About Bas Bleu Theatre

Bas Bleu Theatre Company’s mission is to present outstanding theater that inspires both audience and artist alike in an intimate “salon” setting. Bas Bleu’s goal is to enrich the cultural life of the region and, in so doing, add to the common cultural experience that bonds us all to our community and the world around us. Excellence in theater arts is Bas Bleu’s foundation and major benefit to Northern Colorado.

Bas Bleu is a cultural anchor of Old Town, contributing to its character, drawing patrons and enhancing its economic vitality, while aiding in the recruitment of academic institutions, corporations, and businesses. We firmly believe that Bas Bleu is a unique cultural jewel in Fort Collins, one worth preserving and enhancing the theatre building. The future promises a theater of singular excellence.

OUR HISTORY

THE LITTLE THEATRE THAT COULD: A History of Bas Bleu Theatre Company

The Bas Bleu Theatre Company a 501(c) (3) non-profit corporation, founded by Eva Wright and Wendy Ishii, opened in July, 1992 at the Fort Collins Lincoln Center with a production of “Duet for One” by Tom Kempinski. Our vision was to create an artistic and cultural center wherein bold, innovative and adventurous works of theatre and related arts could be explored and presented in Northern Colorado. The Theatre is modeled after the great 18th century European literary salons known as the “Bluestockings” (or Bas Bleu) whose members fostered animated conversation about politics, art, theatre, music and works of literature.

It was important to us that Bas Bleu secure its own home. Theatre is a collaborative art form and we wanted a nurturing space where artists and students could practice, hone and improve their craft as well as develop creative new works. Our mission is to present outstanding theater that inspires both audience and artist alike in an intimate “salon” setting. Bas Bleu’s goal is to enrich the cultural life of the region and, in so doing, add to the common cultural experience that bonds us all to our community and the world around us.

In March, 1993 we rented an empty store-front at 216 Pine Street in Old Town, Fort Collins, CO, and over the next seven months renovated it into a 49-seat theatre. We opened in October, 1994 with the first ever Fort Collins productions of Samuel Beckett’s “Krapp’s Last Tape” and “Happy Days”. Our small size allowed us to take huge risks and tackle challenging works that would simply not have been possible in a larger, more commercial or profit driven theatre. Although tiny, together with very positive media response, we managed to build a devoted and passionate audience who helped establish us through enthusiastic word of mouth.

Over the next ten years, as we built our reputation and resources, our improbable dream took hold. In 2003, having outgrown our small theatre, we began a $1.5M Phase 1 Capital Campaign to purchase and renovate the historic Giddings Building at the corner of Pine and Willow Streets into a 99-seat theatre and lobby art gallery. There was significant risk as it was located “across the tracks” in the so-called undesirable part of town. However, it also sits in the historic heart of our community very close to the site of the original Fort Collins and nearby the beautiful Cache La Poudre River.

Built in 1910 by Frank Giddings, the building was designed to accommodate the Giddings’ Western Steel Headgate Company, which made large control gates for irrigation systems important to the early agricultural growth, particularly the sugar beet industry, of the region. The original architectural challenge in 1910 was to provide an open indoor space of 6,600 square feet without using any vertical support posts in the interior. To do so, the designers used trusses that extend the entire 60-foot width of the building, which today provide interior space ideal for Bas Bleu Theatre.

Bas Bleu marched across those formidable railroad tracks and became the pioneer and pacesetter in the revitalization of this historic area, the arts and culture district today known as “Beet Street”, and the Giddings Building went from producing augers to actors in 102 days. We partially renovated the interior of the venue and opened with “Angels in America” by Tony Kushner in a community-wide collaborative project with OpenStage Theatre, Colorado State University Theatre Program and the Museum of Contemporary Art among others.

In 2009, Bas Bleu entered into a unique ten-year private/public partnership with the Downtown Development Authority whereby the theatre received $220,000 to provide rent-free space to the public for ten years. This is a very exciting first-of-its-kind model which we hope may be of use to cities nationwide to help sustain the arts.

