Theater veteran to lecture at library

Staff report


J.E. “Jack” Ballantyne, a local theater veteran, will be the guest speaker at a program at 10 a.m. Saturday at Boardman Library, 7680 Glenwood Ave.

The presentation, sponsored by the Boardman Historical Society, is free to the public, but reservations are suggested; call board member Dona Hammond at 330-726-0651.

Ballantyne, of Youngstown, has been an actor, director and playwright in his long career. Last year, he published “Why I Did It! It’s In the Book,” in which he recounts his history in theater and shares his opinions. The book will be the topic of his lecture.

“Why I Did It!” grew from the multitude of theater stories compiled by Ballantyne over his 50-plus years in theater and television.

“When you are in theater, you accumulate stories about things that have taken place during various stage productions over the years – some funny and amusing, some moving and sad,” said Ballantyne. “But everyone who is in theater has tons of them.”

The idea to compile the stories into a book actually came from other people, said Ballantyne. Over the years, as he frequently told the stories, people prompted him to write them down.

The process – which took four years – grew into a memoir, with Ballantyne tying the stories together with the narrative of his own life.

The result is an inside look at local theater.

Ballantyne discusses all the phases of his career, from working with Fred Rogers on “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood” at the WQED studios in Pittsburgh, to a stint with the Kenley Players in Warren and Civic Light Opera in Pittsburgh, to his time as executive director of Salem Community Theater and the Victorian Players.

The book includes more than 100 photographs.

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