[click "Play" to hear Susan's conversation with Sally and Kim]
About one month ago, certain very lucky kids in Telluride got to do what other lucky kids have done for 25 silvery years: slide down muddy Coronet Creek into the experience of a lifetime. It’s time for the Mudd Butts Mystery Theater Troupe’s annual performance. Yes, you read me correctly. The Mudd Butts just turned 25.
Come help the Mudd Butts celebrate by attending this year’s production, August 12 – August 14. “A Day When Nothing Was Supposed to Happen” is a Telluride story that begins with the Nothing Festival 2012 and find its way down to the center of earth and back through a prairie dog hole.
The idea to create a drama camp for kids in Telluride had been blowing in the wind. In 1987, the seed took root: the Telluride Academy under the auspices of director Wendy Brooks effectively became the troupe’s producer. Sally Davis and Kim Epifano (and John Fago, who is no longer directly involved) became co-directors. Mudd Butts thrived and grew: today, Mudd Butts International acts as a diplomat without portfolio, forging relationships and developing mutual understanding and respect for young neighbors around the globe through the medium of theater.
The Telluride Academy’s Mudd Butts is a four-week theater intensive covering all aspects of what it takes to make a play happen. Through the Mudd Butts, kids aged 10 – 13 get to explore theater games, script and songwriting, improvisation, dance, voice, even marketing. But that’s only what’s described in the Academy’s brochure.
Read between the lines and it becomes clear the young people fortunate enough to participate in the Mudd Butts wind up acquiring invaluable and indelible life tools. Kids meet their inner artist while developing confidence and discovering ways to laugh at themselves and navigate the mind field of group dynamics. What the directors are after to broadening kids’ horizons about social, political and environmental issues. Through the Mudd Butts experience, kids travel from a local address on to the world stage. (Literally at times. There is a Mudd Butts International program.)
“We love the collaborative aspect of our work: young teens creating with adult artists. Our focus is experimentation, self exploration, and a combination of art forms,” explained Sally Davis and Kim Epifano, the heart and soul of the Mudd Butts and the troupe’s guiding angels.
Sally Davis is a musician, theater director, performer and arts educator and Kim Epifano, an award-winning choreographer, director, performer, vocalists, educator. Sally and Kim have partners in crime, among them prop master/sculptor Mike Stasiuk and co-writer Pamela Zoline. Over the years, the group has brought in numerous guest artists from around the globe and are always blessed with the return of some of their graduates, who roll up their sleeves to help. Collectively everyone is nothing if not topical.
We still do this after 25 years because the work transforms us all and challenges everyone one of us creatively to push the envelope, ” continued Sally and Kim. “Mudd Butt actors give us new perspective on just about everything in the world. Our 18 Mudd Butt International trips have added an incredibly rich layer to the overall Mudd Butts experience, which is unique for all involved.”
To learn more about the history of the Mudd Butts and this year’s production, click the “play” button and listen to their interview, the first in a series of posts covering this year’s event.