Mission -- Statement of Purpose:
Old Town Actors Studio is a center for theatre performance, production, education, training, and experimentation. By presenting both classical and new theatre work, OTAS showcases quality theatre arts that strengthen and challenge both the artist and the audience. Old Town Actors Studio's mission is to highlight theatre that challenges and unites varying idologies, diversities, and cultures to create an intimate experience between artists and southeastern Idaho audiences.
In August, 2008, five local theatre junkies--Skip Carter, Sherri Dienstfrey, Camile Carter, Angeline Underwood, and Jamie Romine--faced the choice of walking away from their addiction or choosing to wallow in the throes of late-stage thespian-ism. They formed the Old Town Actors Studio. Their assorted spouses and partners went along as co-dependents.
Pocatello already had an excellent dinner theatre with the West Side Players. Family-friendly theatre and musicals had homes at the Gateway Theatre and The Mystique. Theatre ISU had reduced its theatre productions. So the folks who created OTAS wanted to do pretty much whatever they wanted with people who shared their enthusiasm and drive. The first year tended toward the serious -- maybe even depressing. The mood has lightened since--okay, it's true that OTAS scheduled 'Night Mother on Mother's Day weekend and Richard III on Fathers' Day, 2010, but those were accidents. Also, irony is funny! ...right?
So at seven years and counting, OTAS does old shows. Medea, a Greek tragedy from 431 BCE, is an extreme case, but there has been a lot of Shakespeare. OTAS also does brand-new shows like Circle Mirror Transformation, Tweed is Orange, and Ideation. Itstill does serious-- Wit, Corpus Christi, among others--but also silly, as in Much Ado About Nothing, Comedy of Errors, Bus Stop.
We have had some wonderful, original pieces created just for OTAS. Bridget Close's Vortex, among other amazing physical theatre pieces she has created for us. And Julie Leir-VanSickle's always delightful Burlesques. And Ted Bonman has delighted us with his improvisational shows, like Twilight Zone Improv.
So far, then, so good. While OTAS has paid the rent, covered the royalties, and has extended its lease, it will be several more years before we will look to an indefinite future. But as long as the OTAS folks maintain our enthusiasm and audiences are large enough to pay expenses, OTAS will continue to provide a distinctive theatre experience for Pocatello. We thank our audiences for their support. And we will keep some of the theatre junkies off the streets.