West Seattle, Washington
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
The end of the summer will be the end of an era for youth theater in West Seattle.
After one last round of summer theater camps, Laura Drake is retiring, and turning over her Stage Struck program to a new owner (who’s expected to give it a new name).
She’s hoping to catch up with former Stage Struck families for a “final bow” party at 8 pm September 1st, after the last summer-show performance.
It’s been a monumental run. She’s produced 180 shows between 2001 and 2023, both after-school and summer-camp productions. She started Stage Struck in the basement of Admiral Church, and currently works in the fellowship hall at Fauntleroy Church, where the walls are currently decorated with photo montages from all those shows over all those years.
Drake – who has an extensive performing background – says she launched Stage Struck, with partners, as a “49-year-old single mom” hoping to bring in some extra income; she became interested in classroom teaching, too, and went back to school for a certificate. She subsequently taught at both Highland Park Elementary and Arbor Heights Elementary until retiring from Seattle Public Schools five years ago. But even while teaching, “summers were always full” with eight or nine 2-week Stage Struck camps.
Fauntleroy Church has been the ideal home for the program, she says, not just because of the stage – to which lighting and other features have been added over the years – but because of other rooms in the building where instruction and practice can go on. Drake explains that Stage Struck production have rotating casts, so each production has multiple students per role. Another unique facet of her program has been learning and exploration adjunct to the production – performing “The Lion King” was an opportunity to explore African music and dance, for example. And the productions have always featured live musicians. This year, they’ve been doing two longtime favorites – “Annie” and “Grease” – and two “Best Of” shows.
Over the years, Drake says, she’s worked with so many students that “I run into ‘Stage Struck’ kids everywhere!” Many of the teachers who’ve worked in the program “came up as alums, she adds. The new owner, a member of her staff, plans to rebrand it, likely as Lights Up! But in the meantime, for Drake, it’ll be curtain down at summer’s end: “It’s been great.”
P.S. If you’re a Stage Struck alum interested in the “Final Bow” party on September 1st, or reconnecting before then, you can reach Drake via email@example.com.
The Fauntleroy Community Service Agency and Fauntleroy Children’s Center, both based in the historic schoolhouse, are searching for a new Executive Director. They’ve listed the job in the WSB West Seattle Jobs Offered section but are also hoping to call more attention to it “due to the uniqueness of the position and the mission of this wonderful nonprofit.” Here’s the backstory:
Why it matters:
In 1978, a group of dedicated community members came together to found the Fauntleroy Community Service Agency (FCSA). Through research they found what the community most needed was childcare and thus the Fauntleroy Children’s Center (FCC) was born. In 1981 when Seattle Public Schools closed the Fauntleroy Elementary School, the FCSA leaped on the chance to lease the building so FCC could grow. In 2010, 30 years later, the FCSA secured the future of the child care center by receiving a grant to purchase the building and most of the surrounding property from the Seattle School District. Today we share the Schoolhouse with Dance! West Seattle, The Hall at Fauntleroy, Lincoln Park Co-Op, Urban Nature Outdoor Preschool, and several other small businesses. We are so happy to be able to operate this beautiful Schoolhouse that continues to be a neighborhood hub.
We are searching for a new Executive Director to spearhead an exceptional team and embrace the challenge of leading our NAEYC accredited childcare center and historic Schoolhouse. Someone with passion, drive, and the ability to create dynamic programs and foster an inclusive community can make a true difference.
You can see the job listing here. It includes an email address you can use for questions as well as applications.
Thanks for the photos. Though the official sunset moment is right about now, the sun made an early exit tonight, shrouded in smoke after casting a pink shimmer on Puget Sound.
The National Weather Service says the wind has shifted in a way that should keep air quality from getting any worse, though it may take a while to “scour” the air. By Tuesday, there’s even a slight chance of rainshowers.
