ANN ARBOR – Theatre Nova, at the “edge” of theater in downtown Ann Arbor since 2014, welcomes Ellipsis Theatre to share performance space at The Yellow Barn at 410 West Huron St. The 2,500 square-foot venue is a warm, rustic and intimate gathering place for live theater, music, and other performances.
Ellipsis Theatre, a Scott Screws and Joanna Hastings’ company, reinstated after a hiatus of almost a decade. Now, they will produce four shows, running for three weeks each. Theatre Nova will produce six shows, running for four to five weeks each.
Both companies will announce their 2017 seasons later this year. The two theater companies will bring different types of offerings to The Yellow Barn stage, alternating their productions monthly throughout the year.
In addition to live music and stand-up comedy events, the spiritually-oriented Green Room also gathers at The Yellow Barn on Monday evenings.
Cultural programming at the venue also includes workshops for playwrights; yoga, tai chi, chi gong and other classes.
“Theatre Nova has absolutely loved The Yellow Barn as a theater venue and we see this collaboration as an opportunity to expand the type of plays that audiences can see there. Together, our two companies’ programmatic profiles offer a variety of offerings, from world premieres to classics,” said Carla Milarch, Theatre Nova’s founding artistic director along with Daniel Walker.
“We’d love to see The Yellow Barn become Ann Arbor’s ‘go-to’ home for theater in 2017, where you can count on catching a great show in an intimate setting all year long,” said Hastings.
“Breathing new life into Ellipsis Theatre at this time and in this place is a dream come true. We’re excited to be working in partnership with Nova, and beyond excited to share our passion for powerful theatre with Ann Arbor again.
The artists behind both companies have deep roots in the former Performance Network Theatre. Milarch and Walker having been its artistic directors and Hastings and Screws having acted, directed, and produced on its stages.
Both of the companies have distinctly different foci, however. Theatre Nova is making a name for hot-off-the-press new works, with plays such as the new musical “Irrational” by David Wells and R. MacKenzie Lewis, and “Katherine” by local playwright Kim Carney. Ellipsis Theatre, by contrast, has a focus on “telling the old stories in new ways,” and will include classics and modern spins on traditional tales in its repertoire.
The unique collaboration evolved from a guest production of “Macbeth” that Hastings and Screws staged at The Yellow Barn in January 2016. The show was a tremendous success artistically and at the box office. Hastings – the former head of school at Summers-Knoll in Ann Arbor who recently made the decision to reinvigorate the former Ellipsis Theatre company – found The Yellow Barn space comfortable and conducive to the type of theater she envisioned.
Since moving into the space, Theatre Nova has made numerous upgrades to it including an 85-seat micro theater complete with a prop and costume storage and shop, a rehearsal hall, dressing rooms, lobby, comfortable raised seating, around a 3/4 “thrust” stage (with seating on three sides), and a new ADA-compliant wheelchair ramp on the front of the building.
In addition, the companies will also share back-office services such as box office, online ticketing, office equipment and more.
“I believe that this type of collaboration is the wave of the future, as it enables both of us to stay true to mission and do the type of intelligent work that engages our audiences, without having to make artistic compromises in order to stay alive,” Milarch said.
Theatre Nova is Michigan’s only theater exclusively producing brand new plays. Its mission is to raise awareness of the value and excitement of new plays and new playwrights, and provide resources and outlets for playwrights to develop their craft, by importing, exporting and developing new plays and playwrights.
For more information visit The Yellow Barn online http://www.ouryellowbarn.com/.