You may have noticed not much is happening in the Northern Colorado theatrical scene, but there’s still plenty going on behind the curtains.
Colorado Gives Day on Dec. 8 offers us an excellent opportunity to get a status update on three well-known companies. We recently checked in with OpenStage, Bas Bleu, and Debut theatre companies and were delighted to find they are still hard at work.
OpenStage Theatre is hard at work preparing for potential productions this spring and celebrating their 50th anniversary (Yes, that’s 5-0!) in 2023.
Producing Artistic Director Sydney Parks Smith proudly points to OpenStage’s recent fundraising brochure featuring a bevy of company members wearing boxing gloves.
“The concept behind the brochure is that we are fighting for 50, fighting to still offer quality theatre into our 50th year and beyond,” said Parks Smith. “We are fighting for our artists, who are the soul and passion of our art. We are fighting for our audiences, who are the heart and lifeblood our art. And we are fighting for the joy and compassion that our art nurtures in the Northern Colorado community.”
Last year, OpenStage founders Denise and Bruce Freestone turned over the company’s reigns to the next generation, but the 2020 pandemic put a temporary kibosh on many of their plans. The company gave up its splendid new office and pared down the staff, but Parks Smith exhibits enough energy to make sure those boxing gloves stay firmly in place.
“I’m too stubborn to let OpenStage die,” laughs Parks Smith.
OpenStage is hoping to produce outdoor plays for next spring, as well as a safe way to produce a play or two in Bas Bleu Theatre’s space at 401 Pine St., in the burgeoning Downtown River District.
“I think the thing that’s important right now is for local non-profits to help each other survive,” said Parks Smith. “Nobody wins when an arts group closes. The entire arts community is better with more culture.”
Meanwhile, Bas Bleu has begun work on outdoor spaces for use by Northern Colorado’s cultural community.
Founder and Artistic Director Wendy Ishii said, “I recently had a crew of woodcutters out to open up my nearly three-acre (Laporte) property so we can do things in my yard. It’ll be a circle, and I’ll plant trees around it to set it off. We’ll also do a ‘faery’ garden for dark works, puppetry, and such.”
Ishii is talking with OpenStage and Debut theatre companies about using the space. “Perhaps we could perform in repertory, with each company putting on a show on different weekends.”
Also, Bas Bleu is in early discussions with Opera Fort Collins to perform the opera “Scalia/Ginsburg” in the circular space. The modern opera looks at the longstanding friendship between Chief Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Ishii’s motto for the year is similar to that of OpenStage’s “Fighting for 50.”
“All year, I’ve been thinking about…
Go to the news source: Northern Colorado Theatre Companies Looking Past COVID-19