Thanks to Jennifer for the info and photos from the latest marathon swim completed by a Northwest Open Water Swimming Association member. Above, swimming past Lincoln Park‘s beach on Saturday afternoon, is Wendy Van De Sompele, who is aquatic director of Colman Pool, and an accomplished distance swimmer at age 57. On Saturday, she swam 13 miles from Point Robinson Lighthouse on Maury Island to Alki Point Lighthouse in West Seattle.
She completed the swim in 10 hours, 21 minutes, Jennifer tells us. She was swimming at a faster pace earlier but then a change in the tide, plus a headwind, slowed her down considerably. Earlier this summer, Van De Sompele swam between three lighthouses in one day – from Gig Harbor to Tacoma to Maury. That swim was chronicled by the Vashon Beachcomber.
It’s all about love at the beach today, with Alki Beach Pride welcoming hundreds of people to a big vendor/resource fair with live entertainment – Issa Man performed while we were there:
Here’s the day’s full lineup, hosted by (updated) Dominique Stephens. The stage is on the lawn east of the bathhouse; the vendors stretch along the promenade as well as onto the sidewalk, and food vendors are in the street (Alki Avenue is closed between 57th and 61st):
Lots of treats – donuts, shave ice, elotes, more. Other vendors span a wide variety, from services to merchandise to art to health information, and local nonprofits including the Southwest Seattle Historical Society and the Senior Center of West Seattle. We found a few WSB sponsors there too, including Mode Music:
And Canna West Seattle:
One vendor even has a portable hot tub and is selling beachfront soaks. In addition to vendors, ABP is again partnering with local businesses, selling a $5 wristband that’ll get you discounts during the festival. This is all on until 7 tonight.
Right afterward, it’ll be time for an 8 pm outdoor movie, “Little Richard: I Am Everything“ at Alki Playground. It’s the ninth year that Stacy and Jolie Bass-Walden have presented Alki Beach Pride (they even carried on during the pandemic, with safe events such as a car parade!).
2:33 PM: The season is over a bit early for the EC Hughes wading pool, which was scheduled to have its last day of the season today. Seattle Parks and Recreation just announced all of its wading pools citywide will be closed for the rest of the day – including daily-operation pools such as Lincoln Park – “due to the poor air quality.” No other aquatics closures have been announced so far.
7:58 PM: For the record, Parks announced belatedly that it had closed other outdoor aquatic facilities early including Colman Pool.
12:35 PM: The Fauntleroy-Vashon-Southworth ferry route has been down to one boat so far today due to what WSF describes as “a shortage of crew,” and Washington State Ferries has no ETA for the return of a second boat. If you’re going, note that they’re following the #1 boat schedule (linked in the ferry-alert roundup), and use Vessel Watch to check the boat’s location while you wait.
2:30 PM: WSF says it’s back to two boats. However, the South Vashon (Tahlequah-Point Defiance) run will go out of service starting late this afternoon, so that’s likely to put extra pressure on this route
We’ve heard from three readers about a hazardous “pothole” on the West Seattle Bridge, so we’re sharing the heads-up, in advance of checking with SDOT tomorrow about repair plans. Mike was first to describe it:
Heads up for drivers headed Eastbound on the West Seattle Bridge. There’s missing pavement in the right lane at the curve high above Avalon. It appears that this is occurring in the newly grooved pavement as you head to the Bridge proper. For now you can drive around it but since it’s on the curve the hazard comes up quickly.
There are multiple ways to report problems like this on city streets and structures – SDOT’s hotline is 206-684-ROAD; an online reporting form is linked here, as is the city’s map of what’s been reported and/or fixed recently – which shows work is “pending” on this one.
Welcome to Sunday! Here’s what’s on the list:
FREEWAY-CLOSURE REMINDERS: Two major closures scheduled to continue today – Highway 518 eastbound, from 509 eastward, which means you can’t take that route to the airport or Southcenter (among other destinations); I-405 both ways between Bellevue and Renton. You can check WSDOT on Twitter/X to see if either reopens early.
