In an effort to add multiple perspectives to the Mixed Blood blog, we’ve asked MB veteran actor, director, and playwright, Warren C. Bowles to share his experiences with Mixed Blood’s regional touring productions. Currently, Bowles is in the touring production of Dr. King’s Dream, which he has been a part of since 1981!
“Mixed Blood is coming? Alright! Mixed Blood is coming!”
‘I have heard variations of that statement scores of times from teachers, administrators and students. It is one of the things that pleases me most about touring because it means that they don’t care if it’s me, Thomasina, Andre, Minnecanos or Hijab Tube; their experience with Mixed Blood’s educational touring shows has always been positive and they’re thinking, “Alright, Mixed Blood is here!”
This day is pretty typical. An 11:15 a.m. call at the theatre (a luxury because we are often called five hours earlier than that) for the drive to St. Cloud State University. SCSU has had a decades long relationship with Mixed Blood. We know the performance space well – a 150-200 seat small theater in the Atwood Student Center that is usually used for showing movies. After that 2:00 p.m. performance we head to St. Michael-Albertville High School for an evening public performance for the St. Michael’s Community U-Knighted. This space is an ultramodern 1500+ seat auditorium. It’s a wonderful space to play in but we can’t let it go to our heads because tomorrow we will be in the Garlough Enviromental Magnet Elementary School gym in West St. Paul.
Some of you may have heard me announce that this is my fifth and final ‘Final Year’ of touring. I have been doing it for more than thirty years, from coast to coast, in more than 20 states, and for more than a million audience members. I have loved doing it. I hope Mixed Blood continues the show because I still see an interest and a need. I just decided that it probably not right for me, at my age, to continue to play the 39 year old Dr. King. However, now Samuel L. Jackson (whom I now consider middle-aged but younger people might consider as-old-as-dirt) is on Broadway playing the 39 year old Dr. King. Hmm. As I announced at Bethel University a few weeks ago; I am now allowing Charlie to take tentative bookings for 2014 during my seventh and final, final, I-really-mean-it-this-time, ‘Final Year’ of touring.’
– Warren C. Bowles
More info about MBT productions:
Most of you are familiar with our mainstage productions at Mixed Blood, but we also have our regional touring productions and our On the Job program. The two shows on tour currently, Dr. King’s Dream and Daughters of Africa, have been performing across the Upper Midwest at schools, colleges, and community centers. Our touring productions promote inclusion and individual equality, showing live theater as a vehicle for change
Our On the Job program creates dynamic, customized theater to address issues of inclusion in the public and private sectors. Using the language and traditions of live theatre—music, dance, comedy, and satire—the tailor-made plays, produced by and with artists of color, provoke awareness and provide skill building opportunities that help employees and workplaces confront barriers to personal and business success. In past years, Mixed Blood worked with HealthPartners’ Equitable Care Collaborative to create four new plays that were filmed on the topic of health care disparities in Hmong, Latino, Somali and African American communities. Mixed Blood also presented “Black Box CME,” a continuing medical education program for hospitalists from the Allina system.