Theatre Unbound delivers thought-provoking live theatre conceived and created by women, providing audiences with engaging, rarely-seen perspectives on issues that are relevant and universal.
Theatre Unbound will be a nationally-recognized source of challenging opportunities for women theatre artists, creating a broader range of stories and stimulating communities to change the way they view gender roles in society.
- Produce theatre that is meaningful, beautiful and entertaining.
- Create and sustain a working environment that is collaborative, supportive and fair-minded.
- Inform ourselves and others of the contributions of women theatre artists past and present.
Founded in Minneapolis-St. Paul in 1999, Theatre Unbound has built a strong track record of fulfilling our mission. In today’s American theatre scene, where only 18% of plays are written or directed by women, Theatre Unbound productions have given opportunities to 137 female directors, 435 female actors, 109 male actors, and 126 female playwrights from the 10th century to the 21st.
The work we produce ranges from contemporary classics like Paula Vogel’s How I Learned To Drive, a witty, poignant drama about surviving childhood sexual abuse, to world premieres like Anne Bertram’s Frankenstein Incarnate: The Passions of Mary Shelley, a “multifaceted” (City Pages) drama about Shelley’s life and best-known work, to revivals of scripts by early women writers, like Alice Gerstenberg’s “Overtones,” a sharp satire about the contrast between what we say and how we feel.
We foster new work through two regular programs. Every year, we produce a 24:00:00 Xtreme Theatre Smackdown, in which twelve playwrights, six directors and dozens of actors create and perform six short pieces between nine p.m. Friday and eight p.m. Saturday. And we have produced four installments of the Directors’ Gym, a unique project which gives eight female directors the opportunity to devise new short pieces and present them to an audience of the general public and specially-invited representatives from theatre and film producers.
Other notable public recognition:
- In April 2011, Norwegian composer Anne Lorentzen obtained funding and traveled to St. Paul to present her performance piece about serial killer Belle Gunness in conjunction with a performance of Murderess.
- In May 2012, Minnesota Women’s Press named Artistic Director Stacey Poirier “Favorite Minnesota Role Model for Women in the Arts.”
- In September 2012, Theatre Unbound’s all-female production of Julius Caesar received an Ivey Award for Inventive Reinterpretation.
Theatre Unbound, Inc. is a Minnesota non-profit corporation and a 501(c)(3) organization.
A legal office professional by day and actress by night, Charla has managed to be happy enjoying her two passions in life; law and drama. Performing on stages throughout the Twin Cities for years as a poet and actress, Charla has performed at the Guthrie, Penumbra and Pangea. She has also worked with Mama Mosaic, Theatre Coup d'Etat, The Unit Collective and Theatre Unbound. Charla has recently written a short play, started directing and became an Ambassador for Ten Thousand Things Theater. She thoroughly enjoys live theater, ballroom dance, softball, travelling and being with family.
Anne Bertram is a founding Artistic Associate of Theatre Unbound and currently serves as Executive Director. Her work as a playwright has been seen in venues from off-Off Broadway to middle-school classrooms in Fargo, as well as in a number of Theatre Unbound productions, including 2007's Frankenstein Incarnate: The Passions of Mary Shelley and 2011's Murderess. Awards and commissions include Northwestern University’s Agnes Nixon Playwriting Award (for lovehateforgive), The Playwrights’ Center’s Jones Commission (for The Donner Gold), Studio Z’s Playwright in Electronic Residence Commission (for St. Luke’s), and the Tennessee Williams One-Act Prize (for Liability).
Alexandra has been living and working in the Twin Cities for the past five years. Primarily a costume designer, she has designed for companies such as Penumbra Theatre Company, St. Croix Festival Theater, Gremlin, Theater Pro Rata, The Paul Bunyan Play House, Gustavus Adolphus College, and The Gray Space Performance Company, with whom she is also an artistic associate. The Gray Space Performance Company's main focus is to engage and encourage people in human rights activism. She has also been seen on stage at The Guthrie in Edgardo Mine, and when anyone lets her perform. She makes a living by teaching improv and designing for North Hennepin Community College, while following her dreams by contributing to socially conscious theater companies all over the area.
Jennifer Long has staged managed for Theatre Unbound's productions of Babe: An Olympic Musical, A Staged Reading/Concert, Frankenstein Incarnate: The Passions of Mary Shelley, The Anastasia Trials in the Court of Women, Women! Live on Stage!, Girl's Got Pluck. She has also worked with Bedlam Studio (The Hole in the Bottom of the Holiday), MN Jewish Theatre (Modern Orthodox, Shadows of the Valley), E.S.C (Gangster No. 1), 3 AM Productions (Songs of Love and War). Jeni graduated with a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Minnesota, Morris in 2003.
