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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Performing in less than 12 minutes

With only 12 minutes, from beginning to end, their time on stage is limited. But it is more than enough time for prospective artists to showcase their talents.

People interested in performing their own skit, dance or song don’t have to go to New York to be on Broadway for a chance in the spotlight. In the heart of Fairhaven, the Firehouse Performing Arts Center is opening its doors to anyone interested to audition for its 12 Minutes Max event this month.

On Saturday Feb. 27 from 4 to 8 p.m., both new and well-established artists will gather at the semi-annual event at the Firehouse PAC for a chance to have their works produced

Auditions can be anything including theater, short film, dance, music and performance art. The only rule is pieces may not exceed 12 minutes, hence the name, 12 Minutes Max. Audition times are limited so the Firehouse can accommodate as many acts as possible during an allotted time to come together to create a complete event.

Created by On The Boards located Seattle, Washington, the original concept of 12 Minutes Max has been running since 1979, according to their website. In 2013, The Firehouse Performing Arts Center began its own version of the event and expanded the idea to include short film submissions.

Matt Christman and Mandy Pidgeon are co-founders of the event in Bellingham. They have been part of 12 Minutes Max Seattle in years past and decided Bellingham needed an opportunity for performers and producers to present work, Pigeon said.

“What we are going for is quality and diversity,” Pidgeon said. “[We look for] a variety of forms and keep the quality up to a higher standard. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s all established artists. We’ve had a lot of very new beginning creators who have brought stuff and gotten in the show, which is very exciting,” Pidgeon said.

Pidgeon said, there are two different judges at each show so there are always different people who chose what goes into the show. These adjudicators are local artists themselves. In the past, they have included Western professors, instructors, musicians and teachers. These individuals chose from the auditions based on quality and diversity.

“We’ve been heavy on the dance side of things because Matt and I are both involved in the dance community around the Firehouse, so those are the people that hear about it first because they hear about it from us,” Pidgeon said.

The group would like to see more music and theater, Pidgeon said.

Auditions are open to anyone, Pidgeon said. During past events, this has included community members, Western students as well as Western professors.

“The biggest impact would be to step out of a comfort zone. I know in a lot of performing arts, you’re always creating stuff. You’re creating stuff for classes, you’re creating stuff for shows. This is the opportunity to take some of that and test it out in the real world,” Pidgeon said.

Pidgeon hopes interested parties are not afraid to audition, as she applauds the level of diversity they have seen in past shows.

“[Those auditioning should] not be intimidated, go for it and give it a try. We’ve had such a wide variety. Our youngest performer was 12 and we’ve had performers in their seventies as well, so there’s a huge range,” Pidgeon said.

For more information about audtions, contact Mandy Pidgeon at 12minutesmaxbellingham@gmail.com or visit the website, http://www.12minutesmaxbellingham.org/

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