In 2010, we established the Bas Bleu Theatre Company Agency Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado. As this fund grows over time it will help to sustain Bas Bleu for many years to come.

In 2011, the Colorado Economic Development Commission approved Bas Bleu’s proposal for the Enterprise Zone Project, encouraging job creation and providing additional tax incentives for our donors.

In 2012, we successfully completed Phase 1 of our Capital Campaign, a feat showing broad donor and public support. We celebrated by hosting a wonderful ”Burn the Mortgage” party for all the generous friends and patrons who helped us achieve this goal. We are now in the early planning stages of Phase 2 of the Capital Campaign which will enable us to complete the interior and exterior renovations. By the end this campaign we will have one of the most beautiful small theatre and art gallery venues in the country.

Using the intimate format of a small theatre, where the audience becomes enveloped in the center of the action, Bas Bleu has presented a substantial number of thought-provoking plays, readers’ theatre productions, poetry and prose readings, concerts, improvisational comedy shows, children’s programs, master classes, workshops, seminars and gallery exhibits.

Over the past twenty three years, Bas Bleu won over 100 local, national and international awards for its work and produced, performed, exhibited or hosted over 625 events and 1,700 performances seen by more than 100,000 viewers. It has called on the expertise and nourished the creative growth of more than 3025 artists, performers, directors, writers, poets, musicians, designers, technicians and teachers. Over 5,000 volunteers and 800 individual, foundation, business and corporate donors have helped us keep quality high and ticket prices low.

Bas Bleu has been a community leader in initiating and fostering collaborative projects with local, regional, national and even international arts, civic and educational organizations, thus broadening our audience, strengthening our product and growing the economy. As an NPO we are able to create a dynamic relationship and actively engage the members of our community. Bas Bleu’s patrons and practitioners truly feel a sense of ownership, participation and pride in the theatre, and that has led to a strong emotional, artistic and financial investment in its sustainability.

Bas Bleu Theatre Company: Celebrating 26 Years

It was on Bastille Day back in 1992 that we began the journey that continues today, welcoming seasoned theater-goers and curious newcomers alike to share experiences through a wide array of theatre, music, and art – and discussing important issues of the day in a friendly setting. Hundreds of award-winning performances, readings, concerts, improv, art exhibits and talkbacks later, we find ourselves the owners of a beautiful theatre, home of the Tom Sutherland Stage and the Gallery Bleu, in a cherished historic building located at the heart of the burgeoning Fort Collins River District.

We extend a warm welcome to our expanding audience of friends old and new and invite you to experience all that goes on at Bas Bleu – five Mainstage shows, as well as five Readers’ Theatre plays, art in the Gallery Bleu, Comedy Brewers, and special events that owning our venue allows and more. Thank you for 26 great years. We look forward to bringing more benefits to the performing arts lovers in our community for years to come!

AWARDS

2016

  • Colorado Theatre Guild Henry Award,  The Outgoing Tide “Best Lead Actor” Jonathan Farwell
  • Scene Magazine “Best place to see a Play”, Bas Bleu Theatre
  • Style Magazine – “Best Theatre” 2nd place, Bas Bleu Theatre

2015

  • Style Magazine – “Best Theatre”, 2nd place, Bas Bleu (#1 in Fort Collins)
  • Scene Magazine – “Best Theatre Venue”, Bas Bleu Theatre
  • Fort Collins Magazine – “NoCo Bucket List of 50 Local Faves”

2014

  • True West Awards: 30 Days, 30 Awards – Wendy Ishii
  • Westword – “Best One-Person Show”, The Year of Magical Thinking
  • Scene Magazine – “Best Theatre Venue”, Bas Bleu Theatre
  • Style Magazine – “Best Theatre”, 2nd place, Bas Bleu (#1 in Fort Collins)

2013

  • True West Awards, – The Year of Magical Thinking “Best Solo Performer”, Wendy Ishii
  • Colorado Community Theatre Coalition Festival Awards – The Year of Magical Thinking “First Place Show”, Bas Bleu Theatre, “Best Actress”, Wendy Ishii, “Excellence in Directing”, Oz Scott
  • Denver Post -“Top Ten”, The Year of Magical Thinking

