JACKSONVILLE, FL – The Bold City gained its newest theatrical company today with the announcement of the formation of the Bold Theatre Group. The Group describes itself as “an artist collective specializing in theatrical strategy, ensemble work, and event-based storytelling.” Local actor/director/producers Daniel Austin and Ron Shreve founded the group, and will serve as initial Executive Director and Artistic Director, respectively. Both graduates from the University of Florida’s Theatre program, the pair lived and worked in New York before moving to Jacksonville.
“For me the focus is on community,” says Austin. “When Ron and I searched for a new place to plant roots, we choose Jacksonville over other markets because we see a community that is hungry for art, both as participants and audience members.”
Austin and Shreve have worked heavily in the local theatrical community since moving to Jacksonville in 2013. Shreve, who is currently working on theatrical education with Theatre Jacksonville and the Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child program, has directed notable local productions such as Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Jesus Christ Superstar at Players by the Sea, where he served for two years as Director of Productions. Austin has appeared on the local stage in several memorable roles, and was voted “Best Actor” in Folio Weekly’s Best of Jax 2014.
As for creating the Bold Theatre Group, Austin says the idea was born out of organic collaboration. “We’ve been fortunate to work with so many great institutions here in Jacksonville. Our idea is to bring the core components of theatre to the work we do, which will be two-fold.” Austin says the Group will not only collaborate with organizations to produce stand-alone theatrical performances, but also bring a theatre into the community through events and workshops. “We’re looking to be a resource for all kinds of people and organizations. We’ll create team-building workshops, theatrical events, and ways to help you work smarter and more confidently.”
One of the key components of the Group’s formation was to establish a space to pay local actors. “This city is filled with creative talent, and has a wonderful stock of theatrical performers who live to work and create,” says Austin. “The Bold Theatre Group is committed to creating projects that provide compensation for the actors, which is rare in this area. Many people don’t realize that community theatre is a volunteer project for an actor. We’re so fortunate to have a strong, reliable community theatre system in Jacksonville – that’s essential for a vibrant, artistic city. Where we are lacking is on the professional side. Our new company is not an answer to balance the scales, but rather an offering to help support our local creative ecosystem. The more opportunities there are for creative individuals, the stronger the fabric of our city becomes.”
The Group announced that its first official project will be working with MOCA Jacksonville to produce programming and ultimately a show surrounding its fall exhibition, “Smoke and Mirrors: Sculpture and the Imaginary.” The Group will be teaming up with MOCA at events like Downtown Art Walk to introduce theatrical elements, and will culminate in the production of Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker in December.
“Teaming up with MOCA for this first project was a no-brainer,” says Artistic Director Ron Shreve. “We’re happy that such a popular and beloved institution in our community would take a chance on a new venture, and we’re excited to see what theatre can bring to a contemporary art museum. We’re especially enthusiastic that compensating the actors was a top priority for MOCA, and we look forward to offering paid roles to local artists.”
While the Group is new to the game, they are eager to get underway. “In the coming months, we’ll be working to put our true group together of artists and supporters,” says Austin. “I encourage anyone who is interested in what we’re doing to reach out and get in touch through our website at boldtheatregroup.com. We’ll be happy to connect and create with you.”
About the Bold Theatre Group
Founded in 2015, The Bold Theatre Group is an artist collaborative specializing in theatrical strategy, ensemble work, and event-based storytelling working out of Jacksonville, Florida. Learn more at boldtheatre.com.