It’s been another incredible year at Theatre B. Our Ensemble is proud to make this their artistic home and we are so grateful for this community that has nurtured us.
We spent January putting together our production of Gruesome Playground Injuries, a play that our dear friend Matthew Burkholder had championed before he passed away. From our blog: “Asked why Gruesome is a part of Theatre B’s 11th season, director Pam Strait had this to say: ‘Gruesome, well, it’s in the season because Matthew loved it. This show is in our season because it was in his heart.'”
We also started the process of hiring artistic staff for the BEAT program and our summer collaboration with North Dakota Governor’s School.
The preparations for Giving Hearts Day went into full swing.. Ensemble Member Tucker Lucas made some incredible videos about the impact our little theatre has, including this one on some powerful productions:
February brought the production of Gruesome Playground Injuries, a two-hander with Christina Johnson and Taylor Schatz.
We participated in Giving Hearts Day, collaborating with the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre and the Fargo-Moorhead Opera, raising over $15,000 to fuel our mission. Carrie was very happy!
We cast our production of Clybourne Park, a wickedly funny and fiercely provocative play about race, real estate, and the volatile values of each is inspired by Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun.
We announced our 12th Season, including Wit, Storefront Church, 33 Variations, and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.
Work started in earnest on Clybourne Park, including building the largest set we’ve ever had at Theatre B. It also had the second biggest cast of any Theatre B Mainstage show, so it was a huge undertaking.
April and May featured the run of Clybourne Park, the “spiritual sequel” to the acclaimed 1959 Lorraine Hansberry play A Raisin in the Sun, in which a black family struggles with a move into a predominantly white neighborhood in Chicago. The events in the first act of Clybourne Park run parallel to A Raisin in the Sun and the second act takes place in 2009, where the neighborhood has transformed into a black neighborhood while a white family is poised to move into the neighborhood, mirroring the first act.
Theatre B was an invited artistic organization for North Dakota State University’s Symposium ‘Playing on Common Ground’.
Our collaboration with North Dakota Governor’s School and NDSU’s Department of Theatre Arts started. 15 incredible High School students trained and created with the Theatre B ensemble and guest director Melissa Flower.
And, yes, there was a live band. Concordia professor Colin Holter reconfigured traditional wedding music and made sure everyone was part of the band.
We also participated in the first Unified Audition with Tin Roof and FMCT.
We took the show on the road!
There were performances of Big Love in Lisbon, Bismarck, Wishek, Minot, Williston, and Fargo with over 500 people sitting in a circle outside and witnessing. Thankfully the weather held for each and every performance. The parents of the students also fed us well at every stop.
We had our Annual Season Preview party at the Impact Foundation / DMF building.
We received a Bush Foundation / Consensus Council Community Innovation Grant for our collaboration with the Embrace Cancer Survivorship Program around Wit, which we put together in August and early September.
Our season opened with Wit, with performances at Theatre B, and at Sanford’s Downtown hospital for staff, medical residents, and nursing students.
Ensemble Member and Executive Director Carrie Wintersteen turned in an acclaimed perfomance as Vivian Bearing, Ph.D.
We also received an incredible national honor with a National Theatre Company Grant from the American Theatre Wing, the host organization of the Tony Awards.
Rehearsals for Storefront Church went into full swing.
Wit went to the UND School of Medicine for performances for 1st year students and the public.
The Arts Partnership’s Community Supported Art came to Theatre B for a reading of Ray Rea’s play in development The Sweet New.
Storefront Church opened after Thanksgiving. A powerful story with a fantastic mulit-cultural cast came to life for 5 weeks.
The second Unified Audition took place, filling up the casts for 33 Variations and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.
We received an Art Works Award from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the Incubator Series for new work premiere of The Art of Bad Men, by Vincent Delaney. Based on interviews with former German prisoners of war, the play is a true story about prisoner of war camps in Northern Minnesota during World War II.
Rehearsals for 33 Variations began and are in full swing.
Thanks for joining us, and here’s to another crazy creative year at Theatre B!