On May 11, 2013, Rimrock Opera and Venture Theatre merged into NOVA Center for the Performing Arts. NOVA provides opportunities for growth and future security made possible by the merger and has expanded revenues by offering space for a wider spectrum of users. The Center has become an important part of the community and will continue to facilitate lifelong learning in theater arts. NOVA’s comprehensive business plan allows donors to realize the benefit of integration.
Both Rimrock Opera Company and Venture Theatre began between 1989-1993 when they were both looking to fill an empty niche in Billings-one utilizing local actors in theater productions to challenge and inspire audiences and the other, capitalizing on local and regional opera talent for local main stage productions with live orchestra.
Rimrock Opera Company found success by not only breaking even but by making a profit at its premiere production of Rossini’s Barber of Seville, something many opera companies have never accomplished. Since that time, 21 operas have been performed by the Rimrock Opera Company at Alberta Bair Theatre, including a sold-out Aida in April 2013.
Rimrock Opera Company provided educational opportunities to thousands of students through its touring outreach programs, student matinees and ROCK (Rimrock Opera Chorus for Kids). Venture Theatre productions, which began at MSU B (then Eastern Montana College) were never afraid to confront the audience on topics that might cause them to squirm in their seat and question their prejudices and fears. As it developed, Venture moved from the college to bars and restaurants in Billings, then to a garage and ultimately to the current location at 2317 Montana Avenue. During those years, the popular One Act Play Festival, Venture Improv and the high quality youth education program were developed.
NOVA Center for the Performing Arts has an outstanding premiere season planned. There’s something for everyone: plays, improv comedy, opera, youth productions, Wet Ink, Fringe Festival and musicals. The best of both organizations shine through at NOVA. Thank you for your continued support. Enjoy the Show!
NOVA Center for the Performing Arts is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation governed by a board of directors.
NOVA’s Initial Board of Directors and Staff:
President Cam Saberhagen Vice President Lucinda Stearns Butler 2nd Vice President Dane Jorgensen Treasurer Julia Warmer Secretary Karen Postema Board Members Steve Butler, Virginia Mermel, Mary Goplen, Randy Hammerquist, Brooke Buchanan, Don Sommerfeld, Jennifer Chapman, Joan McCracken and Angela Langeliers Finance Director Darci Hertz Technical Director Amber Felker
Committees Conservatory Artistic Committee Opera Artistic Committee Theater Artistic Committee Building Maintenance (sub-committee Community Outreach/Facility Usage) Finance/Grants/Sponsorship Special Events/Fundraiser Merchandise/Box Office Volunteers Nominating/Governance Personnel Marketing/Publicity
In June 2013, Matthew Haney was hired as Managing Producer and Dan Nickerson as Youth Conservatory Director. Craig Huisenga was hired as Managing Producer in September 2013.
2013-14 Productions and Programs
Summer Youth Conservatory