To provide affordable performing arts education and performance opportunities for children, adults, and families and broadly accessible live theatre production opportunities for Broomfield, Colorado and surrounding communities.
Please click here to read our action plan for practicing anti-racism and anti-discriminatory behaviors within our company.
Mary Wilkie (Executive Director/Artistic Director, BYLP Mentor) attended University of Northern Colorado with a focus in Theatre Arts and has a BA in Communications from MSU Denver. Mary was among the founding troupe of the Broomfield Summer Youth Players, an entirely youth-led theatre company and has over fifteen years experience instructing youth theatre, visual arts, and STEM curriculum. When she’s not herding proverbial cats and delighting in the challenges and excitement of her role with BackStory, she provides private acting lessons and tutoring to all ages, specializing in learning support and strategies for youth with special needs and learning difficulties, and is a strong advocate for inclusive and adaptive education in public schools and all enrichment programming. Mary enjoys lending a voice for arts engagement and learning with various boards and committees throughout the community, including as past chair of the Broomfield County Cultural Council and current member of the Communities that Care Coalition, Public Art Committee, and vice-chair of the Turnpike Arts District. Mary is very grateful to her amazing children and supportive partner in a family which constantly keeps her learning, growing, and laughing.
Preston Adams (BSTA Artistic Instructor, BSYT Co-Music Director) is a graduate from the University of Northern Colorado with his Bachelor of Music in Opera Performance. He spent two summers performing opera in Germany, performing Monostatos in Mozart's The Magic Flute the first time and then performing the role of Gaston in La Traviata and singing excerpts from Les Miserables as Valjean while being Chorus Master/Music Coordinator. Since graduating, he has performed such roles as Ronnette in Little Shop of Horrors, Eddie in Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dupree in Cry-baby, and Hud in Hair. Other credits include Seaweed in Hairspray, MC in Chicago, & Preacher in Bonnie and Clyde. He is excited to share his love of performance and music with BackStory's students!
Felicia Bredenberg (BSYT Stage Director, BSTA Teaching Artist, BYLP Mentor) received her BA in English and minored in Theatre Education at the University of Northern Colorado. She taught both language arts, theatre classes, and became the theatre co-director at Lakewood High School. In addition to directing the dramas and choreographing the musicals, she also helped create the school’s improv troop and run their Shakespeare festivals. In 2006, she became a stay at home mom. She is currently working as preschool director and teacher for the City of Westminster Swim & Fitness Center Preschool. She has taught countless classes and directed the following shows for BackStory Theatre: Music Man, Hello, Shakespeare!, Singin’ in the Rain, Romeo & Winifred, and Mary Poppins. She has an amazingly supportive husband and three children who she loves very much.
Kelly Bidstrup Graham (BSYT Music Director & Program Coordinator) graduated from MSU Denver with a B.A. in music and a minor in marketing. After college she turned that tutoring career into a full time position at the Early College of Arvada, teaching music and drama. Over the course of her tenure there she built a thriving theater program and fostered a culture of arts appreciation supported by an unconventional instrumental music ensemble, a High school honor Chorale, and comprehensive choir and drama classes for middle school students. She completed her masters in theater from CU Boulder in Spring 2022. She brings passion and dedication to every project she takes on whether she's teaching, directing, or performing. She makes making art a priority and is so excited to make art with BackStory!
Kendle Butterworth (BSTA Artistic Instructor) received a MA in Geography at CU Boulder in 2010 in which she did research on using theatre as a means of community development in Kenya. She earned a MS in Education from the State University of New York at Albany in 2016, specializing in teaching literacy, curriculum development, social studies, and theatre. She has worked as an educator for over a decade in a variety of K-12 settings, including teaching undergraduates and working professionals. She served as the Director of Professional Development for STEM Learning Lab in Canada where she developed programming to incorporate the arts into STEM curriculum. She has been a professional improvisor and also served as the Assistant Director at Camp Shakespeare at Winedale for 12 years. She is a firm believer in the power of theatre to empower individuals and communities. She enjoys spending time outside with her two children, husband, dog, and riding horses!
