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Regional Theater Veterans Launch Nonprofit Touring Production Company

A trio of regional theater veterans have launched Mainspring Arts Cooperative, a new nonprofit organization that will produce and present theater productions aimed at touring regional theaters around the country.

Led by Guthrie Theater alumni Trish Santini and Frank Butler and former Hangar Theater artistic director Peter Flynn, MAC has initial projects on tap that include two titles for the 2017-18 season from Moises Kaufman’s Tectonic Theater Company, which originated “The Laramie Project” and “Gross Indecency,” two plays that had strong success around the country. MAC will also executive produce an upcoming show from men’s choral group Cantus, written by Libby Larson and in collaboration with the Guthrie, for 2018-19.

In addition, MAC served as producing consultant on “Notes from the Field” (pictured above), the Anna Deavere Smith solo show now playing at Second Stage Theater following a run at Cambridge, Mass.’s American Repertory Theater.

The new firm will operate like a theater company without a building, said Santini, who was formerly the senior producer at the Guthrie (where Butler was the production director for 18 years). MAC will endeavor to create and present product for nonprofit theaters in a financial climate that has seen organizations become more and more willing to share resources and present co-productions. The company is also dedicated to finding a life around the country for larger cast plays and smaller-scale new musicals, Santini added.

The two Tectonic projects in the works are a tour of Daniel Beaty’s “The Tallest Tree in the Forest,” directed by Kaufman, and of the new play “Uncommon Sense” by Andy Paris and Anushka Paris-Carter, already set for a premiere at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

MAC launches with coin from the Blythe Brenden-Mann Foundation, its founding donor. Santini foresees an annual output of two to three productions per season.


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