Our Process

Granite Image 2PlaceBase Productions works with a community in a three-phase process, which culminates in an educational and entertaining “walking theatre” performance. The Project Phases are: 1) Community Research; 2) Script Development; 3) Rehearsal and Performance.

Click here to see a photoblog about the creation of Paddling Theatre.

Phase 1: Community Research

After we have been invited into a community, we get to know people in whatever ways we can. Meeting and greeting steadily becomes a formal process of conducting interviews and collecting historical information about the community and the space. The information we gather will be the basis for framing a Community Workshop Series. We will connect with local schools, businesses, community groups and organizations to generate interest and involvement in the Workshop Series.

Granite 3Next, we host creative, interactive workshops that explore place through storytelling, writing, movement and drama activities. The Workshop Series will be free and open to all community members, providing an intergenerational, open forum to explore the individual and collective stories of the community, particularly as they relate to the place in question. We take the information gathered from the workshops to begin creating the performance script.

Check out these videos about our research process in New Ulm and Fergus Falls, MN.

Phase 2: Script Development

Although the content of the playscript will be generated through research and workshops, the performance will include a number of predetermined elements. The performance will be:


  • Mobile – using “walking theatre” to engage the audience mentally, physically and emotionally; the space for interaction with the historical and physical landscape
  • Site-Specific – using the geography and history of the landscape to lead the direction of the performance; the space assists in the telling of the story
  • Interactive – providing the audience the opportunity to have shared experiences; the space to relate to one another through discovering common narratives and shared history
  • Educational – using the history, folklore and current conditions of the community to inform audience about the past and explore the future; the space for dialogue and engagement with the subjects presented in the performance
  • Entertaining – using humor and a sense of play to ensure audience leaves feeling positive about their experience; the space to laugh, enjoy and connect with their community

During Script Development, PlaceBase Productions seeks to be in constant dialogue with community partners and artists of all stripes. We hope to involve as many people as possible in this play-filled process to create a performance that will strike greater chords.

Phase 3: Rehearsals and Performance

_MG_0682We will find a place for everyone who has an interest in being involved, but we also believe the audition is an important part of the theatre process. We will rehearse the play weekly for about a month, holding as many rehearsals as possible  ‘on-site,’ to get a feel for the place itself, which is nearly a character in the production. We invite friends and families of the cast for a preview performance so as to give the actors an opportunity to perform and interact with a live audience.

In the final performance we seek to reach three audience goals:

1) to reach and meaningfully impact the local community; 2) to inspire connection and care of the local place and environment; and 3) to raise awareness of that place or area’s history, land and culture to a broader audience in the Twin Cities and beyond.

We conclude our performance with a celebration, because it is important to celebrate powerful art. Audiences will be invited to participate in evaluation with the project team and actors following the performance. We use all actor and audience feedback to inform our future productions.

Check out these documentaries about our performances around Minnesota.