Guest blogger Monika Browne on Devising it Her Way

On Devising It Your Way
by Monika Browne

FB_IMG_1435239573810-1Many people ask what’s so special about Fargo. It’s in North Dakota – aka the freezer of the US – hours away from any major city, and there are few nationally-recognized cultural entities to draw artists for fame and fortune. In fact Fargo sees a drain of young artists who get their education here but want to spread their wings in places which can foster success, like Los Angeles and New York.

But there is a competitive venture growing in Fargo, which has its eyes set on making fulfilling artistic work possible for artists in the region: Theatre B. Continue reading

‘The Art of Bad Men’ Cast List

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There was a tremendous amount of talent at auditions for The Art of Bad Men, which made making decisions challenging. Please join us on July 27th for conversation with the playwright, Vincent Delaney, and Mark Peihl from the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County about the story and facts behind The Art of Bad Men.

The Art of Bad Men cast:

Gerhardt:  Taylor Schatz
Kurt:  Luke Smit
Franz:  Cameron Wintersteen
Harvey:  Scott Ecker
Cordelia:  Clare Geinert
Emma:  Monika Browne

Written by Vincent Delaney
Directed by Sally Story

Devise it your way

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Join us for Devised Theatre Training!

Lead by Chelsea Pace

June 1 – 14, 2015 (6:30pm-10:00pm weeknights, 11am-6pm weekend days, no class June 7)

What does it take to tell the stories you want to tell? What tools do you need to create your own works of theatre?

This hands-on workshop will immerse you in the collaborative practice of devising theatre. Over the course of two weeks you will

  • Train in techniques such as Laban, LeCoq, and Viewpoints
  • Build skills in compositional systems
  • Explore structure and text
  • Create pieces with collaborators from the group

Expect to work hard and play hard for the two week session. Continue reading

Announcing Our 2015-2016 Season!

The Ensemble of Theatre B is proud to announce programming for our 13th Season, which includes our first commissions, our first devised pieces, two world premieres, community collaborations, and the second year of the WinterArts Festival.

 Mainstage

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Continue reading

Meet the Artist: Darcy Bakkegard

Darcy

Darcy Bakkegard

Making her Theatre B debut directing Christopher Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Darcy Bakkegard is no stranger to the theatre. A graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead’s theatre program, she is currently in her first year as the Director of Theatre/English Teacher at West Fargo High School, where she directed The Government Inspector this fall and helped choreograph Beauty & the Beast in conjunction with Sheyenne High School. This after two years spent teaching theatre in Istanbul. We sat down with Darcy to find out more about, well, Darcy.

Theatre B (TB): When did you discover your love of theatre?

Darcy Bakkegard (DB): I realized it during my junior/senior summer in high school. I got to be a part of the Straw Hat Players, and it was exhausting. Like, 80 hour weeks. But I got home and realized I didn’t want to do anything else, I wanted to do it again right away.

I wanted to go to DePaul (in Chicago) for college. I didn’t tell my parents, and I went and bought a plane ticket to Chicago and got a hotel room so I could audition at DePaul. It’s the naughtiest thing I did in high school, and all in the name of theatre. Continue reading

A Sense of Place

Main Avenue TheatreIt was always our intention to establish a theatre in a storefront or warehouse. Our founders had all worked in such venues in other cities and had seen how these ventures added vitality to the neighborhood. When Theatre B was established, it was clear that the community was ready for that kind of revitalization. Over the past 12 years (10 of which have been in our current building at 716 Main) we’ve helped develop cultural and economic activity in a neighborhood once full of empty buildings. We’ve helped downtown become a vibrant center to a growing town, and that renaissance is ongoing.

However, as property values rise dramatically, we are being priced out of the market. With our rent increasing 125% in the past two years, it’s uncertain how long our little theatre at 716 will remain viable. 331060_10150376426655999_527900257_o

In order to help us explore the questions of whether, where, and when to move, Theatre B is bringing in Artspace Projects from Minneapolis. Artspace is America’s leader in artist-led community transformation.

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Artspace will visit this spring to conduct stakeholder meetings and undertake preliminary site analysis. Depending on what we learn, we may bring them back to conduct an operational analysis and feasibility study.

Our Ensemble and Board are also hard at work articulating our vision for the future and what we need to make it happen. That work is ongoing, but we know that it is a future where artists and storytellers are central in creating a sense of place.

