The Final Word: Mary Bennett
Mary is the Producing Artistic Director of Reno’s Brüka Theatre.
NMVG: Tell me about Brüka Theatre:
MB: Brüka Theatre was founded by Scott Beers in 1992. In 1997, I started Renaissance Projects in Carson City with a group of amazing thespians. I worked with Brüka in Reno frequently, and we decided to merge in 1999. Our mission is “to create and share the experience of innovative theater.” I love the people I meet and the stories we share. Northern Nevada allows a great deal of room to play as an artist.
NMVG: As a theater professional who wears many hats, can you explain your career?
MB: My mother suggested I learn everything about the world of theater to not only get work, but to create, stay passionate, and be responsible for my own artistry. My career now spans almost 30 years, and I work as a creator, actor, director, producer, manager, fundraiser, writer, educator, and more. I am constantly trying to squeeze all of the humanity and humor out of this fascinating existence that I can.
NMVG: Why are local theater companies so important?
MB: Local theaters not only reflect our society’s norms and oddities, they showcase the talents, desires, heritage, and defining moments of the people that create within them. They take us into other worlds and create deeper understanding. I truly believe giving space to expression and creation—whether it be in a local theater, music venue, art gallery, writing group—is imperative to creating a positive, inspiring, compassionate world.
NMVG: How has Reno’s art scene changed over the years?
MB: It may get overused, but “Biggest Little City” continues to be an accurate description of Reno. I have been mentored and inspired by many amazing artists who led the way while insisting on quality, respect and asking the hard questions. Some have come and gone, but the legacy of their talent remains. In a city that has its entertainment roots in casino shows, we changed over years by the diversity of art, culture, and the melting pot of people that defines our region. During COVID, our local theaters (Brüka, Reno Little Theater, and Good Luck Macbeth) created opportunities together. I don’t think we would have made it through without each other.
NMVG: Anything else you want folks to know?
MB: Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s words still ring true: “We are the music makers. And we are the dreamers of dreams.” We are also the makers of the dream, so get involved. Spread your wings and fly.
Learn more about Brüka at bruka.org