CLARION THEATRE COMPANY was founded in 2015 by John and Arden Sleadd of Grants Pass, OR. A Board of Directors was formed in January 2016, and 501c3 status was granted in November 2016.
For Clarion's first performance, John Buckley Sleadd, musician and now-retired teacher, wrote and directed a fourteen-minute sketch on the life of Martin Luther with an enthusiastic troupe of actors within eight weeks' time. The performances took place in the Jerome Prairie Community Hall to an audience of 120+.
The idea of a new faith-based theatre company had been in the back of Sleadd's mind for some time. He was moved to write original works that offered audiences family-friendly, faith-affirming, redemptive themes. His motto is: "make 'em laugh, make 'em cry, send 'em home happy and humming."
In June-July 2016,"The Prodigals: Faith Can Lead You Home" was completed and performed in five shows to sellout crowds in Barnstormers' Theatre. The process took only nine months from the time John began writing to the time it was performed on stage.
In October 2016, the company hosted their first dessert revue dubbed "A Candle in the Night," previewing more songs to be used in the future full-length musical. The songs were choreographed with a cast of twelve.
"Here I Stand: the Monk Who Turned Religion Upside Down" was performed October 2017 at Rogue Theatre in four shows. Again, Sleadd wrote the music, script, and instrumentation in record time.
In Clarion's third season, 2018, Sleadd returned to the book and score of "The Prodigals," revising it extensively. The revised production was staged at Grants Pass' Performing Arts Center in five shows.
Clarion's focus in 2019 was to produce two CDs with songs from Sleadd's two musicals. These are now available for listening on all music platforms. A concert was held in the Grants Pass Museum to promote the CD.
In 2020 Clarion hosted another dessert revue, "Put on a Hat", featuring music from two musicals: Ariel Kostrna's "My Traitor" and John Buckley Sleadd's "Hatter's Daughter."
In November 2021 Clarion staged "Hatter's Daughter" at the Performing Arts Center to an estimated 900 attendants in a five-show, one-weekend run.
On November 20, 2022, Clarion again previewed music from "My Traitor" and added Sleadd's latest work, "Stu's America" at a dessert revue called "Let Freedom Sing!" The two shows attracted an audience of 250.
God has been gracious to bless our efforts to "make 'em laugh, make 'em cry, and send 'em home happy and humming." Eternity is watching!