This article appeared in the September 2010 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe, please visit loumag.com.
Finding space has been a recurring struggle for Juergen Tossmann. It was his first task when he took over as producing artistic director at Bunbury Theatre in 1990, and since then he’s overseen the company’s move to a site on Seventh Street (now the 21c Museum Hotel) and on to its current location on Third Street at the Henry Clay Building in 2007. Now that the company is entering its 25th season and Tossmann is starting his 20th, both have settled into a space that fits well. “The intimacy of a 140-seat theater is something that’s magical,” he says.
While the 25th anniversary is a milestone worthy of celebration, he says, it’s also an opportunity to reflect on how best to grow the company. A component of his mission for Bunbury involves forming new partnerships with people and organizations both in the Henry Clay and the community. As part of this vision, Bunbury is partnering with the Festival of Faiths in November to present films and performance pieces. Tossmann notes that direct collaborations like the upcoming festival have many benefits. “You’re introducing people who normally wouldn’t come to what you do,” he says. “You’re able to work with creative people who brainstorm ideas that are invaluable to everyone.”
Another collaboration opens the season on Sept. 26. Murder at the Henry Clay, written by Bullitt County playwright Bill Breuer, is designed specifically for the space and will be incorporated into an evening featuring a catered dinner. Looking back on Bunbury’s quarter-century, Tossmann is grateful to have survived relocations and down economies and still be in the position to mount professional productions. “Theaters usually don’t get to be 25 years old,” he says.
Photo: Louisville Magazine