PERFORMING ARTS Area groups join up and take their PLACES!

Local theaters are collaborating to get their act together.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Members of a regional performing arts collaborative have adopted the name PLACES! for their new organization.
The name, derived from the stage manager's alert that a show or act is about to begin, is an acronym that stands for Partnering Local Arts Consortium for Expansion and Support.
Seven arts organization representatives attending a meeting Tuesday evening of the collaborative at The Youngstown Playhouse unanimously selected the name from several that had been under consideration.
"It represents everyone that's a part of the consortium. We can expand on it with advertising. It's catchy," Judy Nelson said of the consortium's new name.
"We're trying to work a partnership and unite all of our theaters to promote the arts," said Nelson, who is a trustee of Move Over Broadway Productions, which operates a theater at Southwoods Executive Park in Boardman.
Alliance: The collaborative, whose first meeting was in January, is an alliance of about 20 nonprofit performing arts organizations in northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania.
Robert Vargo, managing director of The Youngstown Playhouse and moderator of the collaborative, said he favors joint newspaper advertising featuring combined listings of PLACES! members' current productions. "If it's shared, it wouldn't cost that much," he said.
Vargo said he is wary of asking for dues or placing other financial burdens on consortium members, who operate on tight budgets. "We don't want to scare anybody away from this group," he said.
He also said the playhouse plans to establish a costume and prop storage and rental cooperative in the downtown Youngstown area, from which participants could rent items at advantageous rates.
The next PLACES! meeting will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 22 at the Youngstown Playhouse.

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