The COVID-19 pandemic presents a multitude of obstacles to overcome for organizations of all types, and theater groups are no exception. Sharon Hunter, Artistic Director-Producer of Moonstone Theatre Company, aims to help address some of the virus-related challenges that the St. Louis theatre community faces by forming the St. Louis Theatre Community Task Force.

“As I was thinking about how to proceed with my own company in the wake of the pandemic, I started thinking it would be helpful  to get a lot of the theaters to sit down via Zoom and discuss concerns, ideas and solutions for moving forward as we navigate the future of theatre in St. Louis,” Hunter explains.

Sharon Hunter

The Task Force will address concerns including conducting safe auditions, rehearsals and performances, finding new ways to seat audiences, maintaining the visibility of the St. Louis theatre community, new ways to offer theatre experiences and recommendations for the use of personal protective equipment.

Hunter said the Task Force, which is the first of its kind in the St. Louis area, welcomes local theatre groups of all sizes. In addition to these organizations, representatives from the St. Louis County Department of Health and the Center For Disease Control have also been invited to the first online meeting to address questions and concerns.

Theatre companies invited to participate include R-S Theatrics, The Q Collective, The Midnight Company, Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble, Upstream Theater, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, COCA, Shakespeare Festival STL, Black Rep, Stray Dog Theatre, Stages St. Louis, St. Louis Actors’ Studio, The Muny, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, New Jewish Theatre, Cherokee Street Theatre, The Cabaret Project of St. Louis, Max & Louie Productions, Black Mirror Theatre, Young Liars, West End Players Guild, Tennessee Williams Festival St Louis, New Line Theatre, ERA Theatre Company, STL Fringe Festival, St Louis Shakespeare, Metro Theatre Company, That Uppity Theatre Company and the Tesseract Theatre Company.

The initial meeting of the Task Force is scheduled for Thursday, April 23, at 7 p.m. Theatre groups interested in interested in participating should contact Hunter at [email protected] to get access to the Zoom link. For more info, check their Facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/STLTheatre/.

St. Louis’ vibrant theater community just got a little brighter with the addition of new performing arts organization Moonstone Theatre Company.

Moonstone was founded by St. Louis native Sharon Hunter, who serves as the company’s artistic director and producer. Hunter has made a name for herself nationally as a professional actor, singer, director and producer. Most recently Hunter was performing and producing in New York City, but decided to move back home to start Moonstone.  St. Louisans may recognize her as the original host and producer of KEZK’s “Pillow Talk” or her time hosting at Y98.

“Moonstone Theatre Company was founded in response to my vision for creating a cultural theatrical environment in St. Louis to inspire actors and artists to do their best work,” Hunter says. “St. Louis is a great theatre city and I think it’s wonderful to be a part of that cultural conversation. It is essential for the arts to contribute to this conversation particularly during challenging times.”

Hunter says the name Moonstone combines two things close to her heart.

“I have always loved the moon. I gain energy, clarity and inspiration from the moonlight. I knew I wanted the word moon somewhere in the company title,” she says. “I was also committed to finding a way to incorporate my former NYC acting coach, the late Peter Flint, and his name in there as well.  He was like a true father figure to me, and I thought that since “flint” is a stone then I could put that together and create Moonstone.”

Hunter says Moonstone will focus on producing works that challenge and enlighten audiences on important and socially relevant topics including equality, diversity, mental illness, addiction and sexual harassment and assault.

“Theatre truly is a reflection of life,” says Hunter. “I’m happy to be back in my hometown where I began and collaborate with so many talented artists and actors. There is something very special about returning to St. Louis and having the opportunity to bring new ideas and experiences to an art form I dearly love.”

“How exciting for St. Louis that another wonderful Theatre Artist with great entrepreneurial chutzpah is broadening our vibrant theatre community,” enthused Edward Coffield, the artistic director and producer at New Jewish Theatre.  “There is such great legacy here in St. Louis when savvy theatre practitioners are willing to plant roots and continue the tradition of great theatre in St. Louis.”

Moonstone’s debut production, “The House of Blue Leaves” by John Guare, will open at the Wool Studio Theatre at the Jewish Community Center (2 Millstone Campus Drive, Creve Coeur, 63146) on Thursday, July 16, 2020, directed by Annamaria Pileggi. Auditions for the show will be held Saturday, October 26 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the JCC, and callbacks will be held at the theater on Monday, October 28. Those wanting more information about the audition process can register online here or email [email protected]

Moonstone Theatre Company’s Mission Statement

Moonstone Theatre Company is a new professional performing arts organization which will offer the community a wide range of quality theatrical productions while supporting local arts and education. Moonstone Theatre looks to inspire, entertain and challenge audiences with productions that range from the classics to new works. Moonstone Theatre Company celebrates the power of the theatre to illuminate our diversity and enlighten our shared humanity.