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MAT's Jim Jackson enjoys clowning around at Community Center; says Ivywild move has been 'really wonderful'

       Entertaining a mostly youthful crowd of about 75 people, Jim Jackson of the Millibo Art Theatre (MAT) brought comedy, magic tricks and giant bubbles to the Westside Community Center June 21.
       In keeping with his long experience as a circus clown, his outfit included a round, red nose attachment. Once, when the nose became dislodged and briefly covered one of his eyes, Jackson (in deadpan character as “Mr. Guffaw”) instructed his audience, “Repeat after me. I will not put my nose in my eye.”

Jim Jackson, in character as "Mr. Guffaw," produces a mighty bubble for a clearly impressed young audience during his show June 21 in the Westside Community Center.
Westside Pioneer photo
       Afterward, Jackson said that it's been "really wonderful” for MAT the past year at its new, 110-seat location in the Ivywild School commercial/arts center, 1626 S. Tejon St. Started in 2001 by Jackson and his wife, Birgitta De Pree, the performing entity moved there last June after operating from 2008 to 2013 in a smaller theater they had built in an industrial area of the Westside (at 1367 Pecan St.).
       “It's very central,” he said of the Ivywild spot, “and people love the access to the restaurants and brews.”
       In addition, MAT is busier than ever, including 158 shows a year outside the Ivywild theater. The company used to take a break through much of the summer, but this year the time off lasted only a week. “There's no let up now,” Jackson grinned.
       The couple live on the Westside, not far from Pecan. Jackson said the only drawback to Ivywild is that it's not as easy to bicycle to work.
       Initially, MAT had been in Manitou Springs and was called the Manitou Art Theater, but Jackson and De Pree changed the first part of the name to Millibo in 2011 in honor of Millie Harrison and Bo Freese - two people who had worked with MAT but died that year.
       For ticket information, call 465-6321 or go to the themat.org.
       Now operating at the Pecan location is a stage, dance and actor-training enterprise named the Black Box Theatre, under director Nancy Holaday. The phone is 330-1798.
       Jackson's June 21 show was organized by the Old Colorado City Library, through an arrangement with the Community Center, which has room for shows expected to draw larger audiences.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 6/24/14; Community: Westside Community Center)

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