3 questions for ... Steve Saari, Theater/Saarens Productions
Q. You have been around Bemidji for a few years. What was the impetus for starting a new theater company, Saarens Productions, at this time?
A. "The decision came about after a 'meeting of minds' with friends and community members interested in forming what was to be a kind of stock company with a rotating group of actors, directors, and artistic personnel producing plays, dinner theater and musicals on a regular basis. We already have an extremely talented core group and we encourage anyone wishing to join us to contact us! Our goal was - and still is - to put aside enough funds to pay company members for their participation. After only one year in business and many start-up expenses, we - my partner DeeJay Arens and I - haven't reached that point yet, but we're hopeful. Our other goal was to offer different experiences that add to the already vibrant arts community in town such as the well-received Flamenco Concert, film showings, and touring exhibits in the Fleur de Lis Gallery and gift shop."
Q. A for-profit theater company as opposed to a non-profit theater has some distinct advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages is that the control of Saarens Productions stays with the owners, and the ease of decision making. When do you think you'll you actually turn a profit?
A. "'For profit' is really a misnomer as we are grateful that we usually break even on most productions and events. Technically, we're a 'No-profit' organization with lots of dreams and the willingness to work hard to see them come true."
Q. Your productions are already known for extraordinary attention to detail and the resulting solid performances by actors and musicians alike. It is obvious from your experience as an actor and director that you have big plans for the future. Could you share some of your dreams with us?
A. "We plan to produce quality entertainment and exhibit fine art in the gallery. As our audience numbers grow we will set aside as much as we can afford so we can begin to pay artists at least a small stipend in order to recognize the extraordinary amount of time and effort they give to each show. Actors and artists do what they do because they love it, but the best things in life don't always have to be free!"