Pitching the Plastic

As part of its Zero Hunger, Zero Waste commitment, Kroger plans to eliminate single-use plastic bags from its stores by the year 2025.

“It’s a bold move that will better protect our planet for future generations,” says Kroger’s chairman and chief executive, Rodney McMullen.

According to a news release, estimates suggest that 100 billion single-use plastic bags are thrown away in the U.S. every year, and less than 5 percent of plastic bags are recycled annually. The grocery chain will “work with NGOs and community partners to ensure a responsible transition.”

The Zero Hunger, Zero Waste initiative also includes a goal to divert 90 percent of waste from landfills by 2020, and an ongoing effort to send nutritious foods to local food banks and pantries.

CAT Theatre to Close Doors After 54 Years

The final mainstage show, “Boeing-Boeing,” will run Sept. 7-22.

After 54 years, CAT Theatre – previously known as Chamberlayne Actors Theatre – has announced that it will close its doors as of Oct. 31. According to the theater’s website, the closure comes after the theater was “unable to obtain a satisfactory lease for the building.”

While financial issues played a part in CAT’s closing, immediate past president Pat Walker says it was just one contributing factor, including leasing complications with the association that owns the building.

“Both sides couldn’t come to an equitable agreement,” Walker says. “Each side wanted something the other side couldn’t give.”

Founded as a neighborhood project inside the North Henrico Civic Association Building – then called the North Chamberlayne Civic Association Building – the theater was known as a place where beginning performers could first approach the footlights.

“I always though of it as a gateway theater,” says Lynn Smith, a past president of CAT’s board of directors who first got involved after she was cast in a 1990 production of William Inge’s play “Bus Stop.” “It brings people back who have been away from theater for a while, it welcomes newcomers.”

Once the center of a community, attention and attendance waned as the neighborhood got older and patrons either died or moved away.

“The community changed, and the theater couldn’t or didn’t know how to keep up with the changes,” Walker says. Now it’s no longer filling a need.”

John Ambrose, who was involved with CAT for 23 years – including more than a decade as head of its board of directors – says the theater once was one of a handful of community theaters in the area.

“As time evolved, it became less of a neighborhood theater and more of a mainstay of the theater community,” Ambrose says. “I’m really taken aback and quite sad that something I worked on for 20-plus years is closing.”

Founded as a community theater, CAT went professional in 2000, becoming a non-profit and paying its actors and technicians. In its time, a number of Richmond theater mainstays either acted or directed on CAT’s stage, including Jacqueline Jones, Billy Christopher Maupin, Amy Berlin and Donna Marie Miller.

A phone call placed to association president Delta Bowers on Saturday night for comment was not immediately returned. CAT’s final mainstage show, “Boeing-Boeing,” will run Sept. 7-22. The theater’s last senior-focused “bifocals show,” “The Poetry Recital and Fancy Hat Society,” will play matinee and evening performances on Sept. 17.

“It makes me very sad,” says Smith, choking up on the phone. “Most of the people who have walked through those doors are now friends of mine. It’s like watching a family member die.”

Two Style Staffers Win National Altweekly Awards

Two Style Weekly staff members were honored at the annual convention of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN), held this year in San Diego, Ca.

Photographer Scott Elmquist won first place in photography circulation under 40,000 for his coverage of “The Resistance,” featuring various protests in the Richmond area.

Creative Director Ed Harrington won second place for all circulation sizes for his cartoon HR Department.

AAN is a 501c(6) organization, which represents 107 alternative newsmedia organizations throughout North America, reaching more than 38 million readers.

You can view a complete list of winners at the organization’s website here.