Richard Geer, Ph.D.
Founder, Story Bridge
Richard is the founder of Story Bridge. People Magazine says “Director Richard Geer heals troubled communities with the magic of theatre–and the gift of new hope.” An artist, philosopher and educator, Richard has directed over 40 Story Bridge plays and numerous workshops on five continents of the world.
Thirty years ago, I was a theater director in the small ski town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. At the same time I was directing the play DRACULA, a story about an unknown force draining the life out of a town, another force was draining the life out of Steamboat. It was the year it didn’t snow, compounded by the economic downturn. Just as every day another person went missing in the Dracula story, another store closed up on the dwindling main street. Twenty-five percent of businesses failed in one winter. But in spite of the bleak economy, the play performed to sell-out crowds. No one knew at first why it was so appealing, only later was the correlation made between the arc of the two stories. Soon, a community discussion took place and the town came together to purchase snow-making equipment, to prevent this from ever happening again. Thirty years later, Steamboat is a thriving ski resort, and has never again experienced the downfall of a snow-less winter. Also thirty years later, Community Performance continues to create sustainable,” sticky” change in communities across he country. Now, instead of matching outside stories to a community situation, Community Performance uses the stories right inside the community to create the same kind of sticky change. The process remains the same. A powerful story and performance followed by a community conversation which leads to committed action and sustainable change?