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 proud to be the parent of two amazing young boys in a family which constantly keeps her learning, growing, and laughing.
Preston Adams (BSTA Teaching Artist) 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!
Jessica Bland (BSTA Teaching Artist, BYLP Mentor) graduated from Wells College in 2013 with a B.A. in the Performing Arts and Philosophy. Before arriving at BackStory, she worked with Syracuse Stage, honing her craft as a teaching artist for culturally and linguistically diverse student populations. Jessica’s particular teaching interests lie in working with young people to advance their skills in literacy through the use of the theatrical arts. Her personal artistic passions include Shakespeare and devised theatre. When she’s not on-stage or in the classroom, Jessica can be found at her kitchen-counter working on a new craft project, or adventuring in the great outdoors.
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) graduated from MSU Denver with a B.A. in music and a minor in marketing. Starting at age 17 she worked as a private music tutor for a variety of instruments and voice. 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 has 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 is a strong promoter and supporter of the arts and believes firmly that arts education teaches valuable life skills academic education often doesn't. 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!
Michelle Hoffman (Development, Grants, and Special Projects) came to BackStory as an integral member of the grant writing team and continues providing strong support in that and other areas of marketing and development. When she’s not writing witty words about BackStory, Michelle is actively engaged in several volunteer projects at her child's school and supporting the gifted and talented community in Adams 12 School District. Michelle lives in Broomfield with her wonderful husband and daughter.
Beth Lietaert (Lead Choreographer) is a multi-disciplinary dance teacher and choreographer. Originally from the Toledo, Ohio area, Ms. Lietaert trained with Hilary Lindsay and Darrah Nowak of On Stage Studio before studying with the University of Akron dance program and the Dance Institute of Akron, Ohio. She continued her dance education in New York with the Paul Taylor School and the Luigi Dance Center. Highlights of her performance career include working with Jennifer Muller of Jennifer Muller/The Works, Ohio Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem and Kalliope Stage. As chorographer, Ms. Lietaert is known for working with both trained concert dancers and untrained pedestrian dancers. Her work has been showcased by the Off-Broadway School of Fine Arts, CenterStage Theater Company, the University of Akron, Terpsichore Dance, the Dance Institute, Mosaic Arts Program, On Stage Studio, Oregon Community Theater, Springfield High School, Napoleon High School, Ayersville High School, and WCC Children's Theater.
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 John Svensk (March 2019 - current)
Treasurer Tinna Petursson (June 2015 - current)
Secretary Matt Sturtz (February 2019 - current)
Ed. Outreach Jennifer Bryner (August 2017 - current)
Director Alexis Ball (June 2015 - current)
Director Tracy Egler-Roback (June 2015 - current)
Director Misae Vela Brol (March 2019 - current)
Executive Director Mary Wilkie (non-voting)
Past Director Marc Schmidt (July 2015 - January 2019)
Past Director Ted Halbert (July 2015 - April 2019)