Open Flame Theatre Presents: The Garden 2023

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A nonprofit fundraiser supporting

Open Flame Theatre
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Open Flame Theatre presents a new, intimate re-imagining of ‘The Garden’ May 2023


raised by 20 people

$7,500 goal

2 months left

Thank you everyone!

Update posted 3 months ago

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who donated to our #GTMD22 campaign on Thursday! We made a great start towards our fundraising goal for our reimagined ‘The Garden’ production.

If you missed #GTMD22, not to fear! Our campaign is still going on Stay tuned in the next few weeks for some exciting, upcoming fundraising events!

In the words of Katie Burgess, “ Help keep theatre gay. Help keep me making theatre. Help keep me gaying. Gay keep theatre helping.”

Thanks y’all!

Open Flame Theatre

SAVE THE DATE: Open Flame Theatre presents a new, intimate re-imagining of ‘The Garden’ May 19th-21st and 26-28th 2023 @ The Southern Theater

The Garden is an original,  operatic performance about conversion therapy and trans liberation created by Open Flame Theatre.

The story follows a witch named Hayden Loralai (played by Walken Schweigert) who is forced into conversion therapy for being transgender. To escape this torture, Hayden opens a portal into hell, thinking he can escape conversion therapy by way of the underworld. His escape doesn’t quite go according to plan, however. On the other side he encounters The Devil (played by Katie Burgess) and she shares with him what he will truly need to thrive in a transphobic world that wants him to never have existed.

Last year, we premiered The Garden at Philadelphia Community Farm in Osceola, WI, where Open Flame Theatre has been in residence since 2017. We finished making that show during the beginning of the pandemic, and so we did an outdoor premiere for what was supposed to be our first ever indoor performance. That premiere was 4 years in the making, and we are so proud of what our 13 person cast and crew was able to pull off. It was truly one of the most exciting and heart-wrenching experiences we’ve had with our company. 

We are so grateful for those of you who came to see it. If you missed it, well, never fear because in true Walken & Katie fashion, we have decided to reimagine The Garden and remount it at the Southern Theater in May of 2023!

We have been working together for a long time. For 17 years, to be exact. In that time we have been a part of many ensembles/collectives. On the other side of The Garden last year, we decided we wanted a more intimate environment to explore new dimensions of our artistic partnership. We wanted to see what we could create if it was  just the two of us. How would our work shift if we focused on our personal growth as artists, together? 

After a successful presentation of excerpts of a two-person version of The Garden at Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield, MA as part of a Magdalena Festival celebrating Double Edge’s 40th Anniversary, we decided we were not done with The Garden. This past summer, we dove back into the script. 

With Richard Newman from The Hinterlands in Detroit, MI back on board to direct this version of The Garden, and Silen Wellington added to the musical team, we are back hard at work on staging and scoring. We will be in rehearsals all winter, to be ready to share this new version of The Garden with you all May 19th-21th, and 26th-28th 2023 at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis, MN. SAVE THE DATE!

As an independent, trans-led theatre company, we rely on the continued support from our friends, family, and community. Your generous donation goes towards our production costs for ‘The Garden’ in the Spring of 2023.

Some of you have been following our story for a long time. We hope you know, even when you don’t hear from us for a while, we are continuing our weaving and are endlessly grateful for your support.

With mud, blood and love,

Walken Schweigert & Katie Burgess

Co-artistic directors of Open Flame Theatre 

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