What's On Their Mind | October 24–November 6 | featuring Bryn Boice of Anthem Theatre Company Print

Meet Boston Center For the Arts Performing Arts Resident Anthem Theatre Company

Anthem Theatre Company made their resident debut at the BCA in September with their production of The Dare Project, a collaborative venture where playwrights write plays based on audience dares. Anthem is back this month with a ghostly treat for all Twelfth Night of the Living Dead. Be sure to catch it in our Black Box Theatre October 27–November 5, 2016. We spoke with Anthem’s Artistic Director, Bryn Boice, to get to know this daring company!

Bryn Boice testing bite technique with Nicky Chuba (Orsino) and Erica Jade Simpson (Viola). Photo by Johnny Kinsman.

What can we expect to see during Twelfth Night of the Living Dead?

You can definitely expect to laugh; if you enjoy a fusion of high and low comedy, you will love this piece and this cast. I think you’ll be surprised at the adaptation, too, and how well this classic play works with Brian MacInnis Smallwood’s addition of camp and zombies. It’s actually all Shakespeare’s words, except one!

How long have you been working as a producer and director? How did you get into the business?

I’d say I started producing and directing in earnest about 10 years ago now, but have been acting for over 30. Yikes! I moved to New York after grad school (Acting) but realized that I was much more necessary as a director in my particular artistic circles, so I started getting my hands dirty then. In 2012 my husband, Michael Poignand, and I started Anthem Theatre Company with (also married) friends Johnny Kinsman and Lindsay McConchie. Shortly thereafter we moved the company to Boston. We were in favor of the vibrant arts scene here that wasn’t as saturated as NYC, but that was just as serious about it. I ended up getting my 2nd MFA in Directing at Boston University when we got here.

Julee Antonellis (Fabian) sliding out of a precarious situation with hungry zombies (Rebecca Schneebaum and Liam Callister). Photo by Johnny Kinsman.

In five words, describe your process.

Testing. Molding. Futzing.

What does a typical rehearsal week look like for you?

It’s funny, it really depends on the piece. I noticed that with Twelfth Night of the Living Dead, I really wanted to build the skeleton of the staging first, so we could then flesh it out with character, all of the zombie gags, the fights, the blood, the mayhem. What we’ve done since we staged looks like this: a run with notes, a night of fixing problem areas and scene work, then a night of fights and bites with our violence designer, Matt Dray, then another two days to work scenes. Then we start all over, refining as we go. (Testing, molding, futzing!) With another play, we might still be at the table discovering who these characters are. The process would be completely different!


What has been most beneficial to you during your time at the BCA?

The staff is always there to answer questions, and the facilities are excellent, but the best part of being at the BCA is how familiar this city is with the campus. All we have to say is, “We're a resident performing arts company at the BCA,” and that is uniformly recognized as cool company to be in.

Which person living or dead, do you most admire?

Prince. While he was alive, he was able to live and breathe his art (himself) without compromise or apology. I admire that tenacity, unwavering work ethic, and self-confidence. (But see also: Mom! Husband!)