Alumni-founded THEATREdART finds a home

Oct. 20, 2014

Audrey Jensen
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THEATREdART went without an official performance space from January to October 2014.

The original venue for the theater company to perform in was the Osborne Center at UCCS, then it was a building in downtown Colorado Springs and now it is a blackbox theater located at the Cottonwood Center for the Arts.

In the summer of 2007, THEATREdART changed from a group to an official local theater company. UCCS informed the volunteer-based business that they would no longer be able to provide a performance space for the group and eventually they transitioned into a new location.

CEO of downtown partnership Susan Edmonson helped the company find their most recent location. They settled on 128 N. Nevada Ave. in downtown Colorado Springs and resided there from 2007 to January 2014.

UCCS alumnus and Student Success Center employee Brian Mann is one of the founders of the company and was asked by the landlords to move out the Nevada location.

“The building itself was not suited for performance,” Mann said. “The problem was that there was a restaurant directly below us. Any movement angered them … It was largely due to the constraints of the building.”

Executive producer at THEATREdART and alumnus Tom Condas said the building was not set up to be a theater.

“We’re a theater company and we make a lot of noise,” Condas said. “The production of ‘Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat’ is the straw the broke the camel’s back …We were the second fl oor above two businesses that had a hanging ceiling and the ceiling would shake.”

THEATREdART was given one month’s notice to move out and they had two more weekends of performances to continue when they received the news. The company also ended up having to push back dates for the production of “Clockwork Orange.”

“It was not news I wanted to hear, [the company was] not entirely unprepared for it,” Mann said. “It happened at an inconvenient time but we made the most out of the situation. The last couple of shows for the season were performed at an underground bar.” Mann explained that the bar worked better for the production of “Clockwork Orange” anyway.

“We were able to strike a deal with Subterranean Nightclub,” Condas said. “We performed ‘Clockwork Orange’ and ‘Beat Generation’ there.”

Condas also said that by performing in this nightclub they were able to interact with the audience as there was not a stage to separate the actors.

THEATREdART board member Kala Roquemore helped to bring the company to the Cottonwood Center for the Arts. “We heard about it through a grapevine [of people],” Mann said, “I was hoping being at Cottonwood would work out for us, but I do not anticipate Cottonwood will be permanent either.”

Mann hopes that Cottonwood will last them a few years.

Auditions on Oct. 14 for the upcoming production “Rhinoceros,” directed by Mann, was the first time using the Cottonwood Center for the Arts.

THEATREdART is a volunteer-based company and money from ticket sales, fundraising and donations is used for equipment, rent and other expenses.

“We have a different financial situation now that is good for the company,” Mann said. “We do not have to pay rent every month, especially when we are not doing shows.”

Mann said that when performing at their previous location they were sacrificing quality for quantity. Instead of doing up to what was once nine shows in one season, they hope to perform four or five great shows per season now.

“We re-examined the way we were doing these things because of the move,” Mann said.