Josiah and Rachel have accepted positions at the Commonweal Theatre Company in Lanesboro, Minnesota - a small professional theatre located about 50 minutes southeast of Rochester. Josiah first performed with Festival Theatre in 2010 in Is He Dead? and A Christmas Carol. Rachel came to Festival in the 2015 season performing in Little Shop of Horrors and A Streetcar Named Desire and directing The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [Abridged].
Since arriving on staff in 2017, Josiah and Rachel have directed or acted in nearly every production of the past two seasons. It’s been a busy, but productive and rewarding two years for the both of them and they are very grateful to the community and staff for their love and support.
What are some of your favorite performances on the Festival Theatre stage?
Josiah: Too many to count, honestly. They’ve all been fun and artistically rewarding. I will always have a deep love for my first performance out here, Is He Dead? - many of the cast members of that show have remained dear friends in my life. Recently I’ve been very proud of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play, and The Amish Project which I was able to direct (Rachel acted in it and it’s special and wonderful to collaborate on something artistic with a loved one.) And also Leading Ladies in which I got to work with some of my best friends (many of whom were in the cast of Is He Dead? 8 years ago - 8 years?!?! Really?!?! Time flies when you’re having fun!) and my mother was able to come see me in a dress.
Rachel: It was really special for me to perform the one woman play The Amish Project. I’m really grateful to everyone who was able to see the show. Other than that, I loved working with Josiah, Jackie and Steven in A Streetcar Named Desire with director Mark Baer back in 2015 and I feel so lucky to have gotten to be a part of the 2017 all-female production of 1776! I still can’t believe we pulled that off - kudos to director Seth Kaltwasser. Overall, though… the most fun I’ve had performing a role was definitely as Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors. Shout out to my Audrey II squad!
What will you miss most about Festival Theatre?
Josiah: The people. It’s rare to find a group of people so dedicated to improving the arts in a small community. Festival Theatre has brought me in contact with so many wonderful people, many of whom I keep in contact with today. It’s a blessing to have spent time in such a beautiful place. I honestly can say it’s been one of the most impactful places artistically and personally. It’s like a second home.
Rachel: I will miss all the awesome theatre artists I have met and had the chance to collaborate with through Festival Theatre - the theatre has been able to attract some really quality people! But I will miss directing for the Youth & Family series most of all. I am really proud of both youth shows that I was privileged enough to direct (Children of Mystery River and Peter Pan.) Festival Theatre is so lucky to have some wonderful youth actors and such supportive families in our community. It always meant so much to me personally and artistically to see our young actors connecting with the themes of the plays and relating them to their lives. My hope for them all is to keep pushing themselves as actors, but to also explore all aspects of theatre including directing, designing, and writing! And remember - you don’t have to sit around, waiting to be cast. You can always make your own theatre!
What will you miss the most about the St. Croix valley?
Rachel: I loved living in Taylors Falls and being able to walk down by the river whenever I wanted to. I’ll miss riding my bike through Interstate Park. I’ll miss Franconia. I’ll miss getting root beer floats from the Drive In. I’ll miss Loggers.
Josiah: Can I say the people again? It’s hard to not pick that for pretty much every question. I have a soft spot in my heart for the trails around here. Interstate Park is a great park (both sides, but I like the WI side better) and the Ice Age Trail and Wert Nature Preserve have provided me countless hours of walking pleasure. Also The Vegetarian, bar none, the best Indian food I’ve had.
Do you have a single memory that sums up your time here?
Josiah: It’s hard to pick one, amidst all the joy and love. I don’t know that I can say. But I will say that whenever autumn rolls around I will think of this place and wish I was here.
Rachel: Directing Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound in the black box was one of the most rewarding and challenging things I’ve ever done. Memories from that time will always be close to my heart. I feel so lucky to have gotten so many wonderful directing opportunities at Festival Theatre.
Tell us more about where you’re going. What are you looking forward to?
Josiah: The Commonweal Theatre is in Lanesboro, MN, about 3 hours south of here. I’ll be a Marketing Associate down there as well as an actor in the company. Similar to here, they produce year-round theatre. It’s located on the Root River. There’s actually a lot of similarities to here. And I am looking forward to new experiences. As actors we have a strange chance to travel and move around for work. It’s tiring at times, but always renewing.
Rachel: I will be the new Company Manager and part of the resident ensemble. I am looking forward to playing on a whole new playground! Do be sure to come visit!
Any parting words?
Josiah: This is a unique thing, Festival Theatre. Cherish it. Don’t take it for granted. It occupies a special place for many artists and audience members alike. Cherish it. Did I already say that? Cherish it.
Rachel: “Remember me, in light.” (Henry, The Fantasticks)