Root Theatre Company Plants ‘Artistic Gardens’

The Root Theatre Company will present “Hunter’s Moon” this month in both Chico and Redding.  Here’s a bit more about this energetic, innovative North State theatre company and its members.


Tell us more about Root and its evolution.

The Root Theatre Company is an alliance of actors, directors, musicians, and artists from all disciplines, based in northern California. We are not exclusive, but we are selective. Members are nominated by other members and chosen on merits of excellence and accomplishment in their field. Members have to sign our credo of belief, which is to encourage and support free expression of the arts without regard to personal belief and ideology.

We are now over 80 members strong. This organization was formed out of discussions among the three of us (Robert Soffian, Mike Flanagan, and Dean Williams) about our desire to give ourselves and others a new outlet for creative expression. Our larger purpose is to curate member’s work, to write grants for that purpose, to collaborate and support theatrical and other art projects. We just received our first grant, which will enable us to mount several new projects.


How will Root present theatre in a different way?

The Root really doesn’t have a physical residence. We don’t have a building. We’re not renting a space. Rather, our aim is to take our projects to existing venues in our No. Calif. service area. We want to establish The Root in different centers, plant several artistic gardens, so to speak and make them flourish. Another part of the aim is to give voice to the voiceless. We see servicing a multicultural artist base as a great way to service the communities in which those artists live. The Root will take on the personality of its members as we move forward. Along the way we want to keep the artistic standards high. Carrying that organic metaphor further, we want to connect with other non-profits and spread our roots throughout the area, making the entire art scene more vital. In our newsletter for example, we feature what members are doing inside or outside of The Root. I guess you might say we’re into cross-pollination of the arts.


What are your productions to date?

Last April we took a show to Chico’s Blue Room Theatre. The play was called The Scene and it actually did quite well for its short run. Audiences were very good and we made a lot of good contacts in the process. We are now linking with Chico’s Artoberfest and producing an event we call Hunter’s Moon. This will be a showcase of our member’s talent with a mix of scenes, spoken word, original music and display art. It is loosely themed around the change of mood we experience with the coming of Fall and a time of lengthening night. We have spent most of the summer organizing our website, forming a non-profit and planning for the coming two years.


How do you feel you have been received by audiences so far?

Our first show in Chico was very well received. I think we surprised the Blue Room a bit by the size of audience we drew, being “outsiders.” As I said, we have made a lot of positive contacts in the art scenes in Chico and we are gathering momentum in the Arcata area now as well. We have kept a rather low profile in Redding thus far, but we are working toward a full and exciting program for 2010 and beyond.


What can the audience expect from the current show?

Hunter’s Moon will be a showcase of member’s art, acting, writing, and music. Following the show in Chico, we will do it again in Redding on October 8th at the Vintage Wine Bar and October 10 at the Riverfront Playhouse for ArtHop. We expect audiences to come away with an awareness of this thing called The Root Theatre Company. They might see there is a lot more talent percolating under the surface than they see in the limited venues of traditional community theater.


What do you want the audience to take with them?

Exposure to something new, interesting, even provocative, that is less restrained than the usual commercial event. We want to encourage our audience to learn more about us and thereby to foster more participation and collaboration. And so we both grow together. And of course, we want them to come away thoroughly entertained and emotionally touched.


What is your next project?

We have several projects in our sights for 2010 and 2011. Among fully mounted productions we are working on are Grand Guignol theater, Irma Vep by Charles Ludlum, The Weir and The Seafarer, both by Conor McPherson, and The God of Carnage. There are also readers theater events and sponsored shows for musicians and artists coming up.

Hunter’s Moon plays October 3 in Chico at the law offices of Eric Alan Berg, 1050 Esplanade at 7:30 pm; in Redding October 8 at Vintage Wine Bar at the corner of Market and Sacramento Streets in downtown, 7:30; and excerpts during the Saturday ArtHop, October 10,  in the new Riverfront Playhouse, Placer and Pine Streets, Redding. For more information about Root, visit TheRootTheatre.com or call 530-241-8775.

Enjoy the song “Diamonds” by Ty Webb for Hunter’s Moon.

Adam Mankoski is a recent North State transplant who feels completely at home here. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner own HawkMan Studios and are the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop. Reach him at adamm.anewscafe@gmail.com.

Adam Mankoski

is a recent North State transplant who feels completely at home here. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner are the owners of HawkMan Studios and the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday Art Hop.

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