Big things are happening for the High Country’s own In/Visible Theatre company and Artistic Producer Karen Sabo, whose role with the nonprofit arts organization has recently expanded.
Over the past two-and-a-half years, Sabo has also served as executive director of the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge, a philanthropic agency that aims to empower local women and girls and was created through the union of two longstanding charitable funds. Effective in early November, Sabo left her role at the women’s fund to pursue leadership with In/Visible on a full-time basis.
“It is time to return to my artistic roots, blending social and economic justice issues concerning women and other marginalized groups into my theatre work,” she said in the fund’s announcement of the news.
Sabo looks forward to devoting more time to In/Visible Theatre because she knows firsthand that art can change lives.
“I love traditional theatre, and at In/Visible, we do some projects that look traditional, where you buy a ticket, go sit in a dark theatre, and watch what’s going on onstage,” she said. “But those plays we choose or create are always going to have surprising elements that help everyone involved, audiences and artists alike, think about things in new ways, and take a fresh look at ideas that we thought we already knew all about. I think dramatic storytelling is one of the few ways to help people really open their minds to new ideas and increased understanding and empathy for others. We use theatre to make society better.
“I’m also really excited about the untraditional theatre programs we’re working on. We think that theatre should be for everyone, but some people are reluctant to actually get in that theatre. So we’re figuring out how to bring it to the people.
Sabo and the In/Visible team look forward to far-reaching long-term goals that include national recognition for making big art in the small town of Boone, improving lives through art, experimenting with innovative producing and engaging the community through conversation about Appalachian culture and identity in the North Carolina mountains.
Investing in the organization as a full-time producer will allow Sabo to focus on her true passion: reaching people through the power of art.
“In/Visible Theatre has the potential to be a major force for good in this wonderful community. If we can produce as fully as we want to, and strengthen our infrastructure, we have the potential to help find the artist in people who don’t know there’s an artist in themselves,” she said. “We can show off some of the amazing talent in this community. Using art in an inclusive way to celebrate the people who live here, that’s a gift we can give to the region that will also make Boone even more interesting and engaging to both residents and visitors; but to do this as fully as it needs to be done is going to take a lot more time and attention from me.
“I think this is my life’s work, and I’m looking forward to giving it the attention it needs to be the greatest force for good possible.”
Want to chat with Karen? Contact her to say hello at [email protected]
Stay tuned for information on In/Visible’s first fringe festival, BOLO Fest (Boone Solo Performance Festival), Nov. 17-19.
About In/Visible Theatre
In/Visible’s mission is to produce innovative work that encourages audiences to live in the moment, deconstruct accepted conventions and embrace alternative perspectives. It uses education, social engagement and inventive producing to create a more engaged, empathetic and introspective populace.
“Even traditional plays are hard to produce. They take lots of time, energy and funding from lots of people. So to be an alternative or independent theatre is taking even more resources because we don’t have a straightforward, cleared path to follow in a lot of ways,” said Sabo. “Creating new plays from scratch, taking the theatre out of the theatre building to various places downtown, creating a fringe festival, creating community arts events that don’t exist yet, these take even more attention that producing straightforward theatre in a straightforward way.”