Marin Arts & Culture May 2017 - Page 21

What Are We Going to Play Today? Christina Stroeh: A driving force By Noah Griffin A theater is more than bricks and mortar, a stage, floodlights, a proscenium and curtains. It’s the flesh and blood of the driving forces that build, nourish and sustain it. In the case of the soon to be reopened Novato Theater, that driving force is Christina Stroeh. If that name is familiar to you, it might be for a myriad of reasons. Her dad, J. Dietrich Stroeh, is one of the foremost civil engineers in the county. And since Stroeh was a teacher for 27 years, including at Terra Linda and San Rafael High School, if you have a child who attended one of those schools, chances are she either taught them or they saw one of her productions. So who is this pert, wide-eyed dynamo who bustles with the energy and enthusiasm of someone half her age? The oldest of three sisters, Stroeh grew up in Novato, living in her imagination, and pulling her sisters right in there with her. Each day she remembers as an adventure. “What are we going to play today?” she would say. By the time she was 9 years old, her budding talents blossomed into a feature role in a 4-H production of A Bicycle Built for Two, which she remembers fondly as the childhood performance that put her on her life’s trajectory. Her maternal grandmother, Maxine Silvernale, was first violin in the Marin Symphony, so a love of the MARIN ARTS & CULTURE 21