AIR-QUALITY ALERT: Last Sunday we had a heat alert, this weekend we have a wildfire-smoke air-quality alert.
(added) YARD SALE RAISING MONEY FOR MAUI: Again today, 9 am-1 pm on 37th SW between Charlestown and Andover, proceeds go to the Maui Strong Fund.
WEST SEATTLE FARMERS’ MARKET: 10 am-2 pm, the market is open between SW Alaska and SW Oregon on California, offering summer fruit and vegetables as well as flowers, cheese, fish, meat, baked goods, condiments, fresh-cooked food, beverages (from kombucha to beer/wine), nuts, more. Here’s today’s vendor list.
HIGHLAND PARK SPRAYPARK OPEN: 11 am-8 pm daily through Labor Day, shine or rain. (1100 SW Cloverdale)
ALKI BEACH PRIDE: Noon to 7 pm, this is the ninth year for the day of celebration at the beach, this year including a street party – Alki Avenue will be closed to traffic between Marine and 60th. Event highlights:
Right after the main events, it’s on to Alki Playfield (59th/Lander) for an outdoor movie at 8 pm, “Little Richard: I Am Everything.”
LAST DAY FOR E.C. HUGHES WADING POOL: Noon-7 pm, and then this wading pool closes until next year. (2805 SW Holden)
LINCOLN PARK WADING POOL OPEN: Noon-7 pm. (8011 Fauntleroy Way SW)
COLMAN POOL OPEN: Also at Lincoln Park, this outdoor salt-water pool is open noon-7 pm daily through Labor Day. See the session schedule here.
ALKI POINT LIGHTHOUSE TOURS: Free weekly tours continue today, 1-4 pm, last tour starts at 3:45. Only two more chances this summer after today! (3201 Alki SW)
SEATTLE GRIOT PROJECT OPEN HOUSE: We’ve just learned this weekend that the landmark former church also formerly known as the Sanctuary at Admiral (42nd and Lander) is becoming the new home of the Washington State Black Legacy Institute, part of the Seattle Griot Project. You can find out about it during a 3-6:30 pm open house today, followed by a documentary screening at 7 pm
SUNSET GONG BATH & MEDITATION: 7 pm at Lowman Beach (7017 Beach Drive SW) – details in our calendar listing. $25 suggested donation.
Something for our calendar – one-time or recurring? Email us the info – firstname.lastname@example.org – thank you!
4:29 AM: A Seattle Fire “scenes of violence” response is arriving in the 4600 block of Beach Drive SW. So far all we know is they are responding to a report of a shooting. … They’re still sorting out the details and one officer has just told dispatch they’ve found shell casings in the 2400 block of Alki SW.
4:35 AM: Dispatch has just canceled the response to Beach Drive, while SFD is dealing with shooting victims in another part of the city. They also have reports of people showing up at two downtown hospitals with gunshot wounds, no word if related to this initial callout or the non-West Seattle locations with which police are dealing.
4:57 AM: No further radio exchanges explaining the Beach Drive dispatch nor further discussion of the reported Alki casings.
5:08 AM: Listening back to archived audio from the original dispatch, someone had called 911 saying they heard yelling, a shot, and a person saying they were shot in the arm; then there was a mention that the purported victim might be “on a park bench,” (That part of Beach Drive is the Me-Kwa-Mooks/Emma Schmitz Overlook area.) But no one was found in the area.
5:32 AM: Going back further into the archived audio, the Alki casings are somewhat explained – there was a dispatch around 4 am for a crowd of 50 or so people at the beach, followed moments later by multiple calls of gunfire. No one found or reported injured there; the Beach Drive call was 20 minutes later and more than a mile away.
5:50 AM: An officer just told dispatch that one of the shooting victims that showed up at Harborview Medical Center was in fact injured in the Alki gunfire, a male victim with an arm wound.