It was ten years ago when I walked through a garage door in downtown Omaha into a place I’d never been. I was a scrawny teenager that had just recently discovered this wonderful form of storytelling called theatre. A few friends invited to see a late-night show entitled WYZK: Radio Trauma, housed inside of The Bluebarn Theatre by a collective calling themselves The Witching Hour. With voices lined up behind the audience (shouting and whispering into microphones statements both profound and meaningless), performers reacting to their commands and requests in an adaptation of a classic text, what I witnessed changed my view of theatre’s possibilities.
As I began to explore theatre, I had the opportunity to briefly work inside the group, attempting new tactics and creating shows that occasionally hit a chord with audiences: a musical about sex, a choose your own adventure book come to life, and a neo-futurist offering of 30 original plays in 60 minutes. But, as is the case for so many artistic experiments driven by youth, turnover and change are a necessary constant.
The Witching Hour has seen its fair share of participants come and go over the last decade, with current Artistic Director Jenny Pool holding the longest tenure of anyone. The last decade has seen tremendous growth for both the experimental theatre group and its umbrella company, The Bluebarn. With that in mind, each group announced that the time has come for The Witching Hour to spread its wings and live on its own.
“It is with a mix of emotions that Witching Hour announces our plans to separate from the Bluebarn Theatre.” Pool said in a statement. “The Bluebarn has been instrumental in helping us grow as a company and as artists, and has been incredibly supportive of us for the last ten years. Now, as we move on to new adventures, they remain some of our greatest allies. We could not be who we are today without them, and we will be forever grateful.”
Both Pool and Bluebarn Artistic Director Susan Clement-Toberer said they are excited for the opportunities this new arrangement will have for both companies.
The Witching Hour will return in July with their annual summertime Christmas spectacular The Witching Hour Christmas Rumpus.
Bluebarn’s latest production of Gnit by Will Eno runs through March 16th.
Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to firstname.lastname@example.org