This is an uncertain moment, but it is full of incredible possibility. If you would like to participate in stakeholder meetings and help us explore the possibility of a new home, please let us know by emailing us at info@theatreb.org. Meetings will be held May 11 and May 12.

The Community Creativity Cohort!

Today the Bush Foundation named Theatre B as a member of the Community Creativity Cohort. This honor carries with it the opportunity to be in community with 15 other extraordinary organizations from across the region as well as a $100,000 unrestricted, one-time grant award. Our Ensemble and Board wants to send out a big thank you to the Bush Foundation for the honor!

Ensemble and Board new shirts

Theatre B’s Ensemble and Board

Our Executive Director, Carrie Wintersteen, offers some perspective on this opportunity:

A Note from Carrie

You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety. – Abraham Maslow

“In its 13 years, Theatre B has had fairly steady, incremental growth. There have been a few spurts, but for the most part, we plant what seeds we can and harvest in equal measure. As a nonprofit, there is never much to store up for a rainy day, but fortunately we are not going hungry.

“ArtsLab gave us our biggest growth spurt, with financial support and, more importantly, training and guidance to help us thrive. In one season both our budget and our audience participation doubled, and we hired our first staff member. Giving Hearts Day was our first big fundraising activity. When we began participating three years ago, we had hopes of buying new seats, paying artists, and hiring more staff. Then our building was sold and our rent doubled. We made modified investments in artists and staff, but our patrons still must endure the coziness of our 1970’s-era seating. Continue reading

A little ‘Variation’

Thanks to The Forum’s John Lamb for a great article about Linda Boyd, appearing in 33 Variations.

A little ‘Variation': FMSO director Boyd steps into spotlight with dramatic debut

Linda Boyd, Jay Nelson and John N. Roberts in ’33 Variations’. Photo by David Samson / The Forum

In her day job as the executive director of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra, Linda Boyd does the bulk of her work behind the scenes, occasionally taking the stage at concerts for announcements or to bring flowers out for the featured guest artist.

It’s Boyd who will be front and center Friday night when “33 Variations” opens at Theatre B. Playing Katherine Brandt, a driven musicologist studying Ludwig van Beethoven’s obsession with a waltz, Boyd steps into the spotlight for the first time in a dramatic role.

“This has been the most incredible experience,” Boyd says.

It’s an experience that goes back about four years, when Theatre B’s Carrie Wintersteen first showed her a script for the Moisés Kaufman play to see if there would be interest in the symphony and theater working together on a production.

They were each so excited about the prospect that a whole Winter Arts Festival was formed to give people something to get out and see and hear in February. Beethoven Fest, which kicked off Saturday with an all-Beethoven concert from the FMSO, continues this week with a family concert called “Meet Mr. Beethoven” on Thursday night and the regional premiere of “33 Variations” on Friday.

From the moment Boyd read the script, she told herself, “I have to play this part.”

You can read the entire article at The Forum’s website.

Your Story of Impact

Hi there, this is Scott Horvik, and I have a request for you. I’m hoping you can help us tell the Theatre B story. Is there a specific Theatre B production or event that spoke to you? I’m excited to read your stories and put your words with our photos to give people a better understanding of Theatre B. The quote on the attached photo came from Megan Orcholski, who shared her thoughts about how our fall production of Wit affected her. She was kind enough to let us share her story:

Would you please share your story with us? We’ve set up a simple form to make it as easy as possible.

Thanks for your time. See you at B!

Coffee with Carrie, pt 1

From the Desk of Carrie Wintersteen, Executive Director:

Coffee with Carrie

photo by Michael Benedict

Everywhere I go I run into people I know. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say I meet people who think they know me because they sit in the audience and see me on stage at Theatre B. I enjoy these brief encounters, but rarely do I get a chance to have a real conversation and get to know these patrons.

So I am inviting people to come to coffee once a week, beginning in January. I will start by blowing my New Year’s Resolution workout at Nichole’s on Wednesday, January 7th at 10:30am. The next week I’ll have an afternoon pick-me-up at Babb’s on Thursday, January 15th at 3:30pm.

Please feel free to stop by and join me. I look forward to visiting with you. And don’t be surprised if a Theatre B Board member calls you to invite you personally. The Board is on deck to make sure I don’t sit alone in coffee shops too much.

Hope to see you at the coffee shop!
Carrie