We all know there’s magic at BARN — but did you know that BARN members and Studios help make magic in our community? The BARN Metal Fabrication Studio recently contributed an important costume piece to the Mountaineers Players’ production of the musical Peter Pan.
More than a century ago, a group of Mountaineers hiked into the lovely area in Kitsap County near Wild Cat Lake that has now become an outdoor amphitheater surrounded by old growth forest and rhododendrons. After years of summer outings and performances, the official Kitsap Forest Theater was built in 1926.
For the past two decades, Chris Stanley, an instructor in the BARN Metal Fabrication Studio, has been sharing his skills and craft knowledge with the Mountaineers Players on the stage of the Kitsap Forest Theater. It began when Chris and his entire family, including his young daughter and wife, all performed in a production of Fiddler on the Roof. For the show, he created a sewing machine prop with a working flywheel and treadle, as well as a tailor shop. Soon Chris was asked to design and build the sets. He estimates he has assisted with 30 shows in the past 20 years, most of that time as an unpaid volunteer.
For the spring 2018 performance, the Mountaineers Players selected Peter Pan. The actor playing Captain Hook was eager to have a suitable prop to duel Peter’s knife. Chris realized this hook needed to be fashioned from steel. Henry Sharpe, Studio Lead for Welding and Sheet Metal, and Chris together shaped, grounded, and welded the hook using resources and tools in BARN’s Metal Fabrication Studio. “The actor was so pleased,” said Chris.
Chris has been creating and inventing all his life. After watching The Absent Minded Professor as a child, he decided he wanted to be an inventor. He made his first model from a plastic kit at a young age, and, in high school he began working in model making, later becoming the head of research and development. In his life journey, Chris has been granted a patent, recognized by the United States government as an inventor. He comes from a family of inventors, and from a heritage of weavers and millers, the technology of their time centuries ago. At BARN Chris continues inventing and creating, whether he’s making magic for a community stage show, or devoting time to teaching students and creating magical classes.