By PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
PLYMOUTH – A woman who has brought great vibrancy to the theater arts in New Hampshire and delivered community productions for the past 29 years, Dr. Trish Lindberg was honored Saturday night as she completed her final production of Education Theater Collaborative’s “Gypsy.”
The tireless Lindberg, who for decades has engaged the Plymouth area community in winter, together with college students, even Broadway talents, to perform musicals which have led to better town-gown relationships with Plymouth State University and some acting careers, was honored by colleagues past and present, friends and members of the state’s art community for her life’s work at the Flying Monkey Theatre.
“Gypsy” had its final performance with a matinee Sunday. For a video visit https://www.facebook.com/EducationalTheatreCollaborative/videos/909401203912699.
The productions will continue into the future with the torch being passed to actor and director Fran Page and children’s theater educator Jule Finley.
Alex Ray, founder of the Common Man family of restaurants across New Hampshire and a sometimes actor in ETC, lauded Lindberg for all she has done, saying “…the one who carries the day is Trish, whose positive leadership pulls together people from throughout our community to produce big-city, quality productions in our little town,” he said. “Thank you for the 29 years of magic, and here’s to your next ‘stage.'”
A graduate of the University of New Hampshire who went on to earn a master’s degree at Emerson College; and a PhD, New York University, Lindberg is a professor of education at PSU, the artistic director and co-founder of the Educational Theatre Collaborative, the Kearsarge Arts Theatre, the St. Martin’s Summer Theatre in New Brunswick, Canada, and the Emmy Award-winning TIGER, an acronym for Theatre Integrating Guidance, Education and Responsibility.
TIGER is a professional educational theatre company that has performed for over 350,000 school children regionally, nationally and internationally.
In recent years, inspired by volunteer and sometimes ETC actor Alex Ray, she has gone to help youth from Ukraine who have lost their fathers to the war.
This past summer, she led a camp of youths in an acting production, said Common Man for Ukraine co-founder Susan Mathison, who attended the Saturday night performance along with many other longtime supporters.
The New Hampshire-based effort through his Common Man for Ukraine fund https://commonmanforukraine.org/ has raised more than $3 million in relief, so far and is still working to help the effort.
The production of “Gypsy” was held at Ray’s Flying Monkey Theatre, named because Ray played the role of a flying monkey when ETC performed the “Wizard of Oz” in 2009.
Attending the congratulatory moment was the retired PSU President Sara Jayne Steen, who flew in from Montana to celebrate with Lindberg and honor her accomplishments to the community.
Each January, beginning in 1995, elementary school children from the region, high school students, community leaders, business owners along with PSU students crammed rehearsals into less than a month to pull these shows with a pit orchestra, elaborate sets and costumes and a lot of choreography and vocal instruction.
Productions have included “Shrek!” in 2016, “The Sound of Music in 2015,” “Oliver!” in 1997, “Peter Pan” in 1996, “Godspell” in 2010 and “Seussical The Musical” in 2006.
There was only one year since 1995 that there was no production. That was in 2021 due to the pandemic.
Lindberg wrote some of the scripts for other productions by ETC, including “Mail to Chief” in 2004. It was based on true letters to the president children from across the country sent, were sung, danced and read by New Hampshire children who performed, here and at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Also, a published author and playwright, Lindberg’s book “Bringing the Word Alive” and her original musical “Pollyanna,” and short play “Bystander Blues” are published by Dramatic Publishing, Inc.
She has directed over 100 educational theatre productions for family audiences, including performances in the United States, Ireland, England, France, South Africa, New Zealand and Lithuania.
In June of 2015, Lindberg was awarded the first NH Humanities Council’s 40 over 40 Award, celebrating the forty individuals who have made the most significant impact on the arts and humanities in the state of New Hampshire in the last forty years.
According to PSU, she has earned the National Youth Theatre Director Award, The NH State Council of the Arts Governor’s Arts Award for Arts and Education, the Plymouth State University Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award, the prestigious Carnegie Foundation NH Professor of the Year Award, among others.
Lindberg thanked the audience for their patronage and support over the years and introduced the new leaders for ETC who will continue the productions into the future.
In addition to thanking Steen, and Ray, she singled out, actor Robb Dimmick, longtime music director Dan Perkins, PSU’s Julie Bernier and ETC business manager Pam Irish “who has stood by my side for 16 years” doing much of the behind the scenes work that make these productions sparkle.
In the program she also thanked her supportive family and her international theatre friends.
“It has greatly helped me to find closure and peace as I leave this chapter of my life behind…please know, from the bottom of my heart, that everyone who has lent their support, and given of their time, energy and talents to ETC is valued and appreciated more than you know. It has taken all of us to make the magic.”