It all began with an Idea, as all great ventures seem to. What if students ran a theatre? Started a company from the ground up? We were fortunate enough to not have to start completely from the “ground” up, a theatre space was already provided. Before the formation of our company, the theatre, Pipedreams, was functioning just as well as any typical student theatre would. Some people decided to put on shows, and all us theatre majors would pile in to sit on the floor of the theatre in support of our friends. Did it produce quality productions? Sometimes, yes. Some of those productions were possibly the best or most cutting edge I’ve ever seen. But the theatre as whole had a problem; it wasn’t going anywhere. And people were starting to lose interest. The Theatre Department needed a fresh perspective and so hand-picked a gathering of students from various majors within the department. This was back in the spring of 2009. I was lucky enough to be a part of that original group. We were asked to brainstorm and create a model for a new direction for the theatre. Through meetings and discussions we sowed the seeds for what would grow into the company that exists today. We discussed options for what would serve the student’s needs the most, not just as performers but as writers, directors, designers, stage managers and beyond. In the beginning it was all theory, and all types of ideas and structures were discussed and thrown out. Eventually we created a Mission Statement. Then the 5 of us conveniently designed a 5 person managing student board that would be responsible for the operation of the new Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre. We had forums with the student body and eventually held elections to fulfill the roles of the 5 board positions. Our new board, comprised of 4 out of the 5 original brainstorming team, believed we were ready to immediately take on running a theatre. Last spring we were ambitious enough to produce a season of shows. Originally we had scheduled 10 productions for one semester. We had no idea what we were getting into. Over time, scheduled shows were forced to drop out due to a variety of reasons and we ended up producing a total of 6 shows. The idea behind continuing the season was that we wanted to continue allowing students to produce shows even though we hadn’t even really formed a base for the theatre company we were attempting to create. We had our problems, but we also had many achievements and several successful shows. By the end of the semester we had created a charter for our company and established many new staff positions to function under the student board. Seemed like a pretty good place to be in after one semester. But what happens in a year? 2 years? 5 years? How do we ensure that we won’t fall into the same stagnant trap that had existed before the students took over? And the answer was simple. Build a business. We needed to grow, and ensure that we could continue growing. That seed that got planted over a year ago needed to be cultivated into a self-sustaining company. One that not only allowed artists to explore and play as our Mission Statements established, but enables a new learning experience where students got firsthand experience just what it takes to manage a theatre company. A company that lets us share in the successes and the failures, to be proud of the goals we are achieving, and to build a company that is not only strong but flexible. Ambitious, yet practical. Where we can focus on the big picture and guarantee the quality of the little things.  In my opinion, this sounds far bigger and better than anything that first brain-storming team could come up with way back in May of 2009. But without that first spark of imagination to get the ball rolling, we could never be where we are today. And today we aren’t nearly finished. We’re just starting the next leg on in our continuously evolving journey. Now, we are Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre. And we are proud to establish ourselves as a fledgling business.

Bekki Lambrecht

Technical Director

Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre

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