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  • Writer's pictureSkyler Matthias

A Brief History of Lightswitch Theatre Company

Lightswitch Theatre Company (LTC) was founded in 2016 with a mission to create immersive theatrical experiences that spark meaningful conversations and bring awareness to important topics. Skyler, the founder, won money in entrepreneurship pitch contests against companies that were not art-related. With this funding, they opened the theatre company with the goal of creating site-specific, immersive, and experimental shows that would challenge participants to engage with the stories they told.

LTC's first production, "Tender Napalm" by Philip Ridley, was a perfect example of their mission. This show was performed in the round and allowed the audience to move around the space and experience the performance from different angles. This immersive experience was unlike anything that had been done in Iowa City, IA and was a true testament to the company's commitment to pushing the boundaries of traditional theatre.

The next year, the company produced "Platform," a show that was created in response to the 2016 Presidential election. In the midst of so much anger and fear, this show gave artists a platform to share their stories, no matter the topic. However, after this production, the company went on a long hiatus that lasted from 2017 to 2022.

In 2022, LTC was re-established and formed an LLC in Little Rock, Arkansas.

This marked the start of a new era for the company and they quickly got to work on their next production. They started with "Maze" by LTC, which was a site-specific performance that took place in Conway, AR at the Art Walk. The audience was challenged to disrupt the maze being drawn on a large canvas and discuss challenging topics with the artist.

This was followed by "BASH" by Neil LaBute, a powerful and thought-provoking examination of the darker side of human nature. "Paint Social" by LTC was a participatory performance that invited the audience to paint the clothes of the artists. This show was a celebration of community and the power of art to bring people together. LTC continued to push the boundaries of experimental theatre with "RvW" by LTC, an installation art piece in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The company's mission was further demonstrated with "The Listen Experiment" by Skyler Matthias, a show that invited audiences to engage through their eyes and bodies, but without voices. They put on headphones and went on an hour long soundscape experience with six individuals. The show was a powerful reminder of the importance of listening and understanding.

Finally, LTC concluded the year with "The Droll {Or, a stage play about the END of Theatre}" by Meg Miroshnik, a thought-provoking examination of theatre and its role in society. This show was a fitting end to a year that had seen the company pushing the boundaries of what was possible in theatre.

In conclusion, Lightswitch Theatre Company is dedicated to using site-specific, immersive, and experimental theatre to spark meaningful conversation and bring awareness to important topics. The company's mission is to facilitate transformative and unpredictable moments that encourage the audience to take ownership of the narratives they share. Through their work, they hope to empower individuals and communities to think critically and engage with the world around them.

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