Backstage: New horizons beckon for Brian Freeland and the Lida Project

For the last year, something's been missing from the Lida Project. Certainly, it hasn't been creativity or an open mind; under the energetic guidance of stand-in artistic director Julie Rada, the local experimental theater group in fact thrived as well as any small group of its kind can in Denver, putting on a season of original avant -garde works and giving over space to other performers and events in edgy vein. But Lida founder (and Westword MasterMind) Brian Freeland was nowhere to be found; instead, he took a well-deserved sabbatical. It was, however, just that: some down time away from the wearying business of theater, a necessary bane for anyone out there trying to do something different onstage. "It's been pretty invigorating," Freeland says. "I had been going for about 16 years solid as an artist/administrator, with no opportunity to breathe or recharge my batteries. In the experimental arts, there are always things that drag you down that aren't part of the work: the drag about funding, the drag about finding an audience." But now he's back, quietly, with purpose. "I'm amped up and juiced up to go another 16 years without a break," he promises.

In the works for a May opening is a new work inspired by Swiss playwright Max Frisch's mid-century postwar political satire Biedermann and the Firebugs, updated to address our current post-9/11 atmosphere, ten years on, with Freeland holding the reins.

And that's not the only change in store for Lida, which has spent most of its last ten years at home in BINDERY | space at 22nd and Stout streets, in the shadow of the Mercury Cafe. Freeland says Lida will be on the move from that space in April, hopefully landing at a building in the RiNo neighborhood, for which he's now negotiating a lease.

Then, Freeland says, it will be business as usual, with Lida offering space to others of the same ilk: "There are a lot of alternative artists out there, folks who have quirky passions in line with our world view that we can offer space to, even if it's just one night a month, giving a home to people who have different ideas and their cool slivers of life." And he expects he'll have plenty more news to share as the year unfolds. "Things are vibrant," he says optimistically. "I hope they can stay that way. It feels like it's a good time."

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