2011

  • Women of Influence,-“Woman of Vision” Award, Wendy Ishii
  • Colorado State University- David Lord Award, ”Distinguished Contribution to the Performing Arts”, Wendy Ishii
  • Bonfils Stanton- Livingston Fellowship Nominee, Wendy Ishii
  • City of Fort Collins – “Human Relations Award” Nominee, Wendy Ishii

2010

  • Colorado Community Theatre Coalition Festival Awards – Collected Stories “Best Set Design,” Dennis Madigan; “All State Acting Award,” Wendy Ishii
  • Northern Colorado Business Report’s Mercury 100 Awards – #29 Fastest Growing Business (revenues under $2m)

2009

  • City of Fort Collins — “Human Relations Commission Award for Organizations” celebrating our commitment to “those in our community who promote acceptance and respect for diversity.”
  • Northern Colorado Business Report’s Mercury 100 Awards — #6 Fastest Growing Business (revenues under $2M).

2008

  • Colorado Theatre Guild’s Henry Award- “Outstanding Regional Theatre”, Bas Bleu Theatre
  • Denver Post Ovation Awards — “Theatre Person of the Year”, Wendy Ishii; “Reader’s Choice”, Wendy Ishii; “Best Remount”, Walton Jones, Faye Greenberg, David Wohl, A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol; “Best Sound Design”, Wings; DPO Ovation Award Nominations: ”Best Year by a Company”, Bas Bleu; “Best Drama”, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me; “Best Director” Jonathan Farwell, Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me; “Best Year by an Actor” Leonard Barrett; “Best Year by an Actress”, Wendy Ishii; “Best Primarily Solo Performance”, Wendy Ishii, Happy Days; Best Actress, Frances Burns, Bernice/Butterfly; “Best Sound Design” Walton Jones and Annaleigh Timmerman, Wings; “Best Original Music”, Walton Jones, Faye Greenberg, David Wohl, A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol.
  • Northern Colorado Business Report 2008 Who’s Who In Business — Wendy Ishii
  • Northern Colorado Business Report’s Mercury 100 Awards — #1 Fastest Growing Business (revenues under $2M).

2007

  • Denver Post Ovation Awards- “Best Sound Design” Walton Jones and Dan Tschirhart, A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol
  • Northern Colorado Business Report 2007 Who’s Who in Business — Wendy Ishii
  • Northern Colorado Business Report’s Mercury 100 Awards — #5 Fastest Growing Business (revenues under $2M).

2006

  • Fort Collins Coloradoan Best of Fort Collins Awards — “Best Theatre” Bas Bleu Theatre
  • Northern Colorado Business Report 2006 Who’s Who in Business — Wendy Ishii
  • Fort Collins Weekly – Best of the Best Awards — “Best Theatre” Bas Bleu Theatre
  • Fort Collins Weekly – Best of the Best Awards — “Best Actor”, Wendy Ishii
  • Denver post Ovation Awards – Nominations: “Best Drama”, The Dresser; “Best Actor in a Drama”, Jonathan Farwell, The Dresser; “Best New Work”, The Man Himself; “Best Solo Performance”, Ami Dayan, The Man Himself; “Best Remount”, A Tale of a Tiger

2005

  • Fort Collins Coloradoan Best of Fort Collins Awards — “Best Theatre”, Bas Bleu Theatre
  • Colorado Community Theatre Coalition — “Distinguished Merit Award”, Wendy Ishii
  • Denver Post Ovation Awards – “Best Actress”, Laura Norman, Angels in America; “Special Achievement”, Bas Bleu Theatre, Angels in America
  • Westword- “Best Actress in a Drama”- Laura Norman, Angels in America; “Best Theatrical Collaboration”, Bas Bleu Theatre Company and OpenStage Theatre & Company, Angels in America; “Best Crossover Performer” Leonard Barrett; “Best All Around Women of the Theatre”, Wendy Ishii: “Best Supporting Actress”, Denise Perry-Olsen, Old Times; “Best Performance by a Child”, Brittany Heileman, Tongue of a Bird
  • Northern Colorado Business Report- 2005 Who’s Who in Business — Wendy Ishii

