Arts Spotlight: The Edge Ensemble

The Edge was founded by Kim Dupuis in 1989, along with her graduate school MFA Company at the University of Florida. In 1990, Dupuis moved to Keene, NH to join local resident and co-founder, Scot Tolman, in our first production, Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune. After 29 years of performing in the local community, we have settled in Keene, and our present home is Heberton Hall, Keene Public Library Annex, where all performances have been held since 2008. Currently, we have 18 Ensemble members and 13 Extended Ensemble members, all drawn from Keene and the surrounding areas.  We have produced 37 plays and Edge Café Dinner Theatres and Dessert Theatres in various locations throughout the Monadnock area since our inception. 21 plays have been produced at our present home, Heberton Hall. While Heberton Hall is being renovated, we are currently producing our plays at Delegation Hall in the Old County Courthouse at 12 Court Street. We put our talent, experience, desire, heart and soul into our productions, and we have earned a reputation for artistic excellence. We aim to offer you, the residents of the greater Keene area, the best theatre possible by dazzling you with exciting season after exciting season. We hope that you will agree that we are worthy of being Keene’s resident professional theatre company.  

COME TO THE EDGE by Christopher Logue
Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It’s too high! 
COME TO THE EDGE!
And they came, and he pushed, and they flew. 

Regarding our name… We strive to work on the cutting edge. We aim to include edgy material in our seasons. We dare to go beyond our comfortable edges. We were inspired by Christopher Logue’s poem about Apollinaire.

Our “push” comes from our Founding Artistic Director, Kim Dupuis, who has been the driving force of our theatre company since 1989.  She continues to push us to dig deeper and deeper so that we can arrive at our strongest, most truthful, and most heartfelt work.

OUR MISSION: To create a resident professional theatre company based in Keene, NH, and to produce the highest caliber theatre that resonates with heart and truth, while at the same time encouraging the artistic and educational growth of our ensemble members and the community.

We produce plays that challenge both audiences and actors. To this end, we strive to present works that stretch the imagination and foster consideration of serious issues. We attempt to find plays that are not well-known and offer controversial and edgy material.  Such plays are important, and they often do not produce a lot of income for the theatre company. While we are committed to producing all kinds of plays for all kinds of audiences, we also take seriously our self-imposed responsibility to awaken and enlighten.

OUR FUTURE: TEE needs a dedicated performance space to grow into our vision for our theatre company. We are actively pursuing a home, and we have a $125,000 grant from an anonymous donor that has been earmarked as seed money for this purpose. 

Commitment to Monadnock Region Arts

Our company provides many local and regional artists an opportunity to work. The Edge Ensemble Theatre Company has been producing plays in downtown Keene, with great heart and tenacity, for the last ten of our 29 years.  We work hard, with only a few people orchestrating our work as a theatre company, and we operate on a bare-bones budget. Yet, we have been able to produce top-notch work because many of our local directors, actors and designers are professionals in their fields.  In addition to our 18 Ensemble members and 13 Extended Ensemble members, numerous other theatre artists collaborate with us regularly, including directors, actors, musicians, choreographers, stage managers, production crew; set, costume, light, sound, poster, and special effects designers; graphic artists; carpenters, seamstresses, electricians, sound and special effects operators; and other experts in various fields.

 Photo from Wait Until Dark, The Edge Ensemble

Photo from Wait Until Dark, The Edge Ensemble

Commitment to Collaboration

We collaborate with local and regional playwrights and we give them an opportunity to see their original works produced.  In 2008, the City of Keene chose Kim Dupuis and The Edge Ensemble to stage Nashua playwright Lowell Williams’ original play, Six Nights in the Black Belt.  This play is based on the story of Jonathan Daniels, Keene’s local hero of the civil rights movement.  The play was performed twice to packed houses.  We have also produced several other original works by local playwrights, including Auld Lang Syne by Walter Lowe, Stand Up by Scot Tolman, two original one-act plays, two original 10-minute play adaptations, and rehearsed readings of three other original plays: American Civ by Stacia Tolman, The Vastness Within by Dan Patterson, and Hope Against Hope by Cynthia Austin. We are continually in conversation with local playwrights about producing their original works.

