Blixt, Nebraska Community Foundation and Nemaha County Development Foundation Fund are challenging community members to “turn up their dream switch” at a free public performance on Friday, Aug. 16 at 6 p.m. in Auburn’s Courthouse Square. “The Dream Switch” is an original community concert event featuring live music, performed by Nebraska’s own rising star, Andrea von Kampen, and a band of seven outstanding musicians. A candid, post-show conversation will center on welcoming, belonging, and how Nemaha County can further efforts to attract Greater Nebraska returners and newcomers, as well as retain those who currently call it home.
“The Dream Switch” is a live original song cycle (an album that tells a story consecutively through the composition and order of songs) written by the award-winning, Nebraska-based musical theatre team Becky Boesen and David von Kampen. The story revolves around a young woman from the sandhills who decides after her first year of college in Nebraska, that her happiness awaits elsewhere. “The Dream Switch” follows her journey as she leaves home, explores the world beyond, and then comes to her own understanding that “everything I needed to be me, was around me.”
Following the performance, all audience members are invited to stay for a post-show discussion reflecting on the show’s themes and how they apply to the Nemaha County community.
“We see ‘The Dream Switch’ not only as a chance to enrich lives through a quality arts experience, but as an entry point and opportunity to have critical conversations about the future of our hometowns,” said Jeff Yost, president and CEO of Nebraska Community Foundation. “The performance will serve as a catalyst for honest dialogue about what makes Greater Nebraska special, what are our challenges and opportunities to grow, and how we can make our communities more inviting and welcoming places for those who have yet to discover them. We see ‘The Dream Switch’ not simply as a performance, but a platform for community development.”
In the months leading up to the production, Blixt co-founders Petra Wahlqvist and Becky Boesen have been working with local youth and educators on arts-centered projects that focus on sense of place and students’ perceptions of their community. For instance, students were challenged to take photos and write about where they feel the most comfortable or happy in their hometowns. The group also held a virtual meeting with peers in Sweden to discuss the similarities and differences among their places.
“Getting to the heart of what makes a community a place where people feel like they belong requires vulnerability and trust. The arts have the ability to remove barriers and help us understand complex topics,” said Boesen. “We have seen it happen in the work we have already done with Nemaha County students and anticipate the same thing will happen when we speak with community members representing multiple generations after the August 16th performance.”
Auburn is the world premiere performance location for “The Dream Switch” and co-producers Blixt and Nebraska Community Foundation invite other communities to present the work and host similar conversations in the future. Individuals, organizations and communities who share a passion for the future of Greater Nebraska and wish to get involved or support the project should contact Petra Wahlqvist at firstname.lastname@example.org or Janny Crotty at email@example.com.
What: World premiere performance of “The Dream Switch”
When: Friday, Aug. 16 at 6 p.m.
Where: Auburn’s Courthouse Square
NOTE: Attendees should bring their own chairs or something to sit on while they enjoy the performance.