2004

  • Fort Collins Coloradoan Best of Fort Collins Awards — “Best Theatre”, Bas Bleu Theatre
  • Colorado Community Theatre Coalition Festival Awards —: “First Place Production”, Beast on the Moon “People’s Choice”, Beast on the Moon; “Best Director”, Laura Jones, Beast on the Moon; “First Place Acting Competition”, Wendy Ishii, Tongue of a Bird
  • Allstate Awards: “Directing”, Laura Jones, “Acting”, Sotirios Livaditis and Gemma Aguayo, “Lighting Design”, Robert Braddy, “Costume Design”, Rebecca Spafford, “Sound Design”, Richard Mauro Ricchiuti,
  • Northern Colorado Business Report 2004 Who’s Who in Business — Wendy Ishii
  • Northern Colorado Multicultural Corporation – “2004 Arlene Nededog Merchant Awareness Award”, Bas Bleu Theatre
  • Denver Post Ovation Awards – “Special Achievement” Bas Bleu Theatre and OpenStage Theatre, Angels in America“; Nominee: “Best Year by a Company”, Bas Bleu Theatre Company

2003

  • Fort Collins Coloradoan Best of Fort Collins Awards — “Best Theatre”, Bas Bleu Theatre
  • American Association for Community Theatre National Festival Awards- Three Viewings: “1st Runner Up Best Production”, “Best Actress” Frances Burns and Wendy Ishii; “Best Set Dressing”, Robert Braddy
  • Colorado Community Theatre Coalition Festival Awards – Allstate Awards – The Gin Game: Frances Burns, Actress; Annie Cleveland Costume Design

2002

  • Denver Post Ovation Awards — Three Viewings: “Best Production”, “Best Supporting Actress”, Wendy Ishii, “Critics Choice”, Three Viewings
  • Fort Collins Coloradoan Best of Fort Collins Awards — “Best Theatre”, Bas Bleu Theatre, “Best Actor”, David Siever, Three Viewings, “Best Actress” 3rd place, Wendy Ishii, Three Viewings
  • Fort Collins Coloradoan “Coloradoan’s Making a Difference Award”, Wendy Ishii
  • Colorado Community Theatre Coalition Festival Awards — Three Viewings: “First Place Production”, “People’s Choice”, “Best Actress” Frances Burns
  • Allstate Awards — Three Viewings: Director, Terry Dodd; Set Design, Robert Braddy; Costume Design, Rebecca Spafford; Acting, Frances Burns and Wendy Ishii
  • Fort Collins Convention and Visitor’s Bureau — “Choice City Champion Hospitality Award”, Bas Bleu Theatre
  • Rocky Mountain Bullhorn — “Best Theater Award”, Bas Bleu Theatre
  • El Pomar — “Awards for Excellence”, nominee 2000

2001

  • Fort Collins Coloradoan Best of Fort Collins Awards- “Best Theatre”, 2nd Place; “Best Actress”, Wendy Ishii 3rd Place:

2000

  • Fort Collins Coloradoan Best of Fort Collins Awards – “Best Theatre”, Bas Bleu Theatre, “Best Actor”, Wendy Ishii, 2nd Place

1998

  • Fort Collins Coloradoan Best of Fort Collins Awards – “Best Theatre”
  • Rocky Mountain News “Top Ten Productions”, Molly Sweeney
  • Fort Collins Coloradoan Best of Fort Collins Awards — “Best Actress”, Wendy Ishii

1997

  • Colorado Community Theatre Coalition Festival Awards — A Walk in the Woods: “Best Production”; “Best Actor”, David Siever

1996

  • Colorado Community Theatre Coalition Festival Awards — Happy Days: “Best Director”, Laura Jones; “Best Actress”, Wendy Ishii
  • International Telly Awards — Wendy Ishii, Beyond Stigma.
  • Fort Collins Coloradoan Best of Fort Collins Awards — “Best Actress”, Wendy Ishii

