Artist Spotlight: Brett Lark
Aspen native Brett Lark has been an integral part of the valley’s theater scene for years. Earlier this year, through Secret Identity Pictures, he brought Tarzan the Musical on tour from Rifle to Grand Junction to Aspen. The nonprofit is now fundraising for some new equipment, while Lark is preparing for a part time move. He recently caught up with the Post Independent to talk about pursuing his passion.
How did you get into acting?
It’s something I always wanted to do. I participated in plays at Aspen Middle and Aspen High School, but I when I graduated I figured that part of my life was over. I thought it was time to grow up and do something that normal adults did.
What was that?
Exercise science, minoring in nutrition. I’ve always been active. If I couldn’t entertain people, I wanted to do something to challenge my body. I never truly used that. I ended up owning my own business — Crossfit Generate.
More recently, I helped start Splendor Development Services for adults with disabilities. That’s a passion of mine, because I grew up with people with developmental disabilities I thought were really underserved. Robert Baker is a wonderful health care professional with tons of experience, and he just needed some help with the behind the scenes part of the business.
How did you get back into acting?
After college, I realized that that was still a dream that was burning deep, so I decided to make it work. Business ownership allowed a little more freedom and income. I was able to do community theater on a more consistent basis, and when that wasn’t enough for my unquenchable thirst for acting, we created the nonprofit Secret Identity Pictures.
Tell us more about that.
At first it was just an outlet for some friends and I who enjoyed acting to act more, but now we have a summer kids theater program and a spring tour— “Tarzan” this spring, “Mary Poppins” coming up. It’s really evolved. A lot of people have been pouring effort and money into it.
We just got a grant from Garfield County to purchase a fly rig. This is not just for us. It’s a very expensive piece of equipment used to create the illusion of flying, and it’s difficult to do unless you hire someone out for thousands of dollars. Ours could be easily rented out to smaller theater companies for much less. It’s a matching funds grant, so we need to raise at least $5,000 from the community, too.
We’re also fundraising for a 12-wireless-microphone unit, which could bring a huge level of class to local productions.
What’s the benefit of collaborating?
Right now it’s a little more individualized, but there are companies gaining this vision of coming together and building something a little bit bigger. We’ve been partnering with Stage Door to bring another level to our productions. They needed some specific vines for their production of Lion King Jr., and we loaned them some from Tarzan.
We’re looking at an opportunity to take students down to California for a conference. We couldn’t do that with just our numbers, but if we combine forces, all the sudden we can do it. I’d really like to see collaboration to create a school to give local high schoolers a more focused head start than schools provide for sound, lighting, stage management, acting, singing, video production…
What’s next for you?
I’m heading out to California with my family to really pursue it. A large part of my heart is still here, and we’ll be back in the summers. Secret Identity Pictures isn’t going away. We have someone taking over— Sarah Burke, who, by the way is 16 years old.
I love performing so much, and I’m willing to give my life to it. For me to share that inspiration with other people and create a level of storytelling that brings possibilities to people’s mind is exciting to me. That’s what brought me back to entertaining.
For more information about Secret Identity or to donate, visit secretidentitypictures.weebly.com.
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