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Collaborative performing arts space unites 9 performance groups this fall

Ignite Theatre company is one of nine groups to take up residence in .ZACK
Provided by Ignite Theater Company
Ignite Theatre company is one of nine groups to take up residence in .ZACK.

Nine young arts groups will find a home this fall at .ZACK, the new performing arts incubator.

Created by the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, the space aims to foster collaborations among the St. Louis performing artists. Its inaugural class will include dance companies, theater troupes and youth outreach initiatives.

That sense of collaboration drew Kimberly Melahn-Kavanagh’s attention.

Melahn-Kavanagh, community outreach coordinator for Ignite Theatre Company, said the project fits perfectly with her group's mission of helping high school students develop acting skills and pursue community service.

That's why she quickly submitted her group's application to be one of the first .ZACK  residents.

“In my mind I thought ‘What do we have to do? Who do we have to know? How can we make this happen?’" Melahn-Kavanagh recalled. "Because it’s so in line with our mission and, just to be in that creative space with the opportunity to collaborate, it just was absolutely what we wanted.”

Ignite Theatre Company will be joined by Consuming Kinetics Dance Company; Insight Theatre Company; R-S Theatrics; Specdrum; Tennessee Williams Festival; TesseractTheatre, Theatre Lab, and Harvey Lockhart's "Heal Center for the Arts."

Some groups will develop original works while others develop festivals based on the work of established figures in the performing arts. The incubator’s opening in the historic Cadillac Building at 3224 Locust St. near Grand Center was announced in April. 

Chris Hansen, operations director, said a committee of local arts professionals who selected the residents wanted to build a cohesive group that could play off each other’s strengths.

“So when we made these selections, we looked at what type of mix are we putting together,” Hansen said. “How do they benefit our internal ecosystem and what are they doing within our community that’s different and unique?”

In this new space, the groups will share access to a 200-seat theater, green room, bar, working space, scene shop, prop storage and marketing aid. The space will also include areas for private events and a restaurant available to the public.

Follow Willis on Twitter: @WillisRArnold

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