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Q&A: Hannah Farr

Founder and Creative Director of West Side Theatre Co.

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Hannah Farr is the founder and creative director of the newly formed West Side Theatre Co. After a fundraiser premiere event last month, they are set to start producing shows in Eagle Mountain.

How did you get started in theater?
I did theater in middle school and in high school, then went on to get a BFA in acting from Southern Oregon University. I got an internship at Oregon's Shakespeare Festival, and was in their shows for a year. Then I decided that I was going to move to New York to pursue acting, but I needed to save up some money first, so I moved in with my grandparents in Utah. Then I met my husband, got married and had a kid.

How did the idea for West Side Theatre Co. come about?
We're kind of in our own world on the west side of the range; there aren't so many opportunities for people [to do theater]. It's quite a drive to West Valley Hale, or Orem Hale. So for people who don't want to commit five hours a night, it's hard. We need an outlet for people, because there's a lot of talent. And I need something to do as well, if I'm going to stay here or I'm going to have to move. I just started asking on our neighborhood Facebook page—asking someone to draw up a business plan, etc. I just kind of put it out there, and they slowly came to me.

What are the unique challenges of producing theater in your area?
We want to be able to provide opportunities for new types of shows, without picking things that are edgy and offensive. So the challenge is to find ways to work on productions that have a lot of truth about the human experience ... that have valuable, emotional stories and lessons. Those kinds of shows often come with exploring darker areas of the human experience. We're going to make sure that we tell the truth on the stage, not sugar-coat things, or ignore the darker side of what it means to be human, but we aren't going to ever do anything that would be considered inappropriate. There's a difference between showing someone you know struggling with addiction, and showing somebody swearing a ton. We need to gain trust with our audience, so we'll be doing things pretty traditional for the first couple of years, then maybe trying something from a new playwright, or doing something a little avant-garde-ish.

What's next for the company?
Our first production, in August, will be Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day: The Musical. It's important to know that we are planning on building our own theater facility in the next few years, as we try to get funding. Not sure if it's going to be in Eagle Mountain area or Saratoga; it depends on where we can get sponsors or land. We want to make this part of the community.

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