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The Theater Maker: Patrick Ciamacco 

Artistic Director, Blank Canvas Theater

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Being big and green should be enough to make a person interesting, but Patrick Ciamacco has a lot more going on than that. Sure, he recently starred as the ogre in Shrek at Mercury Summer Stock, but that was just a busman's holiday from his regular gig.

As the artistic director of the two-year-old Blank Canvas Theatre, Ciamacco has plenty on his plate. This graduate of Brunswick High School achieved most of his higher learning in theater on the stage, starting as part of the cast in the long-running Tony & Tina's Wedding when he was just 20 years old. And he set the record for playing the most roles (8) in that popular show.

Ciamacco moved from there to the Near West Theatre and then to a stint in New York City, where he affirmed his love for theater and decided to return to his hometown to act and direct. Says Patrick, "We needed a home for our comedy group the Laughter League, and I found the 78th Street Studios, where Blank Canvas now performs."

Opening in the fall of 2011, Blank Canvas has already racked up some notably high-quality productions. These range from the determinedly raucous (Texas Chainsaw Musical) to the theatrically sublime (Next Fall).

"Looking back, it was insane to start a theater the way we did it," says Ciamacco, "building a theater with zero funding while we were producing our first show (Texas Chainsaw), which was a technical nightmare. But local actors had blind faith in what we were doing."

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