Julie is a bit of a jack of all trades as she has worked professionally as an actor, director, dramaturg, stage manager, voice/dialect coach, and on rare occasions movement choreographer. With TU she has been seen as Emily Wilding Davison/Edith Garrud in The Good Fight as well as played the Mother in Deaf Day as a part of Girl Shorts 2014. Other acting credits include work at Richmond Shakespeare: Lady Croom, Arcadia; Mariana/Mistress Overdone/Juliet/Provost, Measure for Measure; Mary (otherwise known as Almost everyone but Scrooge), A Christmas Carol for 2 Actors; Bagot/Duchess of York, Richard II; as well as productions at the Shafer Alliance Theatre: Annie, Obscura (world premier); Marion, Summer in Gossensass; Chamberlayne Actor's Theatre: Ellen (performing understudy), The Art of Dining; Emmerich Theatre Production Company: Hucklebee, The Fantasticks; Josie Pye, Anne of Green Gables; multiple roles, King David; Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter; Orpah/Bilhah, Under His Wings. Directing and Co-Directing credits include: As You Like it, Dr. Faustus, The Tempest, Afternoon at the Seaside, Alice in Wonderland, The Merry Wives of Windsor and children's productions of Macbeth, The Tempest, 12th Night, Midsummer Night's Dream. Julie earned her MFA at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2007.
Brittany is a graduate from Hamline University in St. Paul. She freelances in the Twin Cities area as a lighting designer and technician. In addition to serving as Technical Director for Theatre Unbound, she also works at Andover High School as their technical director and scenic/lighting designer.
Ms. Wiebers joined Theatre Unbound in 2005. She has appeared in TU's productions of St. Luke's, Bits and Pieces, Girl's Got Pluck, The Tempest, The Anastasia Trials in the Court of Women, Frankenstein Incarnate: The Passions of Mary Shelley, Murderess, Girl Shorts and Silkworms. She has also appeared at the Guthrie Theater, Park Square Theatre, Lyric Theatre, Ebullient Theatre Company, The Playwrights' Center, Theatre In The Round Players and the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Her work has also been seen in commercials, industrials and feature films.
Grace Berke holds a BA in English from the University of Minnesota. A native of Austin MN, she was active from childhood in Summerset Theater there, and has worked in student and community engagement at Northrop Auditorium and the Ordway. She works for Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association in Minneapolis as Program and Member Services Coordinator.
Theresa Burgess is a life long theater patron and participant. She holds a BFA in theater from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and an MBA in nonprofit and entrepreneurship from the University of Saint Thomas. She has worked for Minnesota Public Radio since 2005 on the nationally syndicated programs Live From Here, A Prairie Home Companion, The Splendid Table and The Writer’s Almanac. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two young daughters.
Barbara Davis made her career as a teacher and consultant with nonprofit groups and funders. She specialized in fundraising, planning and board development. She served as adjunct faculty for St Mary’s University and the Center for Nonprofit Management at the University of St Thomas. She is now retired and lives in Saint Paul.
Kate Duffy is a fundraising professional with more than 15 years experience working in nonprofits, public policy, and politics. She currently serves as a Senior Development Officer at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, MN. Kate has a Masters degree in Public Policy from the Humphrey School at the University of Minnesota and a BA in English from Haverford College. Originally from Massachusetts, she lives in Minneapolis with her husband, son, two cats, and dog.
Amy Esposito holds a BS in theater arts management from Ithaca College in New York. She came to the Twin Cities in September 2017 to work as Marketing and Communications Specialist at the University of Minnesota Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. Previously she was the Director of Marketing for the Chicago Opera Theater and worked for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Glimmerglass Festival. She is working on her MPS in arts and cultural leadership at the U of M.
JoAnn Fernandez, a global general management executive for 3M, joined the board in 2011. Now retired, she lives in Saint Paul with her husband and a little white dog.
Karla Leitzman is Special Gift Officer and Coordinator of Reunion Giving at her alma mater Gustavus Adolphus College, where she earned a BA in Theatre. She previously worked in fundraising for the Girl Scouts of MN and WI River Valleys.
Robin Lenarz holds a BA from Hamline University and a law degree from Harvard. She works as Assistant General Counsel for Securian Asset Management in Saint Paul, where she analyzes loan documents, coordinates legal services to the private placement investment team, and carries out a variety of other responsibilities. She lives in White Bear Township with her husband and has two college-age daughters. She counts her backstage time for her performing daughters among her most interesting hours.
Ashley Wheeler holds a BFA in theater from Stephens College and a Master of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She has been with Native Americans in Philanthropy since 2015 and is their Office and Operations Manager. She has a passion for women in theater and continues to be involved in the Twin Cities theater community, including with Lakeshore Players and Grace & Grit Women’s Theatre Collective. She resides in Minneapolis with her husband Aaron and their three animals.