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Broom Street Theater

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History of Broom Street

Broom Street Theater is a non-profit venue ran by members and volunteers. Since 1969, they have been an established 501(c)3 working to create a theater where people of all socio-economic standings are able to attend. Stuart Gordon, most famous for re-animating Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, founded Broom Street Theater. The torch was quickly passed along to Joel Gersmann in 1970 who was, “the face, the heart, and the soul of the theater for three dozen years.”

Broom Street Sticks to its Sentiment

In 1977, Broom Street Theater bought the building which has allowed the venue to stay true to their convictions and follow their artistic path. Despite having a very small budget to work from, the team works together to make the impossible, possible. Unfortunately, Gersmann passed away abruptly at sixty-two years old in 2005. That same year, Broom Street made their motto, “One Theater/Many Voices” meaning they want to see new writers step out in boldness and, “find their own voices.”

Harty and Renken Trod New Ground as Broom Street’s Administrative Director

The position of Administrative Director was filled by only three other people from 2005 to 2017. Callen Harty took over the role in 2005-2010. In her five years, Harty brought in the greatest number of female and minority writers and directors the theater had in its entire history. Heather Renken took over the position in 2010 and held it until 2017. Renken’s ample experience in theater production, totaling at twenty years prior to accepting the position, helped her get the theater in the black and keep it there, “for many years in a row now.”

Reed Paves the Road for Aspiring Actors and Comedians

Doug Reed took over for Renken in 2017 who helped jumped-start many actors’ careers. While Broom Street Theater paved the way for many Chicago, Hollywood, and Broadway actors, the most notable is Charlie Hill, who was, “the first Native American stand-up comedian to ever appear on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.”

Broom Street’s Blunt Truth

The goal of Broom Street Theater is to develop an artistic community of, “freedom, growth, and expression through non-traditional experimental and/or original artistic forms.” Broom Street confronts cultural standards head on by pushing the envelope of “acceptable” productions. The theater aims to support the freedom of expression by not censoring any writers’ or directors’ work. Additionally, Broom Street wishes to enhance, “communication, education, and entertainment,” with the productions they choose to host.

Broom Street’s Community Impact

Broom Street Theater makes it possible for folks living within the community to attend their showings by keeping the admission fees relatively economical and fair. Furthermore, Broom Street Theater encourages Madison citizens to get involved by, “rewarding hard work with rights accompanied by responsibilities.”

Location 1119 Williamson St, Madison, WI 53703
Phone 608.244.8338

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