| Theater |

Downtown Phoenix's Orange Theatre Launches IndieGoGo to Fund Local, National Productions

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A new home. A Big Brain award. A knockout run of successful pay-what-you-can productions.

Think that's enough for downtown Phoenix's Orange Theatre? Not quite.

Recently, the company launched its latest IndieGoGo fundraiser. While past fundraisers have gone towards basic (by this group's standards) production expenses and moving into a new venue, this time around Orange is going a little farther from home: first to ASU's Lyceum Theater, and then to New York's North American Cultural Laboratory.

See also: Orange Theatre Group's Blood Wedding Adaptation Is Provocative, Entertaining

This season of transition began with the group departing its previous home at the historic Levine Machine building in the Warehouse District (replaced by ASU's Herberger Institute, no less), leaving it to search for a new home.

"We were invited [to work at the Lyceum Theatre] by the head of the School of Theatre, Dance and Film [Jake Pinholster] when we were between spaces," recalls Orange Theatre Artistic Director, Matthew Watkins. "Jake is a good personal friend of mine and other company members, and he offered us [ASU's] space because they wouldn't be using it and we thought that would be a great opportunity."

Adjusting to new, even temporary digs, is nothing new though for Orange Theatre. Over its brief history, the group has performed at spaces as disparate as Bragg's Pie Factory, Phoenix Center for the Arts, and the aforementioned Levine Machine. And before long, the group will be launching inside its new warehouse space off Grand and 17th avenues, which they are currently renovating to make performance-ready.

With such DIY roots, Orange's move may first seem to be a break with tradition.

"We have to do all of the work ourselves [still]," reassures Watkins, noting that ASU is primarily providing physical space at the Lyceum, along with some minimal mentorship opportunities to the troupe. "But this does have air conditioning, which changes a lot of things."

But the greatest luxury of the group has is that of time. With the New York residency at the North American Cultural Laboratory, this summer will be the first time group members will be able to focus full-time on a production without the distractions of work or school.

"[The residency] is a really great opportunity to get working with some other artists, to be able to work on our theater for a week without any sorts of distractions, which is not an opportunity we have ever had before," Watkins says. "We have never had an opportunity to just do Orange for a week, so [we] are really excited about that."

Orange was chosen for the weeklong workshop and performance residency from among the applications of theatre troupes from across the nation, and it's one of the first experimental or West coast-based groups to be part of the workshop.

Watkins says, "[The festival's directors] said that they really wanted to broaden their horizons. Most of their residents come from New York City, and they thought it was really exciting that we would be flying across the country to participate."

So, with a cross-country adventure on the way and a summer show, one might think the members of Orange Theatre had enough on their collective plate for the next few months. Wrong again.

Currently, while working in ASU's Lyceum Theatre, Orange is working on its Digital Performance Lab, an exploratory project aimed at integrating new technology into contemporary theater. The project is funded in part by an Art Tank grant the group earned this past year from the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

And how will it all come together? As a sponsored project of the national arts organization Fractured Atlas, Orange is a fully certified nonprofit. Therefore, all donations to the group's current IndieGoGo campaign are tax deductible, making this avant-garde troupe one of the more polished in town.

In total, the group is looking to raise $3000, with the campaign running through July 1. Those looking to donate can look forward to such perks as a handwritten postcard from the road, a limited-edition T-shirt, and a personalized short film, also created on the road.

At this rate, Orange Theatre just might be the only arts group developing and evolving on pace with the technology they are incorporating.

For more information on Orange Theatre and its current fundraiser, visit the group's IndieGoGo fundraising page

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