Community Conversations in Theater
Kirsten Wilson’s work is to use theater to create community conversations. She believes that theater can be the most powerful when it is created specifically for the local community; and when it addresses questions that are of concern to the community. When she begins to work on a performance she looks for the intersection of where her artistic interest intersects with questions and conversations that are happening around her. She believes art focused on questions the audience has already been ruminating on has the best chance of not only being entertaining but efficacious – that is, creating a powerful effect on the audience members. She believes in using the power of theater, not to offer answers, but to bring complicated questions to the table.
Kirsten Wilson brings to her artistic work a strong background, not only in contemporary theater, but dance, improvisation, photography and academic research skills. Aesthetically she believes in approaching work with the motto, “by any means necessary,” – using whatever forms best express the artistic vision of the particular project: Some things are best said with words, others with movement, others with photographs.
Kirsten Wilson believes strongly in returning the creation of art to community and making “Community Theater’” an art form of the highest aesthetics. She believes contemporary theater can speak to a wide audience of people and not simply to an educated elite. Her method of doing this is by making sure there is always a connection to dramatic story at the heart of her work. As long as the audience has a connection to the human drama within the performance they are willing to open up to many different aesthetic means of expressing that drama.
In all her work, Kirsten Wilson believes in bringing voices from within the community to the stage. She has done this in a variety of ways. As part of her work as an autobiographical monologue teacher she is able to help professional and non-professional artists find their performance voice. She believes there are many people in the Boulder community who are not professional performers but have stories that can be developed into great theater (For example, see her recent performance, Do You Know Who I Am?. In this performance she worked with undocumented immigrants to write and perform their own experiences.) She also brings community voices to the stage though her work in Playback Theater. In Playback West performances people from the audience tell their stories and improvisational actors play it back for them on the spot. In Rocks, Karma, Arrows she brings voices to the stage through interviews. In this particular piece, she interviews local historians and weaves their personal stories and their knowledge of history together to create a dramatic script.