I’ve known Colby for a few years now, we’ve worked on some interesting things together, my favorite of which involved shooting confetti canons off in a Manhattan apartment. If you’ve ever read the directions on those things you’d see it clearly warns – “DO NOT shoot off indoors” – but we were making a Beer Commercial so it was absolutely necessary that we did indeed shoot them off inside…we survived.

Colby Day is a playwright, and filmmaker living in New York. He works as the Artistic Development Manager for Pipeline Theatre Company. Colby is uniquely like the atmosphere. An environment. He’s a moving, growing, changing and evolving living organism that fuels his surroundings. What he does has purpose, this purpose never skews to selfish greed. He exists to feed, oxygenate, and remove toxicity from polluted scenarios. He creates wonder, curiosity, support, and delight in an undeniably honest way.

Colby is a force to be reckoned with and he’s always up to something magical. So naturally a much needed update was in order. We sat down, drank a ton of coffee and chatted his new gig, theater in NYC, and producing the impossible.

Our conversation…

So tell me, what’s going on with Colby Day?! And if I may, you’re like a cumulus hug cloud that just floats around and makes people feel like family…
You know, I do feel like my job for Pipeline is that. In developing new work I’m a cheerleader for artists – I’ve created this little niche job for myself where I get to focus exclusively on the art and artists.

This feels organic for you…
My job at this point is ” I like what you’re doing, it’s great! I care about you! Keep pushing yourself!”

You created this role?
I tried to find a position that focused more on championing artists and less on logistics. I used to be more involved with our day-to-day production, budget, financials, etc. I was doing it. I didn’t love it, but I was doing it.

Colby Day, photo by Zack DeZon

Colby Day, photo by Zack DeZon

Doing it well, no?
I was ok at it but I didn’t love it. And within the arts (and non-profits especially) you have to love it or otherwise someone else should be doing it. And we (the Pipeline team) knew there were people out there who were great, and loved it. We just didn’t know him or her yet.

 And this year we announced our new Producing Director Natalie! She loves it and we love her. She’s our person! Hey Natalie!

Hi Natalie!
And our Director of Production, Kristy! It’s been a big year of organizational growth for Pipeline. It’s CRAZY because we now have these smart, talented, dedicated problem solvers who’re so creative and invested in the company’s vision.

Have prices for space gone up with rising rents in NY?
As your shows get bigger, your space gets bigger, and it’s all just so expensive in NY. I think traditionally space for off-off and off-broadway theater is about 50% of your budget (if not more) in the New York theater world.

 Our next show, Beardo, which we did some performances from at the Gala last night is a leap forward for us. It’s double the size of our previous production, in terms of budget.

What is it about Theater that keeps you coming back?With Pipeline we have a company that is designed to seek out things that seem impossible and or very difficult and then say – “Yes – Let’s figure out how to do that!”

 We’ve found this group of artists that are passionate about play and approach problems with a mentality of “this is neat! I don’t how to do this, yet!” What’s most important to me as an artist is work that pushes you outside of what you know how to do and I think that is and has become our mission as a company too.

 Let’s do stuff that’s only impossible, forever. And then make that sustainable.

Colby Day, photo by Zack DeZon

Colby Day, photo by Zack DeZon

Which looks like…
Who knows?! But Beardo is a big ole rock opera by Jason Craig & Dave Malloy. It’s beautiful, it’s about Rasputin, there’s a song about Wikipedia for some reason. And of course we’re all like – “YES! This is perfect, this is crazy.”

So I’m getting the key words to pitch Pipeline: Crazy, Impossible, Insane
HAHAH Impossible dreams…

That seems very much a part of the Pipeline DNA…
We like impossible dreams, we like magic, and we like make believe.

We want our audiences and artists to feel welcomed, to feel like we’re taking care of you, you’re a part of this thing that’s special.

 A lot of the time when we talk about a show we talk about what the experience feels like, what’s it like when they walk into the theater. What’s the lobby like? Is it a part of the show? Does it feel like the world you’re walking into? Everything we do is rooted in furthering the story.

As long as it makes you feel wonder and changes your heart some how…


Well that’s beautiful! Like I said, you’re a cloud and you just go about with an energy in the atmosphere for making people happy! Going around hugging people!
I literally do get to go into rooms and just hug everyone – which I like doing! People like getting hugs! Hi! I like you! You’re doing good!

It’s great!

Your ideal job!
I like incubating cool people with cool ideas…

That’s a business right there!
I’d love it if it were a business…it’s not…haha

It’s a start and you guys DO excel at the impossible!
I personally think everything you do should be about 10x harder than the last thing.

 It will or won’t work but so far it’s working nicely. We all have that mentality, let’s do something crazier and invest just as much!

 I will always love Pipeline because it’s a company that says YES to artists and it’s really hard to say yes to things in the arts. It’s great to have a company culture that says “yes, we love it, let’s figure out how to do that!”

Speaking of projects – tell me what’s new with Pipeline’s PlayLab?
Our PlayLab is a group of writers developing full shows – in it’s 3rd year. We started doing the Lab to get to spend a year with writers making new, exciting work they needed help with. Pipeline has those readings coming up in July, and we have our BIG MYSTERY SHOW (which I can’t talk about) one-night only in June.

Is this Lab a way for you guys to source new content?
We don’t look at it that way, it’s more of a “let’s invest a lot of time and energy into artists who are really great.” We spend a year reading their play and talking to them over coffee and brunches and meet once a month to read everyone’s pages. They write one acts, which we produce in our Matchstick Series and then they write full lengths that we do readings of in our Bonfire Series.

 A little fire and then a big ol’ fire!

 We’ve had 21 people go through it and they’re all doing crazy good stuff. There’s no limit to how successful everyone can be. The arts world is sometimes very protective – I need to hold onto you, you’re my asset – and our mentality is everyone should have you! Go succeed so much! And we think that’s cant POSSIBILY be bad news for us.

You don’t seem intimidated by anything.
Hahah not really. Go be a great artist everywhere with everyone! Go succeed! No one can be hurt by that happening…

 Anything else you’re up to?
I’m heading out to LA to finish post-production on a short film of mine, which will hopefully be online soon. It’s a scary movie, which I’ve never done before. I like challenges! And always writing new stuff.

 

And that’s the Colby Day magic I was talking about, folks. He’s up to some great things and he makes everyone feel great in the process. Who doesn’t want that in orbit around them!? Go get your fix!

Colby’s got some of the best tweets around, a super fun Facebook account and wonderful website. Check him out; I’ve almost made his Twitter account my homepage. Colby Day Tweets, Facebook, Website.

Don’t forget to check out Pipeline’s PlayLab Class of 2017! See how to apply and what to expect!

And to support Pipeline Theatre Company and their ambitious creativity, donate or attend! I’ve gone to the Gala before and its crazy amounts of fun as you can imagine – pencil it in for next year!

Photos by Zack DeZon.

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