Paola Osma-Behning (BSTA Teaching Artist) was born in Bogota, Colombia. She started to train in Dance and acting at a very young age. Went to school to get her master degree in Dramatic arts and Movement from the A.S.A.B in Bogota. She moved in 2003 to the States to work with C.U Boulder as an exchange dance teacher. Started her performing production company called “ En Fuego Productions” were she produced, directed and choreographed different shows accomplishing a great success combining professional and community dancers in big dance, aerial, theater experiences. Now she is a mother of two young kids, who love theater and movement as much as she does. She loves working with kids and the community. And is eager to share her music, traditions and artistic roots.
Jessica Jewell (BSTA Teaching Artist) is a sound engineer who has worked in live sound for 6 years and theatre for 3. They graduated from CU Denver with a Bachelor's of Science in Music with a Recording Arts Emphasis in 2020. While in school, they ran sound for various events in Denver and many of the events at the school. In 2019 they began working with Equinox Theatre Company, mixing shows such as I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, Heathers: The Musical, and Be More Chill. In 2019 they won the BroadwayWorld Denver's award for Best Sound Design of a Musical for their work on Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. In June of 2021 Jess started working at Tenderdyn Arts, one of the few Dolby Atmos studios in Colorado, as the assistant engineer/producer. Jess is passionate about creating meaningful experiences between performers and audiences through sound. They also aim to bring up a diverse next generation of sound engineers through teaching live sound and podcasting with Backstory, and future spatial masterclasses with Tenderdyn."
Founder Anna Marie Wilcox conceived of BackStory in 2006 after recognizing a distinct lack of accessible performing arts opportunities in the Broomfield community where she lived with her family. With an extensive background in theatre education and production, Ms. Wilcox sought to establish an organization that would bring affordable performing arts classes and productions to all members of the community. Colorado non-profit status as BackStory Theatre was received on January 1, 2011 and federal 501(c)(3) status in November 2013. By 2015, rapid growth from 9 registrations in 2006 to over 800 at the end of 2014 lead to a process of restructuring, strategic planning, and capacity building in order to transition the organization from its roots as a small but successful sole-proprietorship to an organization with a strong and active board of directors, highly-qualified key leadership staff, and more capacity for growth. After Ms. Wilcox moved away from the area to focus on her family, former Teaching Artist and program assistant, Mary Wilkie, was hired as current Executive Director and Artistic Director.
Throughout this time, BackStory has accomplished its mission by providing free theatre arts programs at schools and through other local organizations, by offering affordable class and performance fees, by reducing fees through student work-study programs and parent volunteer opportunities, by extending scholarships to families in need, and by making performances open to the public at a cost as low as $3 per ticket (and free for children under 4). For the past few years, BackStory has prioritized service outreach to live its vision of enriching community through theatre. In 2019, BackStory provided over 100 hours of free enrichment to community members and, particularly, underserved populations with Sister Carmen Community Center, Broomfield FISH, The Refuge, Emerald Elementary, Alicia Sanchez Elementary, Garden Center Apartments, Broomfield Council on the Arts and Humanities, and through partnerships with the City & County of Broomfield's HHS, Parks & Recreation, and Library divisions. Fiscal saving priorities begun in 2016 towards a goal of moving into a long term, large leased space for classes and performances resulted in a move into our first studio home on Burbank Street in June 2018 where we are delighted to have room to grow and a space to expand classes and small performances. We are active members of Turnpike Arts District, Broomfield Council on the Arts and Humanities, Colorado Theatre Guild, and serve on the Broomfield Communities That Care Coalition board.
OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Thank you for your leadership, time, and dedication to BackStory Theatre!
Our Board of Directors volunteer expertise in finance, communications, marketing, fundraising, business, arts, and more!
We are grateful for their guidance as BackStory enriches community in Broomfield and beyond!
President John Dilts (August 2017 - current)
Vice President Misae Vela Brol (March 2019 - current)
Treasurer Matt Sturtz (February 2019 - current)
Secretary John Svensk (March 2019 - current)
Director Tinna Petursson (June 2015 - current)
Director Samantha Dei Rossi (August 2021 - current)
Executive Director Mary Wilkie (non-voting)
Past Director Alexis Ball (June 2015 - January 2022)
Past Director Jennifer Bryner (August 2017 - January 2022)
Past Director Marc Schmidt (July 2015 - January 2019)
Past Director Ted Halbert (July 2015 - April 2019)
Past Director Tracy Egler-Roback (June 2015 - April 2020)
Founder Anna Marie Wilcox (2006-2015)