All The World’s A Stage

by Dave on August 22, 2009

Freeman Stage Features Fun & Fantastic Entertainment

As the eastern part of Sussex County grows and more people, attracted by the quality of life and natural beauty, decide to call coastal Delaware home, the need for cultural outlets grows as well.

Bringing fine arts to that growing audience is the goal of the Freeman Stage at Bayside west of Fenwick Island.

“The Freeman Stage at Bayside is a nonprofit outdoor stage that presents free and low-cost music, theatre, dance, and children’s performances, as well as festivals and children’s day camps,” says Ashley Lewis of the Freeman Foundation, which operates the Stage. “We offer regular entertainment on Thursday and Friday nights, as well as Saturday mornings.”

Another goal is to make that entertainment as accessible as possible to as many people as possible.

“The majority of our programming is free to the public, with the exception of three professional musical theatre shows and our children’s day camps,” adds Lewis. “We welcome both year-round residents and vacationers to our stage, and all of our performances are family-friendly.”

Highlights of this season run the gamut from the Delaware Symphony Orchestra (July 11) to the Puremovement Hip-Hop Dance (July 30) to the American Conservation Film Festival (July 28-29).

The venue fits into the mission of the Freeman Foundation – to create and construct buildings that promote the arts, the environment, and athletic achievement and wellness.

“The Freeman Stage at Bayside is our first project, and it’s focus is on the first part of our mission – supporting the arts,” notes Lewis. “We feel that it is crucial that this area have a facility where people can come to immerse themselves in the arts – and to really see a variety of quality performances, including dance, theatre, music and the visual arts. We hope that The Freeman Stage will provide that.”

As the venue grows in popularity, the Freeman Foundation hopes to turn the area into a regional arts destination.

“We’ve already set out on that mission by bringing in artists from the Washington Metro area as well as Philadelphia and Wilmington, so that our patrons get a great variety of different experiences,” adds Lewis. “Over the coming years we hope to expand our reach and continue drawing great crowds – as we learn more about what the people want to see and refine our programming.”

With a mission and ambition to provide the finest cultural experiences for a new and growing coastal population, the Freeman Stage is off to an exciting start.

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This article first appeared in Coastal Sussex Weekly, July 2, 2009.

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