Tag Archives: Toy Boat Theatre

The Other Country – The Story of Thea & Andrew Foss

26 Jun

The Other Country is a community-based, site-specific event, placing the memorable Thea Foss story squarely in its original and authentic setting. The production will take place both inside and outside the dynamic and historic Foss Waterway Seaport, with five shows on August 10-13 (patron preview on August 10 is sold out.)  This play celebrates our diverse backgrounds, the spirit of a strong female entrepreneur, and the enduring beauty and power of Puget Sound.

Spanning from 1880-1927, The Other Country encompasses Thea’s humble beginnings in Norway, her marriage to Andrew Foss, and her family’s subsequent immigration to the United States.  Once settled in Tacoma, this practical, intelligent, and determined woman began a small Puget Sound boat business.  Due to Thea’s tenacity and business acumen, and with the help of her husband and children, this eventually became the famous Foss Maritime Company, which continues to thrive.

A diverse company has been cast of  twenty local actors and singers of multiple ages and local cultures and heritages, reflective of the “immigrants from many countries” referenced by Thea in her letters home, accompanied by 2 area musicians.  The Other Country,  produced by Nancy Bourne Haley, will be co-directed by Marilyn Bennett and Suzy Willhoft, artistic directors of the independent theatre companies Toy Boat Theatre and Found Space Productions, musically directed by Debbie Birkey and with costumes by Alex Lewington.

What: The Other Country
Where: Foss Waterway Seaport, 705 Dock Street
When: August 11 @ 7 pm, August 12 @ 2 pm & 7 pm, August 13 @ 2 pm
Tickets: $10, available online at brownpapertickets.com or, if available, at the door (cash only)

To keep up to date, visit the Foss Waterway Seaport website or Facebook

 

The Backstory to The Other Country

First remembered as the character Annie Brennan in a series of stories in the Saturday Evening Post in the late 1920’s, Thea Foss came to America’s notice in film and TV as “Tugboat Annie” between 1930 and 1950. In 2006, local filmmakers Nancy Bourne Haley and Lucy Ostrander researched and co-produced a film, Finding Thea, about this remarkable woman and her Norway-to-the-Pacific-Northwest saga.

In 2009 the film was aired on Norwegian national television and caught the attention of playwright Kristin Lyhmann, who was inspired to write Det Andre Landet — The Other Country, a play that tells the story of Thea and Andrew Foss from the vantage point of their native Norway. In summer, 2015, the play was produced in Foss’s homeland in SE Norway outside Skiptvet. Nancy Bourne Haley and Foss’s great-granddaughter Leslie Foss Johnson traveled to view the production.

In the fall of 2015, News Tribune arts writer Rosemary Ponnekanti wrote about Bourne Haley’s film and trip to Norway, and suggested Nancy contact Marilyn Bennett and Suzy Willhoft, local theatre directors, about a possible production in Tacoma. Kari Nellie Groven, daughter of the playwright, and Janet Ruud of Tacoma, wrote an English translation of the play, from which this vignette was drawn.

The Other Country is made possible thanks to these funders and facilitators:  Foss Waterway Seaport, Pacific Lutheran University Scandinavian Cultural Center, University of Puget Sound Theatre Department, Foss Maritime Company, Florence Kilworth Foundation, Tacoma Arts Commission, Bayview Partners, Sons of Norway Foundation, University of Washington Tacoma College of Arts and Communication, Tacoma Historical Society, various Daughters of Norway lodges, and many kind individuals.

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19 Arts Projects funding recipients announced

27 Dec
Arts Projects funding supports the Hilltop Street Fair. Photo courtesy of Hilltop Business Association.

Arts Projects funding supports the Hilltop Street Fair. Photo courtesy of Hilltop Business Association.

The Tacoma Arts Commission recently awarded $50,000 in Arts Projects funding to 19 Tacoma organizations in support of 2017 public outreach projects in the fields of theater, visual, dance, music, literary, film, cross-disciplinary, and cultural arts. The awards range in value from $1,000 to $4,500.

“We were blown away by the diverse group of community and arts organizations, several of whom were first-time applicants,” said Tacoma Arts Commission Chair Mike Sweney. “This is a strong indicator that the arts are thriving in Tacoma. We’re pleased and honored to be able to support these projects for artists and communities throughout the city.”

Arts Projects funding helps support Write253's Louder Than a Bomb teen poetry slam. Photo courtesy of Write253.

Arts Projects funding helps support Write253’s Louder Than a Bomb teen poetry slam. Photo courtesy of Write253.

Funded projects include the production of six diverse cultural and arts festivals, historical arts and crafts demonstrations, visual art programs for families, three dance workshop series, one film festival, one theater production, three music performance series, poetry writing and performance workshops for youth, poetry readings, and visual art exhibits.

Arts Projects funding supports Tacoma Wayzgoose: Letterpress and Book Arts Festival. A student from Charles Wright inks a linoleum plate for Steamroller Printing.  Photo by Scott Haydon.

Arts Projects funding supports Tacoma Wayzgoose: Letterpress and Book Arts Festival. A student from Charles Wright inks a linoleum plate for Steamroller Printing. Photo by Scott Haydon.

Funded organizations include Asia Pacific Cultural Center, Barefoot Collective, Centro Latino, Children’s Museum of Tacoma, Old Town Business & Professional Association, Destiny City Film Festival, Eastside Neighborhood Advisory Council of Tacoma, Fort Nisqually Foundation, Foss Waterway Seaport, Hilltop Business Association, King’s Bookstore, Morgan Family YMCA, Northwest Repertory Singers, Puget Sound Poetry Connection, Salishan Association, Tacoma Concert Band, Toy Boat Theatre, Washington State Historical Society, and Write253.

