About Us

Mountain Actors Workshop, Inc. (MAW) was founded in 1988 and became an official nonprofit in 1992. MAW's mission aims to bring together theater arts in the Hayfork community with a focus on collaborative, live productions.

Since the beginning, MAW has produced a wide range of plays, from William Shakespeare and Broadway classics to 10-minute plays, melodramas, and monologues. Inclusive in its casting, MAW has always welcomed a diverse cast of all ages and all levels of experience. At its core, MAW focuses on collaboration and has done so with multiple community entities throughout the years, namely Mountain Valley Unified School District (MVUSD), through joint productions and most recently an after-school program. We also couldn't do it without the support of our local businesses, where we frequently use their facilities for productions, thanks to their generosity.

MAW has an educational focus as well. Throughout the decades, many of our members have worked with the local schools, providing training for students in scriptwriting, light and sound tech, and set construction, as well as many other opportunities both in and out of school. Most recently, for example, we worked with Hayfork High School to start an after-school theater workshop program, which exemplifies MAW's long-time collaboration with the schools. A Hayfork High alumna, who many years ago benefited from MAW/MVUSD collaborations as a student and was in performances regularly, recently returned to Hayfork. She was elected to MAW's Board of Directors and was hired for the 18-19 school year to teach the theater program. As an example of our collaborative mindset, other MAW board members provide instructional support regularly.

Behind the scenes, meanwhile, MAW has been working toward renovating the old "Hayfork Theater" building located on Highway 3. It has been a long but still-promising endeavor. Built in 1949, the Theater showed movies until doors were closed indefinitely in 1985, other than use as an electrician's workshop. In 2006, MAW was deeded the building from the Dunaetz Family Trust and began research on returning it to usable condition, as well how it could best benefit the Hayfork community. In finding the building not up to code, we began to realize that many professionals and financial resources would be required to reach our final goal. In one engineering report we were told the building would need to be destroyed and rebuilt, but we knew there had to be a way to keep some of the historical integrity of the building, since it is one of the last remaining buildings of history in the town.

Then, in 2018, MAW was generously gifted $10,000 by a local business for the express purpose of restoring the theater for live performances and community events. Thanks to that donation, we immediately contracted with a consulting engineering firm to prepare plans that could keep the original overall structure. We're happy to say, the report has been completed and we are now on the move to aggressively acquire grants and other donated funds to keep the hammers swinging.

Our Board

2018-2019 Board Members

Chris Semer

President

Nancy Jackson

Vice President

Melodye Semer

Secretary

Kitty Wilson

Treasurer

Brian Gossman

Board Member

Tara Russak

Board Member

Jeff Hall

Board Member

Joanne Tucker

Board Member