Fergus Falls: The Kirkbride Cycle, September 6, 2014

the kirkbride

PlaceBase Productions, in partnership with Springboard for the Arts – Fergus Falls, turned the grounds of the Fergus Falls Kirkbride Regional Treatment Center into a stage to showcase the local talent and explore the rich history, stories, and collective memories associated with the building on September 6, 2014. This production brought over 600 people from Fergus Falls and all over Minnesota to experience an unforgettable play about the history of mental health and an outdoor gallery of sculptures, paintings, and installations created by regional artists. Audience members rode on bikes and in hay-ride-style “people movers” from scene to scene around the outside of this 1/3-mile-long building. More than one audience member commented, “I have never seen anything like this!”

Prairie Dreams

The goal of the Kirkbride Cycle was to provide a creative forum for the community of Fergus Falls to explore and discuss the past, present and future of the building and it’s grounds, through a public “walking theatre” performance based on the history and stories of the building.


The Main Tower of the KirkbrideAshley and Andrew of PlaceBase Productions collected stories in Fergus Falls for ten months. They had conversations with numerous local citizens about the relationship between the RTC and the community, with former employees and residents about the evolution of mental health care, and with local politicians and preservation advocates about the history of this beautiful building. The play incorporated all of these elements, and, aside from Ashley and Andrew, who served as Artistic Directors, the entire cast and crew was comprised of over 60 Fergus Falls residents. This was community-based theatre at its best.

Watch a documentary about the Kirkbride Cycle

Watch an episode of POSTCARDS from Pioneer Public Television about the role of the Kirkbride Cycle in the Kirkbride Arts and Culture Weekend.

CLICK HERE or on the photo below to see MORE PHOTOS from the production


A Letter from Mayor Hal Leland of Fergus Falls

Mayor Hal Leland

Ashley & Andrew.  
The City of Fergus Falls, all the marvelous and dedicated “actors” and “performers, the bicyclists and everyone who thoroughly enjoyed the performances, along with this mayor extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to both of you for creating The Kirkbride Cycle. The Kirkbride Cycle is the most creative, informative, meaningful, and loving artistic creation our community has had the privilege to experience and enjoy. And you were able to capture the essence of the Kirkbride and our community in a very brief span of time. Ashley & Andrew, you are truly great artists in your own right and have blessed our community with your time, talents , and love for humanity, historic preservation, and the arts.  Thank you again for your most appreciated “Master Piece”!  You both will always have a special place in our hearts.
Mayor Hal Leland. 


Songs from the production–recorded by the cast.

Prairie Dreams

Homespun Music

Watch a video about our process of creating the Kirkbride Cycle in Fergus Falls

Photos from Rehearsal

East Detached Wing

Rehearsing on one of many stages

Reading in the shadow of the Kirkbride

Doctor and Business Man

Homespun Music

James Fergus and Joseph Whitford

Click here to read an article about the Kirkbride Cycle from Howlround.com

Click here to read the Press Release for the Kirkbride Cycle.


Photograph of 115 motorcycles in front of the Fergus Falls Kirkbride, by WT Oxley                      (Zoom in on it!)