The Arts Projects Funding Program supports high quality community projects with a strong focus on arts that are accessible and affordable to the public. Arts Projects is one of three funding programs administered by the Tacoma Arts Commission. For a complete listing of funding programs and information about the Tacoma Arts Commission, visit cityoftacoma.org/funding.

Anon(ymous)

30 Apr

 

Akua Konadu as Naja counsels Richard Lee as Anon in "Anon(ymous)", Toy Boat Theatre at UW Tacoma. Photo by Peter Serko.

Akua Konadu as Naja counsels Richard Lee as Anon in “Anon(ymous)”, Toy Boat Theatre at UW Tacoma. Photo by Peter Serko.

Tacoma’s Toy Boat Theatre is partnering with the University of Washington Tacoma to produce Naomi Iizuka’s 2006 play Anon(ymous) on the UWT campus this May. Based upon Homer’s epic The Odyssey, Anon(ymous) is a beautiful, gritty, very contemporary re-telling of the “hero’s journey”, exploring themes of immigration, interculturalism, poverty, violence, family, and the meaning of home. Centering on the memories of a nameless and homeless orphan who searches for his mother and a place to belong, the play takes audiences on a surreal journey filled with compelling characters.

Jillian Lee as Nemasani is bullied by her employer, Yuri Mackus, played by Claymore MacTarnaghan. Photo by Peter Serko.

Jillian Lee as Nemasani is bullied by her employer, Yuri Mackus, played by Claymore MacTarnaghan. Photo by Peter Serko.

Toy Boat Theatre and UWT aim to create more seasonal offerings such as Anon(ymous) that reflect the make-up of our community, particularly the sizable underserved populations in the area. The vision for this project is that it may serve as the first step toward creating a new university/community collaboration model of theatre.

Directed by Marilyn Bennett, who has taught, directed and acted in the region for over a decade, the cast and production team are a healthy mix of UWT students and area artists. The production team includes: Michael Kula, UWT advisor/liaison; Ashley Jackson, stage manager; Ricky German, costume design; Jens Winship, sound design; Nick Spencer, dramaturge; Emily Cohen, fight choreography; Peter Serko, photography; and Erin Chanfrau, design consultant.

Who: Toy Boat Theatre and University of Washington Tacoma
WhatAnon(ymous)
Where: UWT broadcast theatre, Room 007 of the Cherry Parkes building, 1922 Pacific Avenue (theatre is located immediately behind Indochine Restaurant; enter from Pacific Avenue)
When: 7:30 pm on May 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16
Tickets: $10 general audience, free for UWT students, $5 for students from other institutions. Free preview performance on May 7. Pay-what-you-can admission on May 14. Tickets available online at Brown Paper Tickets.

Anon(ymous) is suited for audiences from 5th grade through adult.

The Tacoma Arts Commission is proud to support this production through Arts Projects funding.

Anon(ymous) Poster 4-21-15 copy-2

18 Arts Projects funding recipients announced

17 Dec
Community members participate in The Horn Dance, part of Puget Sound Revels' Bromliad event. Photo courtesy of Puget Sound Revels.

Community members participate in The Horn Dance, part of Puget Sound Revels’ Bromliad event. Photo courtesy of Puget Sound Revels.

The Tacoma Arts Commission recently awarded $50,000 in 2015 Arts Projects funding to 18 Tacoma organizations in support of public outreach projects in the fields of music, dance, theater, literary, visual, cross-disciplinary, and cultural arts. The awards ranged in value from $1,000 to $4,600.

Arts Projects funding will help support the 12th year of Monkeyshines - a guerrilla art project happening around Chinese New Year each year. Photo provided by Monkeyshines.

Arts Projects funding will help support the 12th year of Monkeyshines – a guerrilla art project. Photo provided by Monkeyshines.

“Grassroots arts programming consistently reflects Tacoma’s diverse neighborhoods and interests with an emphasis on accessibility,” said Tacoma Arts Commission Chair Traci Kelly. “We are proud to support this outstanding group of high quality, community-based projects.”

Funded projects include the production of five diverse cultural and arts festivals, historical arts and crafts demonstrations, visual art programs for families, contemporary and classical dance performances, a theater production, a variety of music performances, poetry readings, arts components to a cultural event, and a community-wide guerrilla art project.

Arts Projects funding helps support hands-on arts programming at the Children's Museum of Tacoma. Photo courtesy of Children's Museum of Tacoma.

Arts Projects funding helps support hands-on arts programming at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma. Photo courtesy of Children’s Museum of Tacoma.

Funded organizations include the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, Children’s Museum of Tacoma, Elements of Education, Fort Nisqually Foundation, Hilltop Business Association, King’s Bookstore, Metropolitan Glass, Northwest Repertory Singers, Old Town Business and Professional Association, Puget Sound Poetry Connection, Puget Sound Revels, Second City Chamber Series, Tacoma City Ballet, Tacoma Concert Band, Tacoma Maritime Fest, Toy Boat Theatre, University of Washington, and the Washington State Historical Society.

The Arts Projects funding program supports high quality community projects with a strong focus on arts that are accessible and affordable to the public. Arts Projects is one of three funding programs administered by the Tacoma Arts Commission. For a complete listing of funding programs and information about the Tacoma Arts Commission, visit cityoftacoma.org/funding.

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