trident theatre

Myles Stillman, left, Aaron Odom and Christopher Schultz perform improv comedy during Habitat for Humanity’s “On The Foundation” fundraiser last summer in Sheridan. Odom has started a new theater company in Sheridan, Trident Theatre Company.

This past spring, my time ended as the full-time theater Instructor at Sheridan College. The position was always interim, which by definition, is unfortunately finite.

At this point, I must publicly thank my faculty partner Stephanie Koltiska for all her support, engagement, and positive collaboration. We did great big things together and I wouldn’t have made it through the last two years without her, the angel on my shoulder. She’s going to continue doing some amazing things for that college and her students, and if you invest in Stephanie and her program, you’ll be proud that you did. She’s a gem, folks.

Transition always allows the opportunity to reflect. But moments of nostalgia and self-evaluation should be similar to the interim nature of my theater Instructor position: finite. So, now that that chapter in my life is over, I’m wondering what some of you might be wondering: what am I going to do next. Well, I’ve got some ideas brewing.

The lockdown earlier this year and the following months have allowed me the opportunity to recharge my creative batteries, as they were nearly spent. In that recharge, I reminded myself what truly matters to me about the delivery of my artistic product.

A mentor of mine once told me that theater must be for the community in which it is delivered, otherwise the message doesn’t land.

Allow me to translate.

One of the original purposes of theater that has maintained its presence throughout theater history is to allow the audience the chance to view itself in a controlled format in order to correct any damaging practices. If theater doesn’t engage, sustain, progress, or challenge a community (yes, challenge — but much as an instructor would challenge a student to learn), then the art form may not have a purpose in the community.

I wholeheartedly believe that theater has a place in this community. Your consistent patronage has shown me that, Sheridan. So, I look forward to developing a theater product directed at you. And beyond.

I looked back at the mission and vision statements for my production company, Trident Theatre. Feel free to go look at them as well at tridenttheatre.com. Despite not devoting myself to the development of my brand for the past two years, my mission and vision statements remain true. Trident “strives to … [remain] progressive and relevant in the creation of its product…” and “… connect audiences to theatrical experiences on a visceral level that demand conversation long after the theatrical event is over.”

So, what does this mean? The theatrical community as a whole has also taken a punch. At this time, Broadway theaters are closed until at least January, and I’d be surprised if the Great White Way opens even then, and thousands of other theatrical communities throughout the world are facing similar challenges. So, what is the future of live performance?

I’m looking at several options for myself and Trident. I’m currently working on several productions for the Sheridan area. I’m also looking to expand the “community” with podcasts, and I hope to launch my own after Thanksgiving. I’m working on models for acting lessons and for consultation for dramatic experiences.

Mainly, the goal is to connect people to those “visceral experiences” I tout in my mission statement, to help theater evolve to a point where it is safe for COVID times and beyond and relevant to the time in which it is presented.

If you'd like to know more, how you can get involved or just would like to connect, Trident has platforms on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or you can just write me at trident@tridenttheater.com. I'd love to hear from you.

I’ll see you at intermission!

Aaron Odom is the managing and artistic director of Trident Theatre.

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