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New London, Minn., Little Theatre gets a facelift

Like a well-loved actor getting a nip and tuck to take years off their appearance before they hit the stage, New London's Little Theatre has also undergone a face-lift.

The Litlte Theatre gets a new look
Craig Edwards, a local artist and New London city councilman who wrote the grant request, stands next to one of the new panels recently installed at The Little Theatre in New London, Minnesota. (Submitted photo)

Like a well-loved actor getting a nip and tuck to take years off their appearance before they hit the stage, New London’s Little Theatre has also undergone a face-lift.

Thanks to a grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council, interior improvements were made to the stage - including the trap door - and a new awning was installed over the front outside door.
Last week, a large, brilliantly colored graphic designed by New London artist Jamie Iverson, was installed near the peak of the theater’s exterior façade.
The painted metal artwork covers up old windows that had been boarded up with plywood and painted the same gray color as the exterior wall.
The new installation is a collection of silhouettes of people sitting in theater seats with the stage lights streaming down over the back of their heads.
Some of the silhouettes may look familiar, said Craig Edwards, a local artist and New London city councilman who wrote the grant request.
“They are people who’ve been involved with the theater,” said Edwards. “It’s a great idea.”

Iverson was selected to design the project because his family has been involved with the local arts community and “he’s a great artist,” said Edwards. “He’s a working-class hero kind of guy.”
Iverson, who is a graphic designer for Rambow Inc., said he was glad for the chance to finally play a role at the Little Theatre.
“I was very pleased to have the opportunity because my wife, Laurel, and my son Phillip have been involved in many theater productions over the years,” he said. “And they’re definitely theater-type people and I’m definitely not.”
Iverson said he wanted the design to send a message to people walking by the theater that invite them to experience a show at The Little Theatre.
“There’s just something so special about live performances,” said Iverson.
The graphic includes two panels, with each measuring 57-by-110 inches.
The size was “a little intimidating,” said Iverson.
He created a digital file, which was printed and mechanically installed by Quick Signs of Willmar.
“I think it turned out really well,” said Iverson, who acknowledged that the heads of the people in his design were “inspired” by real community folks who’ve been instrumental in keeping a variety of plays and musical performances on stage at The Little Theatre.
“So many people have been involved in the theater over the years,” said Iverson. “You just try to reflect that.”
But so far, Iverson isn’t divulging the identities of those silhouettes.
“You might recognize people. It’s possible,” he said. “It’s part of the fun. It’s part of the inspiration.”
The final piece of the project is another graphic that will go on a lower exterior window that will tell the long history of The Little Theatre, said Edwards.

The grant for the Little Theater project was made possible, in part, by the voters of Minnesotans through a grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council and a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Related Topics: THEATER
Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at clange@wctrib.com or 320-894-9750
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