SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - For the second year, Founders Park on Valley Street in the Academy Heights neighborhood was home to live performances during Theater in the Park, a free community event on Sunday, June 3.
In addition to an afternoon of performances featuring dancing, comedy improv, and live music, there was also food available, a variety of vendors, a bouncy house for kids, and the chance to learn more about community groups.
Performers at Theater in the Park included: Rocketeers Improv, American Theater Group, South Mountain YMCA, Miss Shona’s PAC, Teenage FBI, Vanguard Theater and The J-street band from the JESPY House.
A community art project was also on display near the stage under the gazebo, which was created by local artist Denise Hayden working with volunteers, and had rainbow letters spelling out "#PRIDE."
Theater in the Park was organized by Cat Fisher, an Academy Heights resident who also owns the store Sadie's in South Orange. Fisher explained that she started Theater in the Park because, "as a neighborhood we wanted to bring attention to a under utilized park by giving it an identity that stands out from the other parks in South Orange."
"As part of the community I felt Theater was a great way to give the amazing talent we have within our towns a chance to shine- as well as a chance for those who may not get to experience many of these performances a chance to see Theater for free," added Fisher.
Fisher said this year's event doubled the amount of attendees compared to last year, the event's inaugural year. "We are excited to continue to grow and build this amazing grass roots event brought together by the Academy Heights Neighborhood Association with the help of our supporters," said Fisher.
Fisher thanked Andrew Kit, who did sound for the performances, and the Village of South Orange for supplying the bouncy house, and said she is already thinking about next year's event.