New Manti resident looking to establish community theater
By Suzanne Dean
MANTI—A new resident who has a theater background is organizing a community theater group in Manti based at the Eva Beal Auditorium in the Manti City Building.
Nanette Bramwell, who has a theater arts degree from BYU and who has been involved in community theater in four states, told the Manti City Council earlier this month that she plans to call her operation “Miracle Theater,” a takeoff on the former Mormon Miracle Pageant.
Appearing with Bramwell at the council meeting was Denise Hagemeister, who also studied theater at BYU and who has a lengthy background in children’s theater and dance. She was director of the Mormon Miracle Pageant in its final two years.
Bramwell said after she and her family moved to Manti in July, she and Hagemeister “started exploring ideas and talked about getting a theater group going.”
For many years, Hagemeister has ran a nonprofit organization called Developing Arts Potential Through Creativity (DPAC).
Hagemeister told the city council that Miracle Theater would be a “nurture group” under the umbrella of DPAC. That would give the new community theater operation nonprofit status, which could enable it to qualify for grants and receive tax-deductible donations.
Bramwell said that while she’s been a performer, she’s never run a theater organization. Referring to Hagemeister, she said, “She’s helping me set it up because I don’t have that experience.”
Bramwell told the city council the Miracle Theater’s first production would be “The Boys Next Door,” a play about a group of adult men with mental health and intellectual disabilities living in a group home in New England. The play was made into a movie by Hallmark Entertainment.
She said she wants to have auditions for acting parts in February and stage the play in early May.
After graduating from BYU, Bramwell, along with her husband, Ben, spent time in Oregon and Illinois, where Ben was doing graduate study.
They returned to Utah County for 10 years, where her husband was involved in the supplement industry.
Then they moved to Chesterfield, N.H., a town about the size of Manti, where again, her husband had a job related to nutritional supplements.
“I’ve mostly volunteered, but I’ve been involved in theater wherever I’ve lived,” Bramwell said.
She said when she and her husband decided to move back to Utah with their five children, they chose Manti because “we love small towns” and because both she and her husband have family connections there.
There is actually a picture of her great-grandfather, A.W. Jensen, on the west wall of the Eva Beal Theater. He was the first supervisor of the Manti-La Sal National Forest.
Her husband has an uncle, Steve Kjar, who lives in Manti. His cousin, Shaun Kjar, is city manager of Ephraim.
If you are interested in auditioning for the first play, and especially if you are interested in a non-acting role, such as working with costumes, scenery, lighting or publicity, email bramwell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her phone number is (603) 244-8141.