We are the North West Passage Theater Collective (NWP for short) and we’ve been to Off Broadway in NYC and back again in pursuit of our passion to empower actors, directors and writers through classes, lab work, festivals and productions. We also aim to bring a new group of actors aboard the good ship Northwest Passage. We are committed to paying actors and to offering affordable theater training.
In our experimental theater laboratory--NWP Theater Lab--actors have been training since august in the craft of physical acting. Our upcoming production of MONSTERS! at iDiOM Theater will be the groups first performance after half a year in the studio.
OUR MISSION is to make better actors, writers, directors, and better theater--to offer a new season of classes and lab work, festivals, and productions, and to bring a new group of actors aboard the good ship Northwest Passage. We are committed to paying actors and to offering affordable theater training.
OUR DREAM for this coming year is expand our program to train playwrights and directors, to bring working professionals to our local community to train our students and lab members, to start a youth training program, and to create an opportunity for actors to travel and perform in a new NYC theater festival.
THE NEXT STEP for us is to raise money for theater rentals and actor stipends, so we can bring on a new group of lab members and begin expanding our class repertoire for the fall of 2014.
OUR COMPANY is made up of our lab members who train every week in physical acting. Together this group of seven has a century of theater experience. This year our senior lab members will begin teaching classes, and a new group of actors will begin training in The LAB.
NORTHWEST PASSAGE has done a great deal of work in the short time it has been around. Aside from our ongoing experimental theater lab and actor training, we have put up two 48-HOUR Theater festivals, put up an Off-Broadway Shakespeare production and two new translations of classical works. April will bring our first devised piece and the first production from our lab-- MONSTERS!
OUR FACULTY is made up of working professionals. Acting classes are taught by founder Glenn Hergenhahn-Zhao (TESC, iDiOM Theater) and Sean Cook (WWU, SAG, AEA). Raven Burnet (WWU, Columbia U.) teaches our current writing program, and Rich Brown (WWU, U. of Oregon) taught this year's Viewpoints class. Several of our LAB members will join our faculty in the coming year.
BELLINGHAM is a city that is fast developing a genuine performing arts and film community. Outside the local University, there has been little opportunity for actors, writers, and directors to study and train. Though NWP started as an organization dedicated to bringing Northwest WA productions and plays to NYC, its focus has shifted to providing training for local actors in Bellingham. We love this city, and look forward to being a part of its future as a destination for great theater!
THE MONEY raised in this campaign will go to paying actor stipends, creating a new translation and devised work, paying rehearsal rent, bringing out-of-town professionals to teach weekend workshops, and providing free classes to working actors - making Bellingham a better place for actors and audiences alike!
Risks and challenges
Our challenge is to change the landscape of theater training in Bellingham. Actors are beginning to see the importance of honing their craft, and our community is genuinely excited about new classes and new work being put up.
Like many things in theater, the challenge is getting support and subsidy to make our work sustainable. Our commitment to paying actors offers a constant struggle. We believe the best place to get support for our efforts is the local community, individuals, and local businesses who see first-hand the positive effects of what we do.
Keeping theater and classes affordable and accessible while respecting artists as working professionals is an incredible hard equation to reconcile.
Our project (and theater in general) needs community support. We need to get the community to see that what we do is essential and worth supporting, that actors deserve to be paid. The best way to do that is to train amazing actors and put up shows that leave no doubt that they have made the community and the world a better place.
All of us at Northwest Passage have a long connection to this community and an understanding of the challenges facing theater companies here. We believe creating productions and programs and classes that are not just adequate or interesting, but amazing and essential is the answer to a whole range of problems facing theater.
Make an amazing show and your problems of attendance will not be problems. Teach and amazing class and word travels across the campuses and the stages of our town.
It may sound simple to say that creating amazing work is the solution to theater's problems, and it is. It is not, however, easy. It takes time, hard work, talent, craft, dedication, and support. Our challenge is to stay diligent in our efforts as we build support for the work we do.
We will continue to do what we love to do, and it is our hope that our supporters will continue to find us.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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