by Elaine

365 | 15 | Tough Girl Missy

Production Manager Missy Bradstreet showing off her Wonder Woman Style at the Opening of “The Toughest Girl Alive”. Missy is full of moxie, an amazing mama and the kind of friend you’d want in your corner.

I used to work for a theatre company that had the mission to “tell good stories well”. There is nothing I adore more than a really good story, told in a beautiful, honest, emotionally connected, raw way. Granted, that’s not exactly what this company does, though back in the day that I was working for them, they did it more often then I feel they do now (now-a-days, you’re not going to see much “raw” on that stage, for instance). Their work now tends to lean a bit more commercial than I prefer, though is still some “good” stories told “well”, so they have not shied away from their mission.

When I worked with the now (mostly) defunct Sledgehammer Theatre, back when the stunningly talented Kirtsen Brandt was the Artistic Director, “raw” was all over that stage. The work we did there made me feel proud to put my name in the program and vital to the continuation of an artistic process. We missed big, sometimes, but the intentions lay more in producing art than in selling tickets; which I found immensely satisfying as a closet artist who has worked exclusively as an administrator for the length of my career.  We would gather on dark weekends to share ideas, train, push through to the emotion under the surface of a piece, fight and once, to have a shaman clean the ghosts out of the theatre (no lie). This, up until now, was the high point in my career as Sledge allowed me to pull all my values into a single place and work tirelessly towards an end I was deeply proud to present. Of course, it didn’t pay. And then I got pregnant and the “tireless” ran out. So I quit and made babies for a couple years (of which I am deeply proud).

Now I work for one of the largest theatres in town and while I can feel a great deal of pride about the product the company produces, there isn’t a lot of room to be connected to the process when you run the pub. That and the work they produce is a little too commercial for my blood, though immensely entertaining. Working there, I often tell people, feeds my family, but not my soul.

That’s where MOXIE comes into play.

At MOXIE, I feel like we get to tell amazing stories in surprising ways. Often, people assume this is a company with a deeply respectable budget. They assume, based on what they see on the stage, that our funding is well cared for. If I shared with you the actual budget, you’d be right to insist that nobody could produce this level of product with that little money. Nobody, that is, except someone with moxie, and that’s what this company has in spades. The commitment to the mission, “to create more diverse and honest images of women for our culture using the art of theatre” has never been so beautifully displayed, despite funding limitations. And being part of a feminist theatre has fed my soul in a way I didn’t even know it was lacking. As the mother of two daughters, I can show them what strong, powerful women can do, no matter what gets in the way or what we are told we cannot do. It’s heartbreakingly awesome and opens them to a world of options even I didn’t know they had.

Imagine what we could do with “real” money?

Seriously, I want you to imagine it. In the comments, tell me what you think MOXIE could achieve with a budget that allowed us to pay our staff for full time work. If enough of us get the vision flowing, we just might find a way to make it happen. Dream big, people; we’ve already shown that we are capable of more than anyone would suspect.