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Yamhill County calendar: A stone-age musical, art shows, and a new ‘Christmas Carol’

Theaters and galleries ramp up for the holidays with a stone-age musical, a new adaptation of Dickens’ classic, art sales, and a Pride Winter Ball.


Hannah Barlow and Robert Turner are among the cast in Linfield University Theatre's production of “Firebringer,” a stone-age musical playing this weekend on the McMinnville campus. Photo by Sam Brinda, courtesy Linfield University
Hannah Barlow and Robert Turner are among the cast in Linfield University Theatre’s production of “Firebringer,” a stone-age musical playing this weekend on the McMinnville campus. Photo by Sam Brinda, courtesy Linfield University

Yamhill County’s arts scene is going full throttle in the final two months of 2022, with live theater and music and visual art shows pretty much everywhere. Here’s a quick look at where we’re at and where we’re going.

LINFIELD UNIVERSITY: The Linfield Theatre Program’s “Season of Eco-Theater” continues  this week with a raunchy musical about the origins of fire. Firebringer, produced in collaboration with the university’s music department, continues Nov. 17-19, with shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday. Originally produced by StarKid Productions, Firebringer’s music and lyrics are by Meredith Stepien and Mark Swiderski, and the play is based on the book by Nick Lang, Matt Lang, and Brian Holden. According to the show notes: “Exploring the interconnections among civilization, cultivation of natural resources, capitalism, and climate change, Firebringer blends rich themes with infectious music and crass cave art.” Thursday’s performance will be followed by a panel discussion about personal responsibility and conceptions of human progress in the context of climate change. Tickets available online.  

LINFIELD ART GALLERY: Only a few more days are left to see Rhiannon Skye Tafoya’s My Hands Remind Me of Yours/Our Hands, which closes Nov. 18 in the Miller Fine Arts Center. Tafoya (Eastern Band Cherokee and Santa Clara Pueblo) employs printmaking, digital design, and basketry techniques in creating two- and three-dimensional artworks.

GALLERY THEATER: We have a “McMinnville’s loss is Tigard’s gain” scenario to report. Seth Renne, a fixture at Gallery Theater for a couple of decades and manager since late 2014, has accepted the position of production manager at Broadway Rose Theatre, where he has also been active for years. Gallery had a wildly successful fall season, with two shows — Mamma Mia! and And Then There Were None — not only repeatedly selling out performances, but adding shows to accommodate demand. Renne is staying on while a successor is recruited and plans to remain active with the theater, including stepping into the director’s chair with Gallery’s first show of 2023, Into the Woods. But first, the holiday play: A world premiere adaptation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol,  written and directed by John Hamilton, runs Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, Nov. 25-Dec. 18, on the main stage.

Katy Vigeland, the former owner of Salem's fine art supply store Art Department, will have work featured in Currents Gallery's holiday show, which opens this week in McMinnville. Photo courtesy: Currents Gallery
Katy Vigeland, the former owner of Salem’s fine art supply store Art Department, will have work featured in Currents Gallery’s holiday show, which opens this week in McMinnville. Photo courtesy: Currents Gallery

CURRENTS GALLERY: McMinnville’s artist-owned gallery downtown is preparing for its final show of the year, opening Tuesdawa and running through Jan. 8. Jurying for the holiday-themed show was in progress at press time, so check the website for a complete list of artists, times, etc.

MINTHORNE GALLERY: The art gallery on the George Fox University campus in Newberg currently houses a maze-like installation by Seth Van Der Eems, a visiting assistant professor of art and design who joined the university in 2021.

CHEHALEM CULTURAL CENTER: The multiple gallery spaces in the Newberg nonprofit arts center are, in a word, full. On Dec. 9, an opening reception will be held for artists Hadley Hatcher and Nieko Giancarlo McDaniel, who both have produced work as artists-in-residence at A to Z Winery. Hatcher’s Color and Shade and McDaniel’s Browns, Purples & Greys are open now, along with several other exhibitions. The Art Harvest Studio Tour exhibition remains in the Parrish Gallery through Dec. 2, and Intisar S. Abioto’s and the black rainbows when, originally scheduled to close in September, fills the Mezzanine Gallery. In the Founder’s Gallery, find the rotating We Are Oregon exhibit, this month marking Indigenous History Month.

CIRCLING BACK TO LINFIELD, we find Portland’s contemporary classical music group Third Angle touching down on the McMinnville campus at the end of the month for two concerts after providing the university’s music students with a Masterclass program. The chamber ensemble plays at 7 p.m. Nov. 30 in Melrose Hall. Students will debut original compositions at 7 p.m. Dec. 1. in Delkin Recital Hall. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information call 503-883-2275.

WINE COUNTRY PRIDE: Not only is all our regularly scheduled pre-pandemic cultural programming back in action, but we’re also adding new events. Wine Country Pride, which packs June with Pride Month events for local LGBTQ+ communities, is adding a Country Pride Winter Ball on Dec. 17 at Abbey Road Farm just outside Carlton. Salem drag queen artist Kharisma will perform. Tickets available here. For details, check it out on Facebook.

David Bates is an award-winning Oregon journalist with more than 20 years as a newspaper editor and reporter in the Willamette Valley, covering virtually every topic imaginable and with a strong background in arts/culture journalism. He has lived in Yamhill County since 1996 and is currently a freelance writer whose clients have included the McMinnville News-RegisterOregon Wine Press, and Indulge, a food-oriented publication. He has a B.S. degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and a long history of involvement in the theater arts, acting and on occasion directing for Gallery Players of Oregon and other theaters in Oregon.

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