Tobin Atkinson (1991+)

Tobin Atkinson

Tobin Atkinson

It was the spring of 1990. (I feel a yarn coming on…) Cheryl Cluff and I were very hungry to do theatre – acting, primarily – but couldn’t seem to get cast in local productions to save our lives. In late 1989, I had written a letter to the newly appointed Artistic Director of Pioneer Theatre, Charles Morey, asking for any little advice he might have for someone wanting to start a theatre company. He generously wrote back with a two-page letter suggesting I and my friends take a piece of butcher paper and a magic marker and list all the reasons why we wanted to start a theatre company.

Cheryl and I followed Chuck’s advice one evening in November, 1990, on the second floor of the Salt Lake Roasting Company. From that list – which included everything from saving the world with our art to we want to play the leads – we selected a couple of items to be our impending company’s mission statement. After about an hour and a half, a theatre company was born. By August of 1991, we’d staged our first production.

The name Plan-B was selected because there had always been the obligatory dream of fortune and glory. In our minds, we were always destined for theatrical greatness; but in the real world, just getting cast was becoming the dream. Plan-A was to be rich and famous; Plan-B was to actually do the work. We soon discovered that there were many, many hats to wear when following the Plan-B motif. It was exhausting, and frustrating, and humbling, but it was work – which is what Plan-B was supposed to supply…and continues to supply to this day.

Congratulations Cheryl for being there every single day for 20 years. You are the foundation of Plan-B and a pillar of inspiration for the rest of us, my dear. Salut!

Tobin is pictured about in Mimosa Pudica, part of OUT OF THE FRYING PAN…AN EVENING OF ONE-ACTS (1991), the very first Plan-B production.

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