Perseverance Theatre (Douglas, AK)


A young woman stands with her arms up, face raised skyward as another young woman stands behind and to the of her gazing outward

Ekatrina Oleska (left) and Doneice Falcon perform in Perseverance Theatre's production of Julie Jensen's Wait! Photo courtesy of Perseverance Theatre

Founded in 1978, Perseverance Theatre has acquired a national reputation as a quality theater company while serving the Juneau, Alaska area with classical and contemporary productions. Perseverance has premiered more than 50 new plays, including Paula Vogel's 1998 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, How I Learned to Drive, which Vogel wrote during her residency there.

In 2001, Perseverance created SPRING, a three-month festival of emerging theatrical works, featuring world premiere productions and development work on future SPRING productions. In FY 2004, Perseverance received an NEA Creativity grant of $30,000 to support the West Coast premiere of Julie Jensen's Wait! and the statewide tour of Bridget Carpenter's Up (The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair) during SPRING 2004.

Director Anita Maynard-Losh called Wait! an “unsentimental valentine” to the theater life as it follows Wendy Burger, a socially awkward UPS truck driver, find herself through community theater. The play was the last that Maynard-Losh directed for Perseverance before moving to Washington, DC's Arena Stage.

Jensen wrote her comedy as a participant of the NEA/Theatre Communications Group's Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights, being the resident playwright at Salt Lake Acting Company in Utah. The play is based on Jensen's own experiences in theater.

SPRING 2004 saw the West Coast premiere of Wait! May 7-30, 2004 to enthusiastic audiences. The theater company also toured Carpenter's Up—based on the real-life story of Larry Walter, who attached 32 weather balloons to his lawn chair and flew 16,000 feet over the Mojave Desert—to Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Whitehorse (capital of Canada's Yukon Territory).

(From the 2004 NEA Annual Report)