was born.
"It was simple; we would teach Arizona history through live theater," said founder, Jody Drake. "Little did I realize where this road would lead us."
Within five years she was performing all over the state. The only other company like the Blue Rose was in Boston, Massachusetts, she said.
On Sunday, May 3, Drake celebrated 20 years of historical shows, commencing with her portrayal of Sharlot Hall, Prescott's author and historian.
"What we learned along the way changed what we wanted to achieve. Our artistic avenues now reflect the cultural history of Arizona through not only theater, but music, art and dance as well," she said.
Blue Rose Theater has evolved into the Blue Rose Heritage and Culture Center located at 7200 Second Street, behind Ace Valley Home Center. The building has 6,000 square feet under the roof, with a 100-seat theater, dance class room, costume room, prop room, work shop, green room, and its own costume rental and gift shop, George and Lily's Closet. Outside is a 200-seat, open-air venue.
This summer, Drake will offer Kids Quest from 10 a.m.-noon, Monday through Friday, which will run in one-month cycles. Cost is $25 per week. During the school year, Kids Quest takes place from 3:30-5:30 p.m. during the week.
"At the end of a cycle, the kids see a result of their work - a play, a piece of art, a song, a dance, poetry - something that is the result of what they have learned," she said. "The program will start as soon as we have 10 students."
Adult Acting classes take place at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, and include acting exercises, character building, scene study, memory building, breath control, and learning to use space. The class is ongoing and students can join at any time. The cost is $5 per class.
Drake has plans in mind for the Heritage Center that will include an Old West facade in the outdoor space with church, mercantile, dress shop, shoe shop, and, of course, a stable which will complement the 1890s cook wagon.
"We are in the process of developing tours of the many historical sites in the local area that offer insight to the past, possibly with historical characters leading the tour group," she added.
For more information on the Blue Rose, call 928-227-2737 or email email@example.com.