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SAT is a mainstay for community entertainment, a source for local thespians and theater lovers

POST PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Front row: Lexy Dillion, Jonica Tabler, Anita Sorel and Bill Lawson. Back row: Ross MacKae, Kathy Strickland, Dan Bosserman and Cheryl Rudarmel-Beam.Sandy Actor's Theatre has been the home of community theater in Sandy for 40 years. It has produced many a crowd-pleaser and, at times, pushed the limits on the rural town's comfort zone with plays laden in existential inquiry.

Ever since its inception, running the haven for local thespians has been an unpaid passionate gig for a select few. With more and more non-locals coming out of the woodwork to act on the cozy stage at 17433 Meinig Ave., those long-time volunteers say the theater is far from its final curtain call.

The formerly dubbed Sandy Community Players arose in 1977 when a couple from Portland came to town with a desire to start a children's theater.

Bill Lawson was one of the first volunteers to sign on with the fledgling company, after his son played the Beast in the group's production of Beauty and the Beast only a few years after its first curtain call.

Lawson was heavily involved for about 20 years, fulfilling roles backstage and in the lime light.

"I eventually got hooked," Lawson said. "It was just exciting. I never imagined I'd do that. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun. The thing about community theater is you get to do it all. I've worked light boards, cleaned toilets (and) built sets. The reason I would recommend theater to anybody (is) the fact that you work with a variety of people and get to be a part of a family."

In 1989, after a two-year hiatus, the theater moved from the Clackamas County Bank theater to its current location on Proctor Boulevard.

At the time of its relocation, the theater had a board member who was a carpenter and built the group's new home stage with his own two hands.

For many members of the SAT family, the theater was a draw for them and led them to come to Sandy.

"One of the reasons I moved here was SAT was here," Lexy Dillion explained. Dillion has been volunteering with the theater for six years.

Cast after cast have played on that stage to this day, presenting comedies, such as "You Can't Take It With You" to musicals like "Godspell."

Now, the group plans to revisit the era in which SAT was born, with Alan Ayckbourn's "How the Other Half Loves."

"All of our productions (this year) seem to be looking back in the past," Board member and local thespian Jonica Tabler said. "Maybe that's pretty appropriate."

Anita Sorrel, who has directed many plays with SAT, had a long theatrical career behind her when she joined the company four years ago. Sorrel sees the theater progressing well into the future.

"We're on a rebirth right now," she said. "Everybody's energized and ready to move forward."

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