Bubbles pop, right? It's what they do. But real estate and soap aside, it seems unlikely Santa Fe's theater bubble is going to do anything but get bigger and more prismatic. Audiences are only getting larger, ticket sales are only increasing, press coverage is only widening and, once again, 50-ish weekends a year offer your choice of multiple productions of varying conceits.
Every company in town has taken a hit in the last couple years with the closure of Santa Fe University of Art and Design and the subsequent loss of its incredible performance and tech programs. Directors are taking the shift into consideration, choosing plays based on how many young people are even going to be available to fill age-specific roles. So far, we still have a decent population of 20- and 30-somethings onstage and in blacks, but let us waste no time in enjoying it, lest it dissolve—and let's also keep an eye toward the Institute of American Indian Arts (iaia.edu), which is once again offering an accredited performing arts degree.
Significant developments in our local scene also have implications that stretch far into the future. Aside from keeping your thumb on the pulse of Theatre Santa Fe, the go-to org for what's onstage and in the works, here are a few institutions to keep an eye on:
International Shakespeare Center
1213 Parkway Drive, 466-3533
In case you've been living under a rock, ISC recently took over the former Adobe Rose Theatre, dubbed it The Swan and now rejoices in having a permanent home. Upstart Crows, a students' classical theater troupe, has a bunch of shows on the docket, including comedic scenes from Monty Python and Shakespeare in July. Over the summer, ISC's Long Dead But Well-Read series presents dramatic readings of works by Shakespeare's contemporaries, then grown-up actors offer Henry IV, Part 1 and Measure for Measure in repertory in August and September.
Santa Fe Improv
Warehouse 21, 1614 Paseo de Peralta
Built into a trusted source of improvisation classes by founder Ben Taxy, local creative Kita Mehaffy has taken over SFI and now offers new classes, plus monthly performances both by advanced students and SFI teachers. SFI has set new sights on classes for teens, in line with the mission of its new home, Warehouse 21. Three-week summer camps for students take place in June 2019.
"Hopefully that will move us into regular teen programming," Mehaffy tells SFR. "There's tons of research out there … on the benefits of improv for youth, in terms of helping them encourage communication and find support in teamwork and in finding a unique creative voice."
Indeed, improv is perfect for anyone who has excess creative energy to expel, or who wants to be more creative in everyday life; for those who are shy or for those who are gregarious; experienced actors or folks who have never been onstage. It's a theater form for absolutely everyone.
The local funnypersons collective continues to keep it real with comedy open mics at 8:30 pm (you can sign up at 7:30 pm) every first and third Wednesday of the month at Chili Line Brewing Company (204 N Guadalupe St., 982-8474), as well as a smattering of events with local comics and traveling stand-ups. Founding member Evan Galpert says summer will see more one-off shows and possibly collaborations with Albuquerque comics. And, he adds, they're always looking for new people to come joke around.
New Mexico Actors Lab
Accustomed to presenting three or four shows each summer, NMAL plans to offer five in 2020, two of which will move from the company's current home at Teatro Paraguas to ISC's The Swan (formerly the Adobe Rose Theatre)—a solid growth plan from Artistic Director Robert Benedetti. This summer's shows (A Doll's House, Part 2; No Man's Land; Stop Kiss; and 4000 Miles) remain at Paraguas, but get ready to take a leap.
Visit the company's website to sign up for its email list, which gets you a chance to attend special staged readings of scripts Benedetti is considering producing. Based on audience response to these events, future seasons take shape. Now that's democracy.
Santa Fe Playhouse’s Young Playwrights Project
A new initiative from the Santa Fe Playhouse sees local energetic thespian-educators Quinn Fontaine and Marguerite Louise Scott shepherding youngsters.
In January 2019, Scott tells SFR, a handful of kids showed up to the very first YPP program—and every single one came back the next week, and some bought friends. This hearty response from students age 8-12 encouraged Fontaine and Scott to set their sights high, hoping to bring in more teachers for workshops and intensives both in acting and writing.
Over the summer, Scott says, they'd like to try out bilingual workshops, and continue the same improv and writing courses. Folks hoping to get involved should drop a line to email@example.com.