Today I’m making the bittersweet announcement that I will be stepping down from my role as the Associate Artistic Director of Collective Unconscious Performance. I am moving to Massachusetts this fall and will no longer be able to carry on my regular duties from that distance. I will remain a Core Collaborator with the company for the next year, mostly to finish up some artistic and administrative projects that were delayed by the pandemic.
Leaving is the bitter part, but reflecting on my time with Collective Unconscious Performance is oh, so sweet! I met David through E.W. Porter, the master stitcher behind many puppet gowns and the costume designer for Maiden Voyage. What began as an informational interview about their graduate school experience at a Caribou Coffee in a suburban strip-mall, turned into a six year mentorship, collaboration, and friendship. A year after that first meeting, David invited me to participate in an early workshop for the first draft of the sleeping beauty in the wood. (That’s me, kneeling in the front.)
I remember shivering on the concrete floor of (what was then) the Savage Umbrella (now Umbrella Collective) rehearsal space (which now belongs to SYT and where last fall’s production of Into the Darkness took place). It was cold that winter, but I also remember how warmly David invited everyone to play, explore, and create without judgement. We created stunning stage pictures on those chilly December evenings that eventually morphed into beautiful and terrifying moments in the 2016 production, which I had the privilege of assistant directing and stage managing.
In 2018, after a few years of collaborating, assistant directing, and stage managing, David asked me to join the company in a leadership capacity. I was thrilled to help Collective Unconscious Performance grow, and to give back to a company that had given me so much. My work as the Associate Artistic Director may not have been very flashy, but I’m incredibly proud of what I accomplished. I worked with David to refine and expand our social media presence. I collaborated with our legal advisor to create a company handbook and a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statement, which we planned to implement at the start of Maiden Voyage rehearsals. I updated our box office and house management systems, and digitized our company records. I’ve been a part of every production since 2016 in some capacity: the sleeping beauty in the wood, Skins, Little Red, Le Cirque Féerique, and Into the Darkness.
My proudest accomplishment - conceiving, directing, and developing the script for Maiden Voyage (a new play written by Rachel Teagle) - may not have premiered this past spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but without the company’s support, the project would have never made it as far as it did. I sincerely hope that I can return to Minnesota within the next year so that I can still share this beautiful new play with all of you.
Before I leave, I have to extend my greatest thanks to David. Without their guidance, constructive feedback, and support, I doubt I would still be working in theatre. David was able to see past the blind ambition and naiveté of a recent college graduate, and help mold that nervous energy into the confident artist that I am today.
Unlike a fairy tale, I can’t ask a magical godmother or omnipotent narrator to tell you what happens next. And like many storybook characters, I’m also not exactly sure what dragons or mystical treasures are waiting at my destination. I know I am moving to Cambridge, MA this fall. David and I have been preparing for this journey for a long time, since my partner got a job in Boston and has been living out there for over a year. Back in February, I was meeting with directors and writers in the Boston area about possible collaborations, convinced that 2020 was the year I plunged into the world of freelancing. With all the new uncertainty in the world, however, I’m embracing the opportunity to start the next chapter without a plan. Inspired by the fierce pirates we wanted you to meet this spring, I’m going to see where the wind takes me.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.