Embrace the Future

Jun 20, 2012 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Attitude, City Life, Playbills (Theatre)

Here at Playbills vs. Paying Bills, we’ve never shied away from addressing tricky situations. We’ve always tried to be as honest as possible in talking about acting, and it’s in that same spirit of honesty that I write this post.

I’ve lived in Chicago for the past 5 years, and I’ve met some stunningly talented performers, many of whom I’m lucky to call my good friends today. There are countless opportunities in this city, and I’ve spent long hours building relationships and putting my brand out there. As a result, I’ve been blessed with a ton of great acting gigs, and I continue to live the dream I’ve been dreaming since childhood.

Lately, some of my most rewarding work has come in the form of directing, and in working on the production side of theatre. I find myself thrilled by the puzzling challenge of getting butts in seats, and by promoting a company’s vision in the artistic community. Through working with my Chicago company, The Consortium Project, I’ve gotten a taste of what it means to create theatre from the ground up, and I absolutely love it.

With my artistic focus heading in this new direction, I’ve decided to pair that change with an even bigger one. Therefore, I’m leaving Chicago next week and moving to Denver to start a new, not-for-profit theatre company in my hometown.

I had to consider a number of different factors, and it was a tough call to make, but in the end it came down to two things:

  • If I’m going to start a theatre company, I’m committing everything I’ve got to it. Therefore, I want to set up shop in a place that I can see my self living long-term. Do I want to raise a family someday? Definitely. Do I want to do that in Chicago? Absolutely not. Having grown up in the Rocky Mountain region, I can tell you that it affords residents a quality of life that is second to none.
  • Chicago has hundreds of small theatres, and it’s easy to get lost in this vast sea of storefront setups and young troupes. I want to go somewhere where the supply doesn’t outweigh the demand. Denver is incredibly hip to the arts, but there is still a ton of room for newcomers.

Once I had made the decision to move, it was just a matter of overcoming my ego and following my heart (which isn’t always easy for me, let me tell you). The ego was that loud voice yelling in my ear, saying, “Dude, you can’t leave now! You’ve done so much and come so far!” But as I thought about it, I realized that I’m not just throwing away the lessons of the past 5 years. The things I’ve done and learned aren’t going anywhere, I’m just taking them with me somewhere else. The fun of having worked hard in the past means you get to apply the lessons you’ve learned to the rest of your life! And these relationships I’ve forged will hopefully last a lifetime, because I don’t intend to let any of you go that easily. 😉

Since I’m leaving Chicago, it only stands to reason that I can no longer represent the Chicago actor in this online forum. Thank you, readers and friends, for letting me be a small part of your careers for the past few years. It’s been a privilege, and you have taught me so much about myself as both an actor and a person. We are in the process of finding a Chicago actor who can fill my shoes, but in the meantime I’ll leave you in the capable hands of Ben and Erin.

I wish you all the best in your careers, and if you’re curious about the Colorado acting community, or would like to continue our wonderful dialogue, I encourage you to visit www.JoeVonBokern.com.

Yours always,