The BCT Story
Bemidji Community Theater (BCT), a non-profit corporation, debuted in December of 1981 when a group of friends recorded A Christmas Carol and broadcast it via radio. The first live performance occurred in conjunction with Art in the Park in 1982 with a public reading of Dirty Work at the Crossroads. After that, BCT was off and running.
Our mission is "To provide an opportunity for people to pursue their interests in theater through acting and stagecraft support activities, in productions by and for community members."
We learn by doing. People usually start as helpers in some way and gradually take over the major duties in time. The director of one show may be responsible for ticket sales the next time, and may sit out completely after that or help paint scenery or distribute posters.
Many of the membership who have been, or are now active with BCT are also involved in other local theater groups: Paul Bunyan Playhouse, Bemidji High School, Bemidji State University, Headwaters Players, Listening Winds, Headwaters School of Music and the Arts. We have collaborated with Paul Bunyan Playhouse, BSU, the Middle School and the Headwaters School of Music and the Arts.
Routine business and choice of what shows to perform are handled by a board of 6-12 Directors. Major policy decisions are by the vote of the entire membership. Management questions for each show are made by the Production Manager and the Director of that show. The Board meets each month and the location is always decided at the prior Board Meeting. We have an annual membership meeting/picnic to vote on the next set of Board members.
BCT has produced shows in a variety of venues. Their first on stage production in 1982 of Friends & Lovers, which included a scene from Neil Simon's California Suite and The Doctor in Spite of Himself by Moliere, was at JW Smith Elementary School. Since then, they have utilized several different venues from BSU's Bridgeman Hall and Hagg-Sauer room 100, to a tent near Paul & Babe; BCT has continued to thrive in any element.
Musicals were sporadic for a time, but have now become a mainstay of their offerings. In 1991, BCT produced their first musical Anything Goes. Over the years, more people joined the group to share their time, talents and interests. From acting and directing, to designing and building scenery, to advertising and selling tickets, community members work side-by-side learning new skills and passing on the ones they have.
BCT prides itself in encouraging local people to produce theater for the local community. New members are always welcome, whether they choose to be involved in only one show or active for the next 30 seasons.