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New theater company to open in Brainerd

Kevin Yeager (left) and Gary Hirsch are the founders of the Stage North Theater Company that will be housed at the Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd.1 / 2
Kevin Yeager (left) and Gary Hirsch are the founders of the Stage North Theater Company that will be housed at the Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd. 2 / 2

Stage North Theater Company is a new theater company that will bring live productions to the Brainerd stage to provide affordable, accessible theater to the community.

Stage North will debut with "A Christmas Carol" this holiday season, following it up with a 2015 lineup of productions including "Little Shop of Horrors" and "Wait Until Dark."

Tickets will be $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12.

Stage North will make its home in the Franklin Arts Center Auditorium. The theater company has invested into the space, and all of the shows will feature sets, lighting and music that the public has come to expect from other local venues.

Gary Hirsch of Pequot Lakes, and Kevin Yeager of Brainerd, co-founded Stage North, adding to Brainerd's arts scene. Hirsch, a former English teacher in Mora, is active in community theater in Pequot Lakes and at Central Lakes College (CLC). With a bachelor's degree in theater, he's served as drama director for more than 100 shows, also acting in many.

Yeager, a home designer in Brainerd, has acted in more than 20 local plays since 2008. He was recently Bill Sykes in Pequot Lakes Community Theater's "Oliver" and was Otto Frank in "The Diary of Anne Frank" at CLC. He's also been in technical and management positions for numerous productions and has made acting appearances in Brainerd, Pequot Lakes and Minneapolis.

In addition to producing family-friendly plays and musicals, Stage North will also host a series of darker productions known as "Stage North After Dark." The plays will be held at the Brainerd

High School small theater and feature smaller, more intimate shows with darker action and entertainment for mature audiences. The first play on that lineup is "Wait Until Dark," which will debut in October of 2015.

Casting for "A Christmas Carol" will take place early this October. Hirsch said the family-friendly

Christmas classic will provide the community with an affordable, holiday production.

Hirsch said the motivation to start a new area theater company came from a desire to bring more great theater to the area.

"We enjoy working hard to come up with a good product," Hirsch said. "We want these to be so

good. We want to blow people away with the value of good theater."

For more information on Stage North Theater Company, visit the company's website at or call 218-232-6810.