Orange Theatre: 2014 Big Brain Awards Finalist, Performing Arts (VIDEO)
You submitted nominations for awards given to the Valley's emerging creatives, and the results are in. Introducing our 2014 Big Brain finalists.
Katie Johnson The Orange Theatre group attending an evening rehearsal at Phoenix Center for the Arts.
Describing Orange Theatre is a bit difficult.
"It's cross-disciplinary," says artistic director Matt Watkins. "It's multimedia. It incorporates film and TV. It incorporates computers, technology, the Internet, dance, visual art . . ."
Orange Theatre can't be confined to a single genre of theater -- or even a single space for that matter. The troupe had lacked a permanent home for rehearsals and performances up until April 1, when it announced via Facebook that it had finally found a new downtown Phoenix home off of Grand Avenue at 1711 West Culver Street, suite 15.
Katie Johnson From left to right: media designer, Tucker Bingham, associate artistic director, Joya Scott, and technical director, Stephen Christensen
Moving from place to place is nothing new for the experimental theater group, which evolved from a small ASU play reading group on Tempe's Orange Street. Facing the financial challenges of being a not-for-profit but not tax-exempt organization, Orange has relied heavily on grants to fund its shows and the generosity of business owners for places to practice and perform them. The troupe has performed at various spaces, including Bragg's Pie Factory and Levine Machine. They currently practice at the Phoenix Center for the Arts and plan to move to their new space in May.
"I don't think we ever really sat down and said, 'Let's start a theater company,'" says Watkins, who unintentionally founded Orange Theatre with his thesis production of Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida.
With years of play production under their belts and of all of the seven-person team working other jobs to pay the bills (both Watkins and technical director Steve Christensen work at other theaters), Orange Theatre has become their sole avenue for performing theater that interests them: The kind that's more about the act of performing in the present moment.
Orange Theatre: Inside the Big Brain 2014 Finalist's Creative Space from Voice Media Group on Vimeo. Video by Evie Carpenter.