Autumn brings wonderfully diverse productions to the non-profit theatre companies in Fort Collins: Bas Bleu, the Lincoln Center, OpenStage and Debut. Each company is delving deep into what it is that makes us human, and encouraging audiences of all ages, genders and ethnicities to find an experience; more than just a play, during the broad-spectrum stories, musical offerings, dance and theatrical performances offered.
“The Lincoln Center’s mission is to lead the cultural experience and make it an essential value in Fort Collins,” said Jack Rogers, General Manager of the Lincoln Center, and Publicity & Marketing Specialist, Victoria Erickson. “We want to reach out to younger people and other communities that may not have felt welcome in the past, to think of us for something to do to have a good time. We’re offering pre-show talks (with community members who are experts in a related topic), and post-show Q&A’s (with dancers, artistic directors and choreographers) as ways for people to connect to one another.”
Their new season begins September 18th with Break of Reality, a group with three cellists and a percussionist that covers bands like Nine Inch Nails & Radiohead, at CSU’s University Center for the Arts. Rogers mentioned this as one of their many edgy offerings and said, “As millenials age, it’s important to engage them in social circles and not just the digital world, but what’s happening in the room, in the moment, right then and there. What you really remember is that face-to-face human connection.”
Reaching an even younger generation and families is Debut Theatre Company, which celebrated 25 years on August 1st. Lee Osterhout-Kaplan and her brother, Greg Osterhout, co-founded the company on their mother’s birthday in 1990. Their October show is the Colorado premiere of “The Boxcar Children.” “It will be performed by our Debut Players troupe, which is a group of young actors ages 12-17 who are our most advanced students. They take on all aspects of the production: in addition to the acting, they are also the designers, builders and running crew for the show.” This show will be held in the Magnolia Theatre at the Lincoln Center for only $8/ticket. Osterhout-Kaplan said, “It’s our mission to keep people going to the theatre and experiencing it as a family and continue the tradition of seeing and learning about yourself by seeing a story, which is how people have learned about what it is to be human since the beginning of time.”
At OpenStage, which was co-founded in 1973 by husband and wife Bruce Freestone and Denise Burson Freestone, the approach to engaging young and diverse audiences started with the new hire of Managing Director, Elizabeth Zurn. Zurn brings her expertise and youth to the company and said, “All of the plays selected for our 43rd season were suggested by our audience and community, and titles include some of the most compelling work onstage anywhere in the country. Our audience also commanded the return of openstage etc, an intimate theatrical series where we are freed from the burden of spectacle to focus on the human experience that theatre reflects so well.” Freestone and Zurn agreed that OpenStage is, “Committed to keeping theatre relevant; to understand self, community, the world. We can change our community through the art of theatre by sharing different lives to make people more tolerant, broad minded and civil, and nurture an environment that embraces diversity in ethnicity and thought. It helps people resolve conflict on a different level. Change happens first at a local level.” OpenStage shows will also be held in the Magnolia Theatre beginning with “Stage Kiss” opening on September 5th.
Wendy Ishii, Founder of Bas Bleu Theatre said, “As always, our focus is to explore meaningful works from the contemporary and classical repertories, while striving for theatrical excellence, ingenuity and surprise. We try to offer a season of ‘something for everyone,’ with a range of choice that will keep patrons thinking and talking about what they see onstage for days afterward. We look to spark conversations of emotional depth and relevancy to today’s pressing issues.”
Bas Bleu will also offer post-show conversations during the run of ‘The Outgoing Tide,’ opening September 12th, art in the Gallery Bleu, improv, concerts, poetry/prose readings, community-wide acting classes, and other one-of-a-kind events.
Getting involved with theatre and the arts means getting in touch with yourself, your community and experiencing real-life inspired stories being created in front of your very eyes. Give yourself this gift and feel the connections with others ignite your life!
For complete season lineups visit:
Bas Bleu: basbleu.org
Debut Theatre: debuttheatre.org
Lincoln Center: lctix.com