25 years ago, a group of young graduates from New York came to the Midwest and performed plays in an empty storefront on 13th Street. 7 years ago, that company was on the brink of extinction. Today, The BLUEBARN Theatre has not only survived but thrived as an artistic organization at a time when many other groups across the country struggle to exist. For Artistic Director Susan Clement-Toberer, the key to the theatre’s success has been its unwavering dedication to its artistic heart.
“We try really hard to let our art lead us,” said Clement-Toberer. “Our business practices follow our artistic lead. We will always lead from an artistic standpoint and drive the BLUEBARN ship from a passion point of view.”
“We don’t choose our seasons simply because our audience will like them. We choose our seasons because we are impassioned when we read these plays. We feel something. We’re provoked. And we trust our audience to know that if we choose from an authentic point of view artistically that our audience will be thrilled. Their experience in the BLUEBARN seats will be like nothing else they experience in Omaha. That’s where we’ve really gotten our business practices up. We’ve got a small but mighty team that allows us to make sure our art and our business are equal.”
Clement-Toberer then smiled and said, “Well, the art will always be a little further ahead.”
The key, Clement-Toberer said, is the focus on presenting theatre to an audience that changes their perspective on what the artform is and how it can affect society in present day. It’s also a reason why local actors like Ablan Roblin keep coming back to work at the theatre. Roblin is currently performing in the BLUEBARN’s production of God of Carnage.
“From an actor’s standpoint, it’s about the truth of the work,” Roblin said. “I feel challenged in every right way when I work here. I feel like I should be thinking, exploring, and pushing all the time. When it’s all said and done, I walk away and feel like I’ve learned something and that I have grown as an actor. I would imagine thats the same way the audience feels when they see a performance. They think, they are challenged, the work is true and honest. That’s a unique experience.”
Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to firstname.lastname@example.org