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2021 is Done! The Year in Review
December 31, 2021
Another "What a year!" Kind of Year!
Producing Artistic Director Kathleen Keenan Takes a Look in the Rear-View Mirror:
All the the Things Done in 2021 at Lost Nation Theater
Every year, I’m surprised by all that LNT manages to accomplish with our small but mighty & magical ensemble.
Even this year, despite all the challenges, I was pretty shocked at the amount of work LNT produced.
Since August 2020 (once it was absolutely clear that planning for a 'return' that year was a waste of energy), LNT has created At Least One Project A Month.
Some months, up to 3!
That's busier than we are in a "normal" year!
I was once again sent down memory lane, because I received my first request from the patient, yet persistent, Jane A - who assembles the annual report for the City of Montpelier - for Lost Nation Theater's summary.
(In a typical year, Jane asks, then cajoles, then begs for my response!)
Mostly Jane wants LNT photos. She LOVES our photos!
So let’s take a moment to remember and celebrate all LNT's done in 2021!
#1 - We Got Back On Stage! Inside! In the Theater!!
With our colleagues and with our students! And with Our Audience!!
On the Education Front:
After being online in 2020, we returned with fully in persona and hybrid programs for ages 6-adult
In the summer, with masks on and doors and windows open, our Theater Play For Everyday half-day camp returned!
Led by Taryn Noelle & Brandy Perez, ages 6-9 explored their creativity through the world of Dr Seuss' 'Oh the Places You'll Go"
Favorite comments from participants include "It Made Me Brave" "I'm less shy around new people" "I tried lots of new things"
We launched redesigned intermediate and advanced musical theater intensives for ages 10 and up, through the genre of Cabaret
Led by Erin Galligan Baldwin, Dan Boomhower & Taryn Noelle, participants got to choose the discipline they most wanted to focus:
An original fully staged and designed cabaret "In This Place" was created to showcase their work - which was live-streamed as well as performed to a small audience of family and fiends>
Students also received masterclasses from LNT artists from across the country through on-line seminars, and enjoyed special in person workshops with choreographer Isadora Snapp.
Adult education programs resumed in person in the fall with a special Improv series with guest artist Anna Rock (in town for our Shakespeare on the State House Steps)
Anna, who has shared the stage in a 2 person show with Cecily Strong, previously appeared with LNT in Pride and Prejudice.
On the Technical Front:
We invested still more in the sound system, acquiring the equipment and specialty microphones necessary for live-streaming events
Our students in the "In This Place" Cabaret Showcase were the first to benefit, but this system also allowed us to easily do the Shakespeare and All Together Now.
Acquired the adaptors necessary to turn regular lighting instruments into spotlights,
Used the repertory lighting plot put in place right before the pandemic locked the state down, to host several events (like the Suffragists Play in October) that didn't have a light design, and easily light our staged-readings
On the Performance Front:
We returned to the theater! For the first 9 months of 2021, the theater was used as a "sound stage" to produce shows and readings that were live-streamed out to "the audience at home" (A Little like the old days fo Television!)
We produced solo shows, and even a hybrid version of "Love Letters Made Easy" (in February)- where actor Emme Erdossy was live on stage in the theater and favorite LNT actors from across the country and Canada "beamed in" for their scenes.
It was quite the feat and we send special thanks to Matthew Bingnot Creations and Theater Engine for making it happen. (this allowed us to keep everyone safe by having just one actor in the theater, yet still accomplish a large cast show! Our thanks to former TD Robyn Osiecki for the idea!)
We continued to add shows and specials to our Patreon Page
We created and produced two major digital projects, including our 45 minute presentation honoring Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
The Martin Luther King Jr celebration was speared headed by Dawn Ellis with artistic directors Keenan and Bent and Shanda Williams.
The program featured fav LNT collaborators (who are BiPOC actors) reading/performing sections from Dr King's speeches that resonate most with them.
LNT also invited community members to record their favorite quotes, and many other people, performers, students, and a couple of dance classes from Moving Light and Contemporary Dance & Fitness Studio also joined in.
We helped develop 4 new plays - one of them a play we commissioned especially for Maura O'Brien about Annie Oakley
In the fall, we moved more toward "normal" - bringing in key guest artists to perform in our Shakespeare; and in the musical "All Together Now"
We also welcomed audiences back into the theater!
All Together Now - in November - was the first multi-performer, fully produced, multiple date production that LNT had been able to perform in the space in Two Years!
Check out the full list of "Mainstage" shows here
And, we once again went outside outside!
In September: with Ann Harvey, we performed Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” on the State House Steps.
The show was performed as it was in Shakespeare's Day with cue scripts in hand! Directed by Ann Harvey, the show also featured fight choreography by Dan Renkin,
original music by Kathleen Keenan, scenic design by Kim Allen Bent and costuming by Cora Fauser.
In October: Kim performed Poe’s “The Raven” from atop the City Hall portico, which we live-streamed on Facebook; for Montpelier's Moonlight Madness,
We're keeping the annual 'Stories for the Season" going - it's once again on line - for free on the website. A new story is added each week.
- All the events that happened in the space - and even outside were live-streamed (or filmed for later broadcast) This allows folks who are not yet comfortable returning to large group events, especially inside, to still experience and see the shows.
LNT in the Community
LNT commissioned, (paid for), and developed several works that were part of Montpelier's Juneteenth celebration on the State House Lawn. We also provided significant technical & logistical support.
LNT provided technical support and logistical support for the Shidaa Projects Independence Day activities on the state house lawn.
LNT provided technical & sound support for Montpelier Alive's Moonlight Madness street performances.
LNT hosted the Vermont League of Women Voters' "Suffragist Play" - with a capacity crowd - to belated celebrate the 100th Anniversary of white women gaining the right to vote.
LNT accomplished the writing of (and is using as actionable policy) its own Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Land Acknowledgement statements.
Lost Nation Theater has always strived to be there for our community, just as our community has always been there for us.
We are so grateful! We wouldn’t have made it through this past year without your support.
It's been tremendous and has kept us inspired!
I'm also excited to be able to report that thanks to your enthusiastic response/support of our December programming, Lost Nation Theater has made significant contributions to service non-profits: Good Samaritan, The Montpelier Food Pantry, and The Haven. Thank You.
So what are we going to do in 2022?
Because situations are still so volatile, LNT will be offering "memberships" (providing perks like reserved seating, discounts & VIP access) instead of Season Tickets.
We have, lots of ideas are percolating!
Full productions of shows we've been developing; More live-stream from LNT, More development of original work, the return of our Winter Break Education Production Camp, and the In Person return of Favorite Actors.
Along with the return of multi-weekend runs! And a series celebrating the culture of the Abenaki!
Details will be released in February! Stay Tuned!
Why Are We Confident We Can Do this?
Because LNT has spent 2020 and 2021 researching the best protocols for health and safety; taking industry Covid Compliance Courses and earning our certifications; AND researching the best system for air purification and/or ventilations we could install in our home within Montpelier City Hall Arts Center.
And we found something! The Synexis BioDefense Air Purification System - which neutralizes pathogens in the air, In Real time; and is safe to use while people are in the space.
It is costly, but worth it. (More details on how it works and how we hope to pay for it soon!)
The system arrived at 3pm on December 17 (just as we were getting ready for our performance of A Christmas Carol) And it will be in place before our first event in January 2022!
To all who are struggling or grieving – our hearts are with you! Here’s to a healthy and healing 2022!