Noon Edition airs on Fridays at noon on WFIU.
Bloomington business and artistic leaders are collaborating to help cultivate the performing arts.
The Bloomington Academy of Film and Theatre will offer training and experience for Hoosiers of all ages in many aspects of the performing arts, including acting, filmmaking, musical theater and dance.
The academy is a joint venture between Pigasus Pictures, the Bloomington Playwrights Project, Cardinal Stage, and the Cook Group.
The Bloomington Academy of Film and Theatre is set to open in February of 2019.
This week on Noon Edition we discuss the development of theater and filmmaking in Bloomington and Indiana.
John Robert Armstrong, Co-founder and COO of Pigasus Pictures and Executive Director of the Bloomington Academy of Film and Theatre
Pete Yonkman, President of Cook Group
Diane Buzzell, Director of the IU Health Foundation for the South Central Region, Board Member and Head of Dance at BAFT, Cardinal Stage Performer and Choreographer
Carl Cook, Chief Executive Officer of Cook Group
John Robert Armstrong describes the lack of theatrical or cinematic opportunities in Bloomington or Indiana that drive away many young performers like himself and was the inspiration for the creation of his Bloomington-based production company, Pigasus Pictures.
“Because we lived in a state that didn’t offer any opportunities for that, we had to leave,” Armstrong says. “There’s a massive talent drain that happens from universities all over this state for that reason.”
Diane Buzzell believes that the Bloomington Academy of Film and Theatre will address an under-served need in Bloomington.
“I have found that there has been a lack of dance classes for adults in this community that don’t necessarily want to be ballet dancers, but they want to go on stage,” Buzzell says. “I’ve done about 17 or 18 shows at Cardinal as a choreographer, and people are always asking ‘Where can I take a dance class? I’m an adult, where does that happen?'”
Cook Group President Pete Yonkman recalls how he realized that Armstrong and his business partner Zachary Spicer weren’t just trying to do something in Bloomington for the short term and how their work could make Bloomington a more attractive place for potential employees.
“They were trying to build an actual business here in Bloomington and trying to connect the University students, interns, the local acting community, and really build something here in Bloomington,” Yonkman says. “That really piqued my interest and our interest at Cook, because when you have something like that in town it makes the town much more interesting.”
Carl Cook describes how they settled on a site for the academy’s sound stage, which has been under construction since last week.
“CFC, which is our real estate arm, has had the old Red Cross Building next to Grant Street Inn and over the years, we purchased it thinking we had all sorts of ideas, but finding a use for it is actually has proven difficult,” Cook says. “I actually first heard from John because Pete said he was looking for a place to put this idea he has. We cast around for buildings and this was sitting there and we said ‘We could make a sound stage out of this.'”