- Chris Medina
- The Vagrant gives voice to another marginalized group of people — the homeless.
It’s tough to conceive of an organization more aptly named than Funky Little Theater Company, a group of passionate theater folks now based on the Westside. Though they’ve been performing full seasons of unique stage shows since they first opened their doors about six years ago, it is only recently that the group has achieved nonprofit status.
“Indy Give! is our first actual fundraiser, so I think that’s a huge step for us,” says artistic director and founder Chris Medina.
Though Funky has grown impressively over the years — and now occupies the former Theater on Pecan, where they’ve expanded seating capabilities and established a workshop backstage — Medina has big plans for this little company.
Location Details Funky Little Theater Company
Though, of course, Medina’s had big plans since the group performed its first show in a little studio near the Colorado Springs Senior Center. He’s always had an eye on presenting regional premieres, relatively unknown shows, and plays that showcase the voices of the marginalized.
“We love to focus on the deaf community, the African-American community,” Medina says. “We love doing shows with strong female characters. We love doing shows about families and dysfunctional families and mental health, and we love doing all of it.”
Alongside that, not only did Funky Little Theater Company found Spectrum, an LGBTQ play festival, but recently, the company presented On The Roof, a world premiere play about the LGBTQ community in the 1950s. “And so we wanted to show by representation that we do care about the community, we do care about these specific people in the community, and within marginalized demographics. I think people can say that they advocate for that community … [but] it’s like, it’s really in your actions and what you produce.”
To launch its Give! Campaign, Funky has partnered with Ascending to Health Respite Care (another Give! nonprofit) to present The Vagrant, a play about a man experiencing homelessness who offers advice to two stockbrokers. Along with the show, the theater is hosting a coat and sock drive for their partner organization. This isn’t the first time they’ve used their stage as a platform for change. In the past, the theater has raised funds for organizations such as Inside Out Youth Services and All Breed Rescue and Training.
And though these partnerships address serious issues, Funky always remains true to its name and mission, and there is no shortage of fun to be had. The theater hosts three improv groups (Stick Horses in Pants, TV Unscripted and Oxymorons), special events like the one-day playwriting festival 24SEVEN, and even lip-syncing competitions.
And after the raging success of its first summer musical, Spamalot, Funky has announced plans for its next musical performance: We Will Rock You, based on the music of Queen.
Though Funky’s stage shows may grow in complexity, Medina’s goals for Give!, and for the company’s new nonprofit status, remain simple: He wants to be able to pay himself and his actors, the company’s box office manager and stage managers and lighting designers. “And then probably in the scope of that trying to unfold itself, I’d love to build an educational component for Funky, because we have a huge connection with schools,” Medina says. “I just want to do [theater], to share an experience, to create a conversation with somebody.”