PHOTO: “Windjammers” was the new offering on the American Folklore Theatre 2013 summer season at
That’s my offering for the new name for American Folklore Theatre.
The company has announced it will change its name in 2015, and it has started ramping up toward that by taking name suggestions from the public. The deadline is Friday, Feb. 14, to toss your choice into the hat. More on that and my choice(s) later, but first:
The troupe is a major summer attraction at
The attraction is seeing a musical comedy – live – that has some connection to Door County or Wisconsin and is put together by the troupe in a professional manner.
The company’s press release says, “Over the past 25 years, AFT has evolved from a story-telling and concert-centric ensemble to a full-fledged theater organization that primarily focuses on the creation and presentation of original full-book musicals. Some of its shows, such as the hit comedy ‘Guys on Ice,’ have been performed in dozens of theaters coast to coast.”
It’s likely there will be some resistance to the change. People familiar with the troupe know what it’s about. The problem lies elsewhere, in the creative world that AFT taps to find new pieces to present. The troupe introduces at least one completely new, full show each season. With its standards, that’s become a daunting task.
- Jeffrey Herbst, artistic director: “Our mission has not changed in any way. We will continue to produce original family-friendly musical theater that celebrates
- Dave Maier, managing director: “The name ‘American Folklore Theatre’ communicates connotations about our focus that are no longer accurate. In some important subliminal ways, the name can even work against us – particularly in attracting new audiences and potential collaborators that are unfamiliar with us. Our unique mission and creative ‘pipeline’ depend on attracting new artistic collaborators that ‘get’ who we are and what we do.”
The company started as The Heritage Ensemble almost 45 years ago, founded by the
Herbst: “We’re at a stage in our development similar to 1990, when we transitioned from ‘The Heritage Ensemble’ to ‘American Folklore Theatre.’ It’s again time for a new name that doesn’t hold us back – that helps us succeed. So, after much careful thought – and some nostalgia – we know it’s time to take this significant step.”
The company says its board of directors, management, cast, crew and outside advisors have been kicking around the idea of changing the name from American Folklore Theatre for seven years. It’s that much of a “wrasslin’” match. To be sure, the final choice – by committee – will be more “wrasslin’.”
“Will it be by sword or gun?” I asked playfully of marketing director Holly Feldman.
She laughed as she said, “Theater sword.”
The company says it has strong contenders for a new name, but it wants to see what the community can come up with, too. You never know, something brilliant may be out there. Send your suggestion(s) to Holly Feldman at firstname.lastname@example.org through Friday, Feb. 14, 2014.
The name will be changed in the 2015 season, and the company will continue as American Folklore Theatre through this season. The new name is expected to be announced around Memorial Day this year.
The winning entry will win… maybe an ice cream sundae.
“There is no grand prize,” Feldman said.
If that’s the case, I really have nothing to lose with my offering of Stutlemoew Theater.
The company is looking for a name that’s distinctive. Stutlemoew certainly stands apart.
The name shouldn’t be close to that of any other theater troupe, to avoid confusion. There’s no other Stutlemoew Theater.
The name should reflect what the company and its mission are about. Stutlemoew does, but it needs an explanation. It’s an acronym – drawn from the first letters of words. The words:
BY THE WAY, the outfit should be called Theater with an “er” on the end, not “re.” I’m sick of seeing American theater companies as Theatre. The American spelling is the “er.”
We kicked the British out 237 years ago. The British can have their “theatre.” We should be “theater” – American – in every situation. The only troupe around here that seems to believe that is Green Bay Community Theater.
I have other suggestions.
My straightforward, non-goofy one is Wellspring Theater. That suggests a fresh source, as a fresh source of creativity. The phrase “of
My thought process also kicked around other possibilities.
- Wemahot –
- Owl Theater – Outdoor Wisconsin Lollapaloozas. There are owls in the park, at least.
- Whatever the name is of the Scandinavian goddess of theater under the stars, being that
- Gnarhootwhoopwhoopcarflooeyclunkcarbunkle – kind of coughed out. People will say, “Excuse me?” And then you can tell them everything: “That’s the name of a theater company in
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