South honors thespian legend in black box theater dedication

The rebuilt Rose Auditorium in the new addition at South Salem High School on Oct. 21, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

South Salem High School’s theater department will honor a local thespian legend Friday.

The school is dedicating its new black box theater to the late Phyllis Quanbeck, a longtime theater teacher who founded Children’s Educational Theatre, a summer program that introduces students of all ages to theater performance and technical work.

“Quanbeck, or ‘Q,’ as she was affectionately known, was an outstanding educator and community pillar in Salem for over 40 years. As the theater teacher at South Salem High School, Phyllis had a robust and inspiring theater program,” said Julianna Gibbons, South’s theater teacher, in an email.

Gibbons said South is holding a dedication for the theater Friday at 5 p.m.

The black box theater was added to South as part of a $84 million renovation completed in the fall, which also included a rebuild of the Rose Auditorium.

“Though she passed in 2017, her presence in our lives will be sustained by this dedication,” Gibbons said in an email.

The festivities will begin at 4:30 p.m. with refreshments available in the lobby. Following the dedication in the auditorium, guests can tour the new construction.

At 7 p.m., South students will begin their debut performance of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” the first show performed in the new black box theater.

Tickets and showtimes are available on the theater program website.

-Rachel Alexander