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Alumni establish The Green Zoo Arts Collective

What do you get when you throw together seven C of I alumni, a stage and endless creativity? A zoo…a Green Zoo that is. Recent graduates Thomas Newby ’11, Mike Ward ’11, Anthony Parry ’12, Jeff Young ’12, Fred Loucks ’12, Kylie Jones ’12 and Ricardo Osuna ’12 have taken their College of Idaho experience in the arts to the next level with a venture into the business world. Combining their passions for theatre and music, this young and talented group has established a limited liability company under a unique title: The Green Zoo Arts Collective.

“The name ‘The Green Zoo’ actually comes from a 1960s polish folk song,” Newby said. “The name was given to the earliest formation of the group, which was a band that I started as part of my senior project at The College of Idaho.”

Newby’s senior project initially focused on using music to examine the ideas of existentialism, but after the assignment was complete, he and his group decided to express the human condition through the medium of theatre as well. Thus, the collective was established under a clear goal “that strives to celebrate the subtle intricacies of the human condition while questioning their purpose and value,” according to the group’s mission statement. With a distinctive mission and diverse artistic background, The Green Zoo believes its troupe will stand out among other theatre groups in the Treasure Valley.

“I think that, as far as theatre goes in the Valley, there is a little bit of a monopoly,” Young said. “You have Boise Contemporary Theater and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. What we want to do then is create theatre that isn’t being created around here that is both challenging and intellectually new.”

The decision to create the company stemmed not only from the members’ history at the College together, but also from their desire to produce original work and pursue their passions after graduation.

“When you get out of college, there’s no real environment out there to do professional theatre and you don’t have that focused time to make art with your peers,” Loucks said. “But we found a way to make it work. Everything we learned at the College and the four years we spent together helped us continue to make art together.”

Although the company is still in its infancy, the Arts Collective is well on its way to achieving its goal. The Green Zoo band has already released an album entitled Crow Songs: An Auditory Exploration of Existential Themes, and is in the process of recording a second compilation. Meanwhile, Green Zoo Theatre recently debuted Signal-to-Noise, a play written by Newby, at the WaterCooler in boise.

“If there is one thing I’d want people to take away from the Arts Collective it’s that starting your own group and being successful can happen,” Young said. “Sometimes it just takes longer for stuff to pan out, but it can be done.”

To learn more about The Green Zoo Arts Collective, please visit www.greenzooarts.com.

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another 11 Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.