It is Brelby tradition to dedicate the month of November to giving a platform for our artists to share their stories. This month our annual Blogathon theme returns to its roots with a visit back to the topic of “My Brelby Story.” We’ve grown a great deal over the past few years, and many of our original bloggers have moved on to new careers, new lives, new challenges, and new cities. Enjoy this year’s series with 30 Days of Blogs.
My Brelby Story is a series of chapters, much like my life.
The last time that I wrote a #mybrelbystory blogathon post I touched on a few chapters. Our Beginnings, Initial Challenges, and Storefront Adventures.
You can read that in three parts, here, here and here.
It’s been a few years since that post…and we’ve opened and closed a few more chapters, filled with new adventures, victories, struggles, and a lot of amazing artists who have created with us along the way.
This post is going to focus on my current chapter.
It’s a chapter that I like to call “Onward and Upward.”
The past two years have been transformative for us. The “Survive So You Can Thrive” chapter. We’ve experienced hurdles that seemed insurmountable, betrayals that felt piercing, and lots of other challenges that are par for the course when you’re a small theatre who takes risks on new works. As we inch towards opening night for our final production of Season 11, what I’m struck with is the successes that we have experienced this season, and how it has positioned us for an exciting Season 12.
Brelby was known for a long time for the speed and frequency with which we produced. We have been prolific, and I’m proud of that legacy. However, reality has been rapidly approaching. The amount of work we were doing wasn’t sustainable, especially for the parents of a toddler. I’m incredibly excited to be in a position to reduce our season, to be even more intentional about the selection process, and to focus more time and energy into those productions. Next season will feature six shows. (In the thick of things, we only had two to three dark weekends in an entire year.) I am ecstatic about the implications for our show quality. I’m also completely delighted to have more time to spend with my family, to be able to have the time to support more of our fellow theatres, and to be a venue that has more rental opportunities for artists looking to mount their dream projects.
Speaking of dream projects…I’m so excited to be adding several of my producer’s bucket list shows to our roster next season. I’ve been eyeing Shakespeare in Love for years, and I can’t wait to partner with our city to make it available for free to the public. The Oregon Trail is another that I’ve been waiting patiently for, by one of my favorite playwrights, Bekah Brunstetter. She also penned one of our best received shows, Be a Good Little Widow. We’re preparing for our first tour out of the state, traveling our beautiful production of Luna & Solis. (More details on that coming soon.) I’m elated to be crossing something off of my personal bucket list…writing a musical. I’m lucky to be diving into the adventure with a dear friend, Helen Morris. Keep your eyes open for updates about Echoes as we invite you into the process with us. I have reasons to be excited for every production next season, and I hope that you do too. We’re bringing back our showdown cabarets, and we’re delighted to be offering performance space as the top prize.
My Brelby story has also led me to strengthen relationships within the greater theatre community here in AZ, and that includes stepping into my new role as the President of the ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence Board of Directors. I can’t wait to find new ways to bring our community together, to celebrate theatremakers in all genres, and to continue showing people why Arizona’s art scene is thriving. It’s led me to winning my first zoni award for original script alongside two dear collaborators, Jen Gantwerker and Jessie Tully with Return to Rosie’s Pub. It’s led to recognition from my alma mater, NAU for Outstanding Achievement (which still feels a little unbelievable…even though we’ve been at this for over a decade.)
This post has felt much more ‘stream-of-consciousness’ than I originally intended. So where is my brelby story today?
I’m optimistic for our future.
My community is one to be proud of.
My ensemble is a delightful and dedicated group that is striving to become more empathetic and cohesive creators in 2020.
My company is ready to dive into Season 12 headfirst.
I hope you’re ready for the ride.