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The newly formed Roseville Theatre Arts Academy on Monday signed an agreement with the Masonic Lodge to lease the iconic Roseville Theatre on Vernon Street in downtown Roseville. Until November, the theatre had been home to the Magic Circle, which operated at the facility for over 20 years, most recently under the name Civic Theatre West. That theatre was forced to shut down due to mounting debt.

The newly formed RTAA will not attempt to replace Magic Circle, according to RTAA President and Director of Operations and Education Michelle Raskey. However, Raskey said, RTAA will take some of the things that Magic Circle did well and improve upon them.

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“The focus of RTAA will be children,” Raskey said. RTAA will begin rehearsal for its first children’s workshop production of ‘The Saga of Sweet Hannah Sue'”, a show which had been done for years under the Magic Circle Theatre, this week. That show was co-written by Jennifer Vaughn, who is also a founding board member and Musical and Artistic Director for RTAA. There is both a Tuesday and Wednesday cast for the workshop. Space for both workshops is still available.

Both Vaughn and Raskey said they were thrilled to be able to continue to work with the children of the South Placer area, as they both have for over 20 years.

 “While some of the programming is similar to what Magic Circle offered,” Vaughn said, “we plan to offer so much more. Our long term plans include a true academy with vocal and dance lessons as well as more one-on-one instruction. We are also working on plans for a summer camp. Our passion has always been working with and teaching children to reach their full potential.”

RTAA signed a three year lease for the Roseville Theatre that begins today and runs through 2013. Terms of the lease were not disclosed although several other groups were interested in securing the facility.

RTAA is incorporated under California law and is working to secure its non-profit status as soon as possible, Raskey said. “Our goal is to work with and support the community, not to make a ton of money. Because of this, we will be relying heavily on parent and community support. That is simply the type of organization we want to be part of. The focus should always be on the kids and the community.”

Despite RTAA’s focus on children, they also plan on reaching out to the entire arts community. “We believe it is important to encourage all kinds of performing arts,” said Board Member Stephen Hatcher, a choreographer whose resume includes choreographing and directing shows at the Magic Circle Theatre. “While our focus will be on working with children, we want to make the theatre available to as many performing arts groups as possible.” Hatcher will be overseeing leasing of the facility to other groups and is in the process of preparing information, including rates, for interested groups.

Other founding members of the RTAA board are local CPA Annette Stalker, whose son was an avid participant in the Magic Circle; Renee Nash, whose children have also participated in Magic Circle’s children’s programs; and financial planner Christian Baldree, who was involved with Magic Circle as a musician for 14 years.

RTAA will update its website as more information and a full calendar of programs become available.

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