A decade ago, it was a thought and a dream, a hope to simply get off the ground and find a place to call home.
A decade later, a new name and the same driving passion to serve the community through the arts can be found at Northern Starz Center for the Performing Arts in Ramsey, set to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2022.
“I am beyond thrilled to be celebrating our 10-year anniversary,” Northern Starz executive director Rachel Bohnsack said. “In 2012, we started as a nonprofit with 16 families and a dream to have a small theatrical group we could call home and have it available for members of the community. Now, having a Center for the Performing Arts 10 years later is beyond our wildest dreams. Being a part of the community in the arts enables so many, of all ages and abilities, to learn so much more than just how to perform. I have seen many students grow up at Northern Starz, graduate and move into the arts as a career.
“It has gone by too extremely fast. It seems like yesterday we were searching for our own little space in the world. Now, within our 18,000-square-foot facility, we offer theater, dance, voice, piano, guitar. Also, we have classes, workshops and our newest addition, The Galaxy Event Center!”
One of the biggest challenges Northern Starz faced was simply getting going. Now well-established in the community, it’s a matter of continuing to build upon its foundation and finding creative ways to grow.
“As a grassroots nonprofit, one of the largest hurdles is getting your name out there for people to know what you do,” Bohnsack said. “This community has brought us in with open arms! We have such great people both working at Northern Starz and also supporting Northern Starz. Along with that support, as a nonprofit, we are always in need of volunteers; and we have some of the best out there! In 2019, our last full performance year, we had over 10,000 hours from individuals volunteering to help make this a space for all in the community. We thank all of our supporters (both individual and business), along with our volunteers and staff for making Northern Starz Center for the Performing Arts a place to gather, have fun and be a part of a family!”
Northern Starz will open 2022 with a flurry of activity. “The Miracle Worker: A Story of Helen Keller” runs Jan. 20-23, “Jewels of deNial” (the 55-plus troupe) runs Feb. 3-5, “A Little Bit of Magic” runs Feb. 17-20 and “Scenes from a Hat” by the Improv Troupe will be in the new Galaxy Event Center on Feb. 25.
After that? Anything and everything possible to make the arts accessible to the Anoka County community and beyond.
“We simply want to continue to be able to give back to the community through arts education, live performances and entertainment,” Bohnsack said. “With those goals and our mission, we are going to be starting a 9-12 conservatory program in the fall of 2022. Beyond that, we have much to offer for all ages and all abilities.”
More information on tickets, auditions and classes can be found at www.northernstarz.org.