1995

  • Fort Collins Coloradoan Best of Fort Collins Awards – “Best Actress” 3rd Place, Wendy Ishii

National and International Invitations, Honors and Accolades include:

  • 2015 The Happy Day Enniskillen international Beckett Festival, NIR, by special invitation, Bas Bleu and the Colorado State University Center for Studies in Beckett and Performance, presented 8 performances of Eh Joe and Beckett’s Women
  • 2013 International Federation of Theatre Research – Barcelona, Spain, presentation of an academic paper and film excerpts by director Dr. Eric Prince of our co-production of Eh, Joe with the CSU Center for Studies in Beckett and Performance
  • 2012 International Federation of Theatre Research- Santiago, Chile – presentation of an academic paper and film excerpts by Dr. Laura Jones of Bas Bleu’s production of Happy Days
  • 2008 Invitation for documentation of Bas Bleu’s Beckett productions to be entered into the Samuel Beckett Archives in Reading, UK, by Beckett biographer and curator James Knowlson, OBE
  • 2008 An article on Bas Bleu’s production of Beckett’s Embers appears in “Drawing on Beckett: Portraits, Performances and Cultural Contexts,” published by the Assaph Book Series, Tel Aviv
  • 2003 Samuel Beckett Symposium – Sydney, Australia , presentation of an academic paper on Bas Bleu’s production of Ill Seen Ill Said by Dr. Laura Jones; performance of Séance by Wendy Ishii, written and directed by Eric Prince. (The event won the prestigious Helpmann Award for “Best Special Event”, recognition comparable to the Tony Award.)
  • 2000 Common Threads: Susan Glaspell’s Trifles and the Interaction of the Arts, Law and Society in Addressing Violence Against Women Tel Aviv University, six cornerstone performances of Bas Bleu Theatre’s production of Trifles. Keynote speaker, Maria Irene Fornes
  • 1999 Avram Theatre, Southampton, New York 1999, invited to perform Happy Days and participate in a panel discussion with filmmaker John Reilly (Waiting for Beckett), and Beckett scholars Brian O’Doherty, Barbara Novak and Robert Hullot-Kentor
  • 1998 International Federation of Theatre Research – Kent University, Canterbury, UK, invited to adapt and perform Beckett’s Ill seen Ill Said from page to stage and to participate in panel discussions with such noted Beckett scholars as Ruby Cohn, James Knowlson, Linda Ben-Zvi, Porter Abbott, Everett Frost, Shimon Levi, Colin Duckworth and others. Reviewed in the Beckett Circle.
  • 1997 Colorado College –Colorado Springs, Happy Days performance, commissioned by Ruby Cohn
  • 1996 International Beckett Festival – Victoria, BC, Happy Days performance, Stanley Gontarsky, keynote speaker; reviewed in The Journal of Beckett Studies
  • 1996 International “Telly Award Winner”, Beyond Stigma, Wendy Ishii

Board President

  • Ed Hoover

Board Vice President

  • Jane Spencer

Board Treasurer

  • Kelli Hemmen

Board Secretary

  • Marilyn Cockburn
  • Al Dominguez
  • Wendy Ishii
  • Jon Prouty
  • Karen Streeter

wendy    Wendy Ishii, founding Artistic Director –  wendy@basbleu.org

andrea evans   Andrea Evans, General Manager

Jon Burns, Production Manager –production@basbleu.org

 

Ashley Codova    Ashley M. Cordova, Box Office Manager – ashley@basbleu.org

 

  Garrett Ayers, Development Director development@basbleu.org

Mishelle Baun   Mishelle Baun, Media Specialist – mishelle@basbleu.@basbleu.org

 

Season Tickets

If you're like most people that come to Bas Bleu, you appreciate theatre that engages all of your senses. So why wait until the last minute to purchase your tickets? By purchasing your tickets in advance, you'll have peace of mind knowing you're getting some of the most exquisite theatre in Fort Collins.

Contact the Bas Bleu box office today and purchase season tickets and enjoy all of our plays without having to wait in line at the box office. Not interested in purchasing the entire season? No problem. We have custom packages available as well.