On Sunday, July 19th, 128 canoes and kayaks launched onto the Mill Pond in New London, MN for a unique paddling AND theatre event. Paddle on the Pond: A Theatrical Journey Through New London, MN was an original, place-based musical theater experience presented by PlaceBase Productions, in partnership with the New London Little Theatre, the New London Arts Alliance and the City of New London.
The play was staged at 6 scene locations around the Mill Pond (see map to the left) as a part of New London’s Water Days Celebration and to celebrate the town’s Sesquicentennial (that’s 150 years old). The cast and crew for this one-of-a-kind, community-driven production was made up of over 50 New London-area residents.
Check out a documentary about Paddle on the Pond here:
Everyone who gathered on the pond that day will never forget this once-in-a-lifetime play.
Check out photos from the performance HERE
Check out a few photos from rehearsal here
New London, MN, population 1251, sits comfortably in a meander of the Crow River in Central Minnesota. Soon after Louis Larson and Sam Stoner settled here in the 1860s they built a dam which caused the river to rise over its banks. As a result water surrounds the town on three sides to create one of the most picturesque small town landscapes in Minnesota.
During our research phase we collected stories from over 100 people in town to inform the script for the production. We held Story Swaps at New London-Spicer High School, Glen Oaks Senior Center, and 3 more for the entire town:
• Saturday, January 24 from 2:00-4:00pm at the New London Senior Center
• Sunday, January 25 from 2:00-4:00pm at The Little Theatre of New London as a part of the “Celebrate Our Art” event
• Saturday, February 21 from 2:00-4:00pm at the New London Senior Center
See Below our poster and information for story swaps:
Story Swaps are an informal place to share (or just listen) to stories about your community. We believe everyone has a story to share and we want to hear it!
Participants at our first story swap created a memory map of New London, labeling their favorite places in town.
Potter, Mayor Bill Gossman holds the memory map, which travelled around to all of the cafes in town during research in 2014 and 2015.
Read an article about making the play here: