An abundance of groups and plays leads to problems
A COLLABORATION AMONG all the theater groups in Marquette?
Maybe. A meeting’s been set up for January 14th to see if something can be worked out.
The problem is this: We have a ridiculous wealth of theater in this town–seven theater groups. Namely, NMU, Lake Superior Theater, UP Shakespeare Festival, the Wolf’s Head Theater, the Superior Arts Youth Theater, the Vista Theater (Negaunee), and the Rocky Horror Show.
Together they put on more than 30 plays and musicals a year.
That means they’re frequently competing for actors, space, audiences, and money.
“Maybe it might seem like we’re competing,” says Jamie Weeder, the artistic director for UPShakes and Wolf’s Head, “but our missions are different. We’re very diverse. I don’t get the sense that we’re really competing with each other.”
“Bug,” a production by Wolf’s Head Theater in 2018.
Weeder’s the one who has called for the meeting. She’s hoping maybe the groups, actors, directors, and all the technical personnel can work out a long term plan to benefit all of them. A plan to better share rehearsal space economically. A unified audition among the groups to give the actors more freedom and avoid conflicts between the plays. A performance schedule that wouldn’t involve direct conflicts.
“Anything we can do together would be fabulous,” says Peggy Frazier, the Lake Superior Theater board president. “We’re all in the same boat together and we’re facing the same issues.”
Frazier, herself, won’t be at the meeting because she’s in Florida but some of her board members, along with their actors, will be. Frazier suggests that it might be best to have an outside facilitator–someone not directly connected with any of the groups–lead the meeting. Weeder’s working on it.
“The Full Monty,” performed by NMU this year.
NMU’s the big dog in this mix. Their theater department has the resources, the space, and the money. But they’ve also got responsibilities to their students and the university which might make them less flexible and less able to work with the other groups.
We’ll see. The meeting’s scheduled for January 14th, 6 pm, 129 West Baraga, the conference room. (That’s in the Children’s Museum building.)
A new director for the market is needed
ONE OF THE forces behind Marquette’s remarkably successful Farmers Market is leaving.
Myra Zyburt, who’s been the director of the market for the last seven years, is heading to Steilacoom, Washington after the start of the year. Why? Well, she’s got family there and a few opportunities and….she’s getting a little tired of the winters here.
Regrets? Absolutely. “I love market day here, seeing all the people and the vendors. Just the vibrancy of it all,” she tells us.
She’ll be missed. A search for her successor is underway.
By the way, the last Saturday Market is tomorrow. Twenty-six vendors still hanging in there, and yes, they’re still selling vegetables, meats, bakery goods, coffee, and crafts.