The Edge is currently in the process of producing another original work. Our founder, Kim Dupuis, conceived the idea back in 1988 to create an original play modeled after Talking With… by Jane Martin.  Talking With… is composed of eleven ten-minute monologues, each featuring a different woman who is talking with the universe at large about her life. Kim got the idea that she wanted to create a male version of this play.  The male version will be composed of eleven ten-minute monologues, each featuring a different man who is talking with the universe at large about his life.  This season we are bringing her idea to fruition.  The Edge will be producing both plays over the next few months!  Talking With… will be presented in March and our original play, Marked Men, will be presented in May.  Kim has recruited a number of local playwrights and is collaborating with them from inception to production.  Kim is working as the unifying voice for this evening of theatre as it is being written by several different playwrights, and Kim will direct each playwright/actor and the overall evening of theatre.

We provide a regular season of three plays as Keene’s resident ensemble theatre company including an annual dinner theatre, regular dessert theatres, other events, and training opportunities.  We provide our audiences with regular rehearsed readings.  We also offer workshops in various fields of the theatrical arts and regularly offer directing, acting, and other performance classes.  We reach out to regional elementary, middle and high school students and engage them in our training programs, workshops, readings and productions. In addition to rehearsed readings of plays, we also deliver rehearsed readings of other types of literature including poetry, short stories, and novels.  We regularly collaborate with the Keene Public Library in educational outreach programs designed for youth and the community at large. For example, Kim Dupuis has been directing the young actors featured in Young Chautauqua and the company builds the annual tent.  Other collaborations with the KPL include a program of rehearsed readings of the short stories of Edgar Allen Poe, a rehearsed reading of Fahrenheit 401 by Ray Bradbury, summer theatre camps for elementary aged children among numerous other projects.  In addition, The Edge supports and is supported by many other local arts organizations.  MOCO recently loaned us their risers so that we could create a theatre space in Delegation Hall and the Edge has loaned our materials to the Waldorf School, the Rude Mechanicals, Branch River Theatre Company among others.
 
On average, 1000 people attend our productions, readings and workshops each year.

The Edge Ensemble's Vision

We put our talent, experience, desire, heart and soul into all of our productions.  We have been doing the work, and we believe we have proven ourselves a vital cultural enhancement to Keene and the Monadnock region.  

We have lofty plans for our future and the future of our community and our state at large. Our primary and most immediate mission is to become a resident professional theatre company. We would like to grow into a theatre company that delivers the following events for the Monadnock Region.

  • Produce five plays each year.
  • Produce one dinner theatre each year.
  • Produce two Edge Café Dessert Theatres each year of rehearsed readings.
  • Offer our theatre artists some financial compensation for the many hours they devote to our company in the pursuit of their art and the betterment of our community.
  • Attract audiences from not merely our own local community, but from around the region, and, from around the country as we work to make Keene an even more exciting travel destination.
  • Provide training opportunities for our ensemble of artists as well as for other local artists by bringing in experts from around the country.
  • Present effective, stimulating educational and outreach programs for youth and adults, thus expanding the arts in our region and opening paths of artistic development for artists and audiences alike.
  • Procure a dedicated theatre space.     
 Photo from The Crucible, The Edge Ensemble

Photo from The Crucible, The Edge Ensemble

The gift of space

Keene is a city already rich in educational, cultural and artistic resources. To add a resident professional theatre company will be to put another jewel in its crown!  If you could dream up the best place to live, what would it look like?  Imagine a small, quaint city with a wide Main Street and a beautiful church with a steeple at its head… a street lined with restaurants, museums, galleries, and shops… a street made lovely with the changes of the seasons… a college down the way... numerous studios for learning music, dance, art, and theatre… a performing arts center that brings in professional artists from around the world.

But something is still missing.

Any city that wants to thrive needs a resident professional theatre company for artists to perform and present. When it comes to theatre, Peterborough has its Players; Portsmouth has its Seacoast Rep; and Meredith has its Winnipesaukee Playhouse. We are already Keene’s resident ensemble theatre company, and we want to be Keene’s resident professional theatre company. And we think we are ideally suited to be just that.

To really provide the city of Keene with a top-notch resident professional theatre company, we need a space dedicated to our work. Envision us in the soon to be vacated MoCo building on Railroad Street, and help us make that happen!


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Our 2018 Season:  This year we are producing Vampire Dreams by Suzy McKee Charnas in January 2018, Talking With … by Jane Martin in March 2018, Marked Men by Kim Dupuis and Company in May 2018, an Edge Café:  Four Great American Comedies Rehearsed Readings in July 2018, and a Fall 2018 production to be announced shortly.

For more information, please contact us:

Phone:  603-352-5657
Email: TheEdgeEnsemble@aol.com
Website: edgeensemble.org
Facebook: The Edge Ensemble Theatre Company
2018 Performance Venue:  Delegation Hall, Old County Courthouse