Archive for August, 2008

David Fink and Kim Clark, the creative visionaries behind Three Oaks’ Acorn Theater.



          Kim Clark and David Fink are men of big dreams and even bigger actions. As the heart, soul, and creative minds behind the Acorn Theater they have been a big part of Three Oaks’ burgeoning arts renaissance. In its 5 years of existence the Acorn has quickly established itself as one of the most unique and innovative performance venues in the region. The dynamic duo has used the venue to push the creative and cultural envelopes of the small town consistently. “All creativity requires some kind of risk,” says Clark, the theater’s artistic director and co-owner. The former head of writing for Second City goes on to say “We try to be a hothouse for creative and new works at the Acorn and we try to bring a big world to a small town.” His business partner and the theater’s producer, David Fink, chimes in “People don’t expect to find this kind of big city culture in the middle of a corn field.”

            Since opening in 2003, Three Oaks’ Acorn Theater has brought an incredible range of diverse performances to the Michiana region. “We try to vary what we do so people can come over and over and not get bored,” says Fink. He is not exaggerating either. To date the venue has hosted jazz, folk, blues, rock, and world music concerts, vaudeville style performance artists, cabaret acts, plays, art showings, opera, and participatory theme based dance parties. Additionally, the venue hosts acting and art classes, a comedy camp for kids, a Thursday night video lounge, and has a well stocked bar and in house wine shop. It is more than just these happenings at the Acorn that makes it so special. Fink and Clark put an incredible amount of thought, time, intention, and money into both the rehab of the building and the design and construction of the theater.

            “We wanted to create a sanctuary for the arts, a place where artists of all kinds would have a unique platform to express ideas to an appreciative audience,” says Clark. It was this intention that led them to install performance friendly quiet air conditioning and silent heating. The acoustic design was also given careful consideration. These and countless other details helped give the Acorn a unique ambience that several performers consider among the best in the country. “Many of our performers tell us this is their favorite place to play,” says Fink. “Now it is to the point where people like Jefferson Starship are contacting us to play here.” It is easy to see why. The Acorn Theater is unpretentious yet classy. It is spacious yet intimate. Few people would have had the creative vision to see how an old dilapidated featherbone factory could be transformed into such a warm and inviting space. Clark and Fink had that vision, as well as the patience, passion, and dedication to back it up. Now the Acorn has a carefully cultivated and inspiring ambience that has endeared it to both performers and audience alike.

            “The great thing is the relationship we have cultivated with our audience,” says Fink. “They really trust us and might come see things they would not normally see just because they know we book good stuff.” He adds “ We also get thank you gifts and postcards at the theater from people who regularly come here.” “I think this theater fills a big space for a lot of people” explains Clark. The heartfelt appreciation of the Acorn audience is just one of many things that makes running the theater so rewarding for the two owners. When asked the best part of running the Acorn, Clark says “getting to know so many smart, interesting, and fun people”. Indeed the pair seem quite happy with the love, energy, time, and capital they have so heavily invested into the Acorn. Fink concludes “We feel lucky. We have front row seats to the best show ever, and it never stops.”