It feels as though many people in our community are already in the holiday spirit. The first snow in Salt Lake City opened the floodgates to start playing classic Christmas songs, preparing gift ideas for your loved ones and, most notably, decorating. For the seekers of unique and one-of-a-kind holiday decorations, the Pioneer Theatre Company is this year’s unlikely source. Launching their “Holiday Scene Shoppe,” the theatre and production company is ready to bring the holiday season to life here in SLC.
The “Holiday Scene Shoppe” is an initiative through PTC’s program “Second Act,” the brainchild of PTC staff and the Pioneer Theatre Guild which employs theatre workers from their costume and scenic shops to create individualized items, including furniture and face masks. The “Holiday Scene Shoppe” presents items for sale completely online and allows patrons of the theatre and community members alike to browse the handiwork of local artists.
For fans of thrifting and those with an eye toward sustainability efforts, there is no better place to support a business repurposing old production materials and offering up treasured items. The “Holiday Scene Shoppe” products are made out of everything from old backdrops, stage flooring, and steel pieces to paper items like scripts, musical scores and plans. Beyond that, the “Holiday Scene Shoppe” is supporting artists out of work this winter. In response to the postponement of PTC’s season of shows due to the coronavirus pandemic, this initiative is a collaboration of dozens of theatre workers to promote, sustain and enjoy the magic of theatre.
I personally fell in love with the “Holiday Scene Shoppe” handiwork. The stockings, the paper-made angels and garlands — even the incredibly cool fold-over library chairs — all felt as though they were made with real tender loving care by these artists. I even sifted through bags that I could use far after the holiday season.
The “Holiday Scene Shoppe” is certainly lifting the holiday spirit here in SLC this winter season, but this program isn’t the first of Second Act projects done to help out in the community. “We’ve just concluded a partnership with Red Butte Gardens creating props for their ‘Bootanical Celebration,'” said PTC Artistic Director Karen Azenberg. “It is these outside-of-the-box projects that are helping our industry survive.”
All of these events instituted by “Second Act” are a good sign that this Utah establishment won’t be snuffed out by a shutdown. “[We] were determined to be part of the solution in ensuring work exists in an industry that is now literally decimated,” said PTC Managing Director Christopher Massimine. “As the official state theatre, it’s PTC’s responsibility to lead by example. Just as Utah leads together, so shall we.” The “Holiday Scene Shoppe” is not only a new way to add to your holidays, but it is also a way to support one of the longest-lasting Utah institutions through one of the hardest times.
The “Holiday Scene Shoppe” products can be found on the “Second Act” web page. Product updates will be published on the PTC website and communicated directly to those who subscribe to the PTC e-newsletter.