Almost five years ago, we moved from our Minneapolis home to a house half the size in the small town of Anoka. The house has a history, because it was originally built in 1875 – suffered partial destruction in a devastating tornado in 1949 – was renovated and made ready for us as part of God’s plan for our lives in retirement. In moving to this area, it also meant retiring from my children’s theatre business, which had thrived for more than ten years. I remained retired for a year and then longed for the roar of the crowd once more. I came across a sweet theatre, not too far from home. I met with the owner, shared some memories with her and discovered that we had first met when she was in college and I was a returning student of 44. Small world, isn’t it?
She had a dream of building her own theatre company and had already established a great resource for children from K-12. This forward thinking woman had big hopes for expansion and diversity. In the short time that I’ve known her, I’ve seen her business grow into a multi-faceted operation designed to bring performing arts to life and engage the entire community. We now offer classes in dance, music, theatre, on camera work, tech and set design to all ages.
Last year about this time, she decided to expand her space and with a certain amount of risk and a lot of positive thinking, she acquired almost every inch of the building. Then the world came to a halt with COVID19. Most theatre companies closed their doors and went dark for the year following, but this amazing woman wasn’t going to let her dream die. Virtual classes were established for all age groups. The additional space was built out to accommodate future classes. When the doors open again, things will be ready and in place for future development.
One of the rooms has been built out as a little theatre for younger children. The three paintings you see above were gifted to the owner by the artist for placement in that new space. Paul did a series of these paintings for our grandchildren many years ago and continued the series with these, which will now be enjoyed by more children in the future.
I have found a new place to do theatre. I love this place, not only because of how it’s fulfilled me, but for the forward thinking of the people involved in the operation. It is truly more than a community theatre, involving all age groups of all colors and inclusive of those with special needs. It is a place where all those involved have a chance to express themselves and grow.
The name of the theatre is Northern Starz Theatre Company and is located at 5300 Alpine Drive NW, Ramsey, MN 55303. The executive director and my wonderful friend is Rachel Bohnsack. They’re always looking for support, so if you’re so inclined a donation would be greatly appreciated.