Mad Horse in the Community

Mad Horse Company member James Herrera, with Maine State Ballet Soloist and Mad Horse guest artist Veronica Druchniak.

Mad Horse Company member James Herrera, with Maine State Ballet Soloist and Mad Horse guest artist Veronica Druchniak.

Mad Horse and Maine State Ballet

When the curtain opens on Maine State Ballet’s Nutcracker, a solitary man stands under a single spotlight, putting the finishing touch on a toy.  He is the mysterious Uncle Drosselmeyer, creator of the nutcracker doll who comes to life. 

Under the powdered wig and grease paint, you will find Mad Horse Company member James Herrera, who is also a member of the Maine State Ballet Company.  This year marks the sixth time he has portrayed Drosselmeyer, creator of magical toys and vanquisher of mice.

When Maine State Ballet Artistic Director Linda MacArthur Miele was searching for the right person to take on the role, the connection between Mad Horse Theatre and Maine State Ballet came in handy.  Mad Horse Theatre’s Artistic Director, Christine Louise Marshall, is also a member of the Maine State Ballet Company, and she serves on their Board of Directors.  She suggested James Herrera, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Mad Horse Artistic Director and Maine State Ballet Company member Christine Marshall plays the Grandmother in MSB’s Nutcracker.

The relationship between Mad Horse and MSB has been mutually beneficial over the years.  Ballet students have been cast in Mad Horse plays, and actors from Mad Horse have performed in a number of ballets.  It is a great example of the amazing things that can happen onstage when artistic companies support each other.

Cultural Summit 2014

Photo Credit: Charles Kaufmann

This September, Mad Horse Theatre Company was invited to join other arts organizations for a 2-day conference: “Cultural Summit 2014: a gathering of Maine arts leaders and creative thinkers”. MHTC Board President Laurie Hasty and about 70 arts administrators from all across the state met at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle. In her keynote address, Monica Wood set the tone for further discussion, reminding us all about the seemingly simple connections that art makes between people as it explores the human condition. Each of the participants then presented a brief overview of their particular organization. In describing MHTC, Laurie emphasized Mad Horse’s commitment to our artistic mission and to supporting an ensemble of Maine theatre professionals – actors, technicians, and playwrights. Longer presentations by Adam Rogers and Susan Davis from Thomas Moser, Heather Davis from The Telling Room, and Patricia King from the Colby College Museum of Art explored three different models for arts organizations. Throughout the conference, discussions continued regarding the greatest challenges as well as the greatest opportunities for arts in Maine. This gathering was a perfect opportunity for directors of a variety of arts organizations working in a wide range of media to meet one another and to think about future collaboration and interdisciplinary activities. All the participants agreed that the continuing conversations will strengthen each organization and the visibility of the arts as an economic driver for this state and our individual communities.