Encore Theatrical Arts Project, Inc. (ETAP) provides Musical Theatre education, entertainment, and outreach programs to the community. Providing training and performance opportunities to aspiring youth while adhering to standards of excellence in performance, choreography, musical direction, lighting, costume, and set design result in ETAP’s high quality productions.
The History of ETAP
Founded in 1996 by Raynor van der Merwe and Mario Petrides, ETAP is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization serving the artistic and cultural needs of Fairfax County and Northern Virginia. By inspiring excellence in its performers and crews, ETAP has raised the bar for local theatre in this vibrant community outside the Nation’s Capital. What started out as a project became a 17 year successful full arts organization. In the past 17 years, ETAP has staged and produced over 40 productions and several hundred performances of original shows and has collaborated with other not-for-profit organizations to raise funds for several local community enrichment programs. Reaching out to over 100,000 audience members including far beyond its borders, the company has traveled to China, Spain, and Greece since 2002, sharing its passion for community and dance on the global stage. In 2006, ETAP was recognized by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors for representing Fairfax County and the U.S. abroad at Beijing Cultural Festival. ETAP was honored to perform at the International Children’s Festival at Wolf Trap in September of 2007. ETAP launched the Behind the Scenes Outreach Program with Brookfield Elementary School in Chantilly, VA and enriches the lives of 150 third grade students each year by instructing them in the magic of Musical Theatre. The students are educated in musical theatre production in two in-classroom sessions and attend the final dress rehearsal as a culmination of the program. They are given a Backstage Tour as their third lesson. Continuing with its outreach program, ETAP has developed a Behind the Scenes Program for the National Council of Girl Scouts. Scout troop members are invited to take part in the Behind the Scenes Tour one hour prior to performances. They are introduced to the director, choreographer, scenic designer, and lighting designer who share a history and knowledge of their craft. Troops are invited on stage to meet some of the cast and get a first-hand look at the stage and costumes from the performers’ point of view. Over 45,000 scout troop members and their families have taken part in this experience.
The heart of ETAP’s mission runs through each and every activity. The upcoming productions are numerous particularly for the 12 performances for the Holiday production that will take place at the Richard J. Ernst Theatre on the Northern Virginia Community College’s Annandale campus. The holiday program is complete with original programming, sets, costumes, and dance numbers that make one think that they are in New York City watching the Rockettes. In October, ETAP performs in an exciting collaboration with the Fairfax County Dance Coalition for their 4th Annual Gala Showcase which features performances of multiple dance genres such as Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Contemporary and Indian dance. In February, ETAP collaborates with Dancin’ Unlimited’s 28th Annual Jazz and Tap Dance Festival. June 2014 brings the spring show with 6 more original high quality performances.
Not only is cultural entertainment advanced by ETAP in the community, but also the entire process of musical theatre. This cultural educational gem offers youth the opportunity to learn the Art of Musical Theatre and audiences in Fairfax County and surrounding regions to attend performances of high quality.