Fledgling is our production assistance program.  We help emerging artists go from concept to production, whether that means connecting with the right people, rehearsal space, or budget assistance.  We’ve also set aside three, 2-3 week blocks annually for our Fledgling performances.  Got an idea?  Use the form below to tell us a bit about it.  We’ll sit down with you and see if we can make it happen. Our next Fledgling slot is winter, 2018.  Please submit by August 15th.   Submissions are rolling, so feel free to submit for later Fledglings as well. We’re also looking for folks who would like to work on Fledgling projects, so feel free to let us know if you’d like to join one but don’t have a project in mind!


Who should apply?

Anyone for whom the project will be a significant step in their career.  It can mean different things to different people, so if you think it’s a significant step, apply!

What sort of assistance can Arts Nest provide?
We can provide low- to no- cost space for rehearsals and performances, introductions to technical designers and production staff, advertising assistance and audience building, and more.
Is the Fledgling program limited to theatre?
No.  While theatre is our main focus, we support all performance art, visual art, music, and more.
Do all Fledgling performances take place at the Phoenix Theater?
Not necessarily.  While performances at our space is convenient, we will support art wherever we can.
I want to participate, but don't have an idea. What should I do?
Use the form and let us know what you do or would like to do.  When our Fledglings start work, they will need lots of folks with different skills.

Past Fledglings and Their Projects!

Meggie Greivell

Meggie Greivell

Fledgling Creator, January 2017

Meggie’s thoughts on the project:  I had a small taste of what certain aspects of running a theater company would be like. For example, the aspects of producing and overseeing everything, on top of directing. I found that I enjoyed it a lot. It’s always been a dream of mine to have my own theater company, and I feel this experience has prepared me for what that would be like.

The Bernice Project

The Bernice Project is a memory play based on true events from the author’s family history.  The play revolves around Bernice, a single young mother in post World War II, rural Wisconsin, from 1946-48.  The play is the story about Bernice’s perseverance to keep her baby.  During this time period, single mothers were not allowed to keep their babies if they wanted to, as it was considered unmoral.  They were often forced to put their babies up for adoption against their will, and this was usually the only option for them as abortions were unheard, unsafe, or never considered.  In this play Bernice is abandoned by her World War II soldier boyfriend, and the majority of her staunch Catholic family as well, who don’t want to be disgraced with being associated with an unwed pregnant woman.  Bernice wants to keep her daughter so she alone has to come up with a plan to keep her baby.

Photos by Lauren B, Click for full gallery.

Denzel Belin

Denzel Belin

Fledgling Creator, September 2016

What surprised me about the project was the fact that I always felt like it was with me. Being in the role of a co-producer and director meant that there was always something to be done or worked on and that the project really allowed me to take control of that. I felt the project was as strong as the energy I put into it. I found myself really excited to be able to play and explore without the immediate threat of making back a large sum of money (funds that were covered by the Phoenix). I was really grateful that the team supporting the Fledgling program were not only supportive but really allowed me to drive the project and make it my own.

Dirty Story

Denzel Belin with a cast and creative team has been chosen to bring life to Shanley’s show, Dirty Story. Aspiring novelist Wanda enters a special relationship with successful, yet abusive, writer Brutus. Together, with Wanda’s cowboy ex-boyfriend Frank and his British bartender sidekick Watson, the whole situation is reminiscent of Bush, Blair, and a greater, ongoing struggle.

Photos by Scott Pakudaitis, Click for full gallery.

Sam Krahn

Sam Krahn

Fledgling Creator, December 2015

In 2015, while I was finishing my dissertation at the University of Minnesota, I was also living a double life as a composer of a musical about Krampus. This was my first musical, and I had very limited connections with the theater community in the Twin Cities. The Fledgling Program not only allowed me to build connections with local talent, but it also provided me with the resources to stage five full performances of the show with a complete cast and chamber ensemble. Jenna and the staff at the Phoenix Theater worked with me to create the ideal environment to workshop – and ultimately present – this musical. This was my first real experience of putting together a production of this scale, and my time at the Phoenix continues to inspire my future theatrical endeavors.

An Evening with Krampus

Created by Sam Krahn, directed by Jenna Papke, An Evening with Krampus is based on the pre-Christian myths about the winter holiday, and the demon that the modern world has forgotten about.

Krampusnacht. December 5th, the day before St. Nicholas’s day. On this night, Krampus is set loose to collect bad children and bring them back to his lair. But what happens if Krampus meets his match?

This holiday season, there are worse things than a stocking full of coal.

Photos by Jenna Papke, Click for full gallery.

Bryce Kalal

Bryce Kalal

Fledgling Creator, September 2015

Bryce on “Legend of the Flaming Eye”:  I had this crazy idea to bring a three-part epic fantasy story to the stage on three different nights, but with improvised movement and dialogue. I don’t know anyone who knows anyone who has done anything like this before, but Arts Nest was kind enough to offer me the space I need to bring this vision to life!

Legend of the Flaming Eye created by Bryce Kalal and Cast A three-part series starring Keith, a young dreamer drawn into an alternate reality where an evil empress is rising to power.  This project was a unique blend of scripted story and improvised scenes.  Each night began with a recap of the story so far, and continued with the next chapter of this original fantasy epic. The cast included Clayton Anderson, Amee Nefzcer Banks, Amanda Underwood, Erin Kennedy, Steven Fay, Elliot Stevenson, Davis Steen, Nathan Rouse, and Ally Van Siclen, with live music by Jack Barrett
Photos by Scott Pakudaitis Click photo for full gallery.
Addie Gorlin

Addie Gorlin

Fledgling Director, May 2015

What being a Fledgling meant to Addie: I met Jenna when I was new to the Twin Cities. I had an idea for a project I wanted to pursue, but I didn’t think it wise to start an entire theater company for just one project. Having her aid me with the process of producing and serve as a fiscal sponsor was immensely valuable: I was able to focus more on the artistic side and lean on her when any questions arose. What’s next for Addie? Off to grad school for her Directing MFA

I and You  written by Lauren Gunderson While this play has been produced all over the country, this was the first non-educational production to use actors of the correct age. Addie cast two talented teens to play teenagers – a wild concept. The actors were Essence Stiggers & Erik Dagoberg; design was by Rex Davenport, Nathan Christensen, Abbee Warmboe, and Pam Dagoberg; Bri Collins stage managed; and additional assistance was provided by Logan Gilbert-Guy, Lauren Blanks, and Asma Haidara.
Photos by Marra Clay Photography Click photo for full gallery.