The Catamounts create audacious contemporary theatre, empowering arts education programs, and singular community events. A not-for-profit organization, we believe in the necessity of new work, the power of collaborative creation, the constant innovation of artistic forms, and in the role performance plays in enriching and inspiring our communities and our lives.
The Catamounts are here because people as intrepid and innovative as those in Colorado deserve a theatre company that matches their boldness and imagination.
We were founded in the fall of 2010 by Amanda and Ben Berg Wilson, inspired by ten years of performance-making in Chicago. Upon relocating to Boulder, our founders wanted to bring to their new hometown the kind of adventurous, multidisciplinary theatre they had been creating in Chicago. They also wanted to continue the successful arts educational methodology they had honed in programs they taught in neighborhoods from Chicago's South Side to its North Shore.
The Catamounts incorporated on January 4, 2011, for the purposes of producing audacious contemporary plays and serving in empowering educational residencies. A third programmatic arm was added to The Catamounts in the fall of 2011, when company member Lauren Shepard proposed The Catamounts integrate theatre with the kind of "farm-style" seated dinner becoming popular along the Front Range. This idea seemed both appropriately adventurous and apt in a town teeming with food and drink artisans, and a community-wide passion for local food and drink.
Thus, our FEED series was born. This singular program brings together theatre artists with brewers, chefs, farmers, dancers, visual artists, and musicians to collaboratively create one-of-a-kind events on farms and in community spaces. FEED features a multi-course seated meal, in which each course is a pairing of a dish, drink, and performance piece. All courses are centered around a theme, and live music weaves the night together.
FEED has been such a hit with our community that in 2013 we expanded its ethos to our full-length productions by including a post-show community meal after Saturday evening performances. A ticket to these shows includes a post-show meal at which we serve a specialty beer and a menu crafted for us by local food trucks and artisans. The audience and artists literally sit down at the table together, communing around the experience of the play.
By the end of this, our eleventh season, we will have produced 26 world or regional premiere productions of bold contemporary plays and musicals, including original, site-specific immersive theatre pieces; served in 23 educational residencies; held nine summers of Camp Catamounts; and produced 25 FEED events. We have grown into a company of elevent company artists, a dozen artistic associates, and a board of five community leaders, and we serve thousands of audience members and students each season. Fifty percent of our audience is younger than 40, and 50 percent attend performance less than four times a year. We are wielding adventurous performance to reach those who might not otherwise participate in the performing arts.
Our work has received significant acclaim and awards, including thirteen Colorado Theatre Guild nominations, eight Westword "Best of Denver" awards, six Camera Eye Awards, and four True West awards. Juliet Wittman of Westword Magazine describes us as "the wittiest troupe around--and the most charmingly inventive."
Our work consists of three major programs:
Our Full‐Length Theatre Productions: We produce two to three full‐length shows each season, focusing on the regional premiere of boundary-pushing contemporary scripts by emerging playwrights. These productions are usually held in a traditional performance spaces such as the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder. We have produced 18 full-length productions since 2011, and four original immersive theatre works, Rausch, The Last Apple Tree, The Rough, and Land of Milk and Honey.
Our Educational Programs: Each season, we serve in school‐based educational programs with, and offer sessions of our summer‐intensive to, elementary school students in the Boulder Valley area. In both our school‐based programs and our summer intensives, we lead students through the process of collaboratively creating an original, multidisciplinary performance. We have worked with the second-grade students of local schools such as Heatherwood Elementary, Flatirons Elementary, and Creekside Elementary, and we have held eight summers of Camp Catamounts.
Our Singular FEED Series: We produce two FEED events annually, in which we pair curated performance with artisanal food and drink in a seated multi‐course dinner. These events are held in non‐traditional performance spaces such as the Lone Hawk Farm, Still Cellars, and the Altona Grange. FEED events are collaborations with local brewers, distillers, chefs, farmers, and artisanal food makers. We have produced 25 of these events since 2011.
Lisa Kennedy on The Catamounts: "[The Catamounts] actively redraw the borders of the area's performance/theater scene."
Juliet Wittman, Westword Magazine: "The Catamounts are the wittiest theater troupe around - and, in many ways, the most charmingly inventive..."
Caitline Rockett, Boulder Weekly: "The Catamounts [are] Boulder's adventurous theater company practically dedicated to enhancing the excitability of the whole machine."
Audience member: "Each Catamounts show feels unique. You're not just seeing a show, you're in for an experience."
Audience member: "It's hard to pick a single piece of The Catamounts experience that is most appealing because the whole product is so thoughtfully created, from the hand-crafted cocktails to the world-class performance."
Audience member: "The Catamounts make innovative, exciting theatre with a warm, welcoming atmosphere."
Audience member: "You are doing exceptional work in an exceptional way. I love the post-show events and how you engage deeply with your audience members through food and drink."
Audience member: "Thank you to The Catamounts for educating us, feeding us, entertaining us, connecting us to nature, and making us all-around better human beings."
Katie Gallagher, Second-Grade Teacher from Flatirons Elementary: "The Catamounts bring a unique approach to learning for students. This approach reached students that may otherwise struggle. It allowed various students to thrive, and solidified their knowledge of the people and places of India, which was our theme for song creation. By using music, elements of poetry, and movement, The Catamounts inspired our second-grade students to use the knowledge they learned in the traditional classroom setting to write and choreograph two original songs about India. After 10 lessons, our students were prepared to perform in front of a large group of parents and family members. We received positive feedback from our audience, which was most impressed with how The Catamounts supported the second-grade curriculum and standards through the use of writing, music, and movement. The program was indeed a great success."
Camp Catamounts parent: "The whole experience was incredible for [my daughter's] self esteem and creative juices - and fun to boot!"
Camp Catamounts parent: "I have always been hugely impressed with and grateful for the Catamounts being in our 'hood, so glad to have your daring and aplomb! But then to add to that accomplishment a wildly successful two-week kids' camp, wow! [Our daughter] LOVED the entire time, and I and the rest of our group could not believe what you accomplished, with such fun, in two weeks! Thanks a ton for having us--we all loved being a part of the Catamounts community!"