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HEART BEAT ARTISTS OF THE MONTH: Elizabeth Braaten Palmieri and Emily Adams

A crafty duo with a cool dynamic 

COLUMBIA, Mo 7/2/14 (Review) -- Take a stellar 12-person cast; a well-known downtown art gallery; and the Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. 

Or one of history's most famous comedies played out in a hip, new-age yoga studio.  Or Romeo and Juliet recreated with British punk sensibilities in Columbia's nooks, crannies, and alleys. 

GreenHouse Theatre Project (GTP) founders Elizabeth Braaten Palmieri and Emily Adams call it "innovative theatre in unexpected places."   This writer called it unexpectedly delightful in a review of Chekhov's Three Sisters -- my introduction to the clever, entrepreneurial way Braaten Palmieri and Adams solve one of the biggest financial issues facing any theatre company:  performance space.  
 
GreenHouse neither rents nor builds but rather borrows its stage(s) for each performance run.  It's a win-win approach that emphasizes "artistic collaboration; promoting local artists, businesses and spaces," the partners explain about their brief but fruitful company history, now seven plays -- and many raves -- long.   

The company's last show this season, "Tartuffe was hilarious, sexy, and unlike any production I've ever seen!" audience member Talia Linneman reviewed on the GTP Facebook page.   "I'd love to see more GreenHouse Theatre in unexpected places."

July's Artist(s) of the Month -- and the Heart Beat's first-ever artistic duo so named -- Braaten-Palmieri and Adams hail from other shores, one closer -- Minnesota native Braaten Palmieri is a theatre grad from the prestigious St. Olaf College; and one quite far away.   Adams is a University of Wales theatre and English Literature grad who toured the UK, performing in venues such as London's famous Royal Albert Hall. 

Classical theatre, international travel , and "artrepreneurship" figure prominently in both partners' backgrounds. 
 
Both studied in London;  both are old hands directing Shakespeare:   As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet; and both have a knack for adaptation, the "secret sauce" that makes the troupe versatile enough to perform at PS: Gallery, Yoga Sol, and the Columbia Art League, "an unlikely setting for a play," Columbia Daily Tribune art columnist Jill Renae Hicks wrote when GTP moved Ebenezer Scrooge from his dank London office to Missouri for a 2011 performance of A Christmas Carol.

As if rewriting the classics weren't new enough, the duo ventured into uncharted territory with 2013's C’tait La Nuit  (T'was the Night), an original play performed at Orr Street Studios about a young man born on Christmas Eve who embarks on an international trek to find his identity.    

After a season of sold-out performances -- and ever-changing stages -- the GreenHouse Theatre team shares knowledge, advice, and technique in summer teaching camps with students ages 10-15.   For Braaten Palmieri, it's a continuation of children’s theatre work across the US that has included The New England Youth Theatre, Stages Children’s Theatre and The Young People’s Theatre Workshop. 

Adams has likewise worked with children, as part of directing the Cotton Shed Theatre in Lancashire, North England, where she helped secure the group a place on the National Theatre’s Youth Performance Program in London. 

Adams and Braaten Palmieri join Heart Beat Artists from many media: painters Marilyn Cummins, Rodney Burlingame, Byron Smith, and Catherine Parke; actor and director Ed Hanson; mixed media artists Jenny McGee and Lizzie Bryan; photographer Anastasia Pottinger; and June's Artist of the Month, Missouri Symphony maestro Kirk Trevor
 
-- Mike Martin


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