Mission: Amphibian Stage Productions strives to produce innovative and engaging theater that inspires new ideas, opens new doors, and increases our understanding of the vast world around us.
Values: We value storytelling as a catalyst for empathy, self-knowledge, and deeper thought.
We value the risks our artists are willing to take to breathe life into these stories.
We value our audience for their openness to be moved and changed by theater.
We value the generosity of those able to help create this world through their donations.
Vision: We believe in the fearless power of theatre. We strive to make our home a place where stories come to life. It is our responsibility as the storytellers to strive for excellence, to create something beautiful, and to make it accessible to all.
Our mission in action
Since the beginning, the Amphibian’s objective was not only to entertain, but to give audiences something to think about, to incite conversation, to bring up important issues and big ideas, and make an impact—whether it be a ripple or a wave.
In 2003, Amphibian produced the U.S. premiere of The True History of the Tragic Life and Triumphant Death of Julia Pastrana the Ugliest Woman in the World. Performed entirely in pitch-black darkness, Julia Pastrana is an inventive drama about the real-life Mexican “bear woman” who gained fame as a sideshow act in the mid-1800s. Exploited by her husband—a man who purchased the then-20-year-old from her family—Julia’s life was never her own. She toured the world performing in fairs and freak shows for several years until she gave birth to a son. The infant, who inherited her deformities, died within hours, and Julia, within days. Soon after their deaths, Julia’s husband mummified the bodies of his wife and child and continued touring them throughout Europe. Julia’s remains were passed from owner to owner until, damaged and partially dismembered, her body was tucked away in the University of Oslo’s basement storage. Laura Anderson Barbata, an internationally-acclaimed artist and the costume designer for that first production, initiated a decade-long effort to repatriate Ms. Pastrana.
In November 2012, Amphibian produced the show again, as the first in its new 120 S. Main Street theater. Four months later, after years of petitioning the Norwegian university and garnering support from world leaders, Barbata oversaw Pastrana’s Catholic burial in her home state of Sinaloa, Mexico. The incredible story made news worldwide, including a feature in the New York Times (An Artist Finds a Dignified Ending for an Ugly Story by Charles Wilson).
We were proud that our production of the tragic tale ultimately led to a triumphant end.
“Across the country it is the small local theatres like Amphibian Stage Productions that are serving their immediate community with daring, cutting-edge, and extremely entertaining theatre. Here, homegrown audiences and artists gather and connect with each other, with their humanity, their history and their future. We should watch them closely, embrace the risks they take and support the continuance of their efforts.”
Kevin Kline – Amphibian Capital Campaign Chair