Tim Bernhardt: Dairy Farmer and Theater Director Extraordinaire
Dairy farmers are known for working hard to make sure consumers have access to healthy, wholesome dairy products. They put so much passion into their farms every day to ensure their animals are taken care of and that all of the work that needs to be done, gets done. Their hard working nature and passion tends to stretch beyond the farm and branch into the other activities they participate in – so what happens when a dairy farmer brings that passion to a community theater?
Western Dairy Association Board Treasurer Tim Bernhardt is the current president of the Windsor Community Playhouse, a theater in Windsor, Colo. that provides an exciting mix of humorous comedy, intriguing drama, melodical musicals, whimsical children’s shows and festive holiday shows. The theater is a family-oriented facility that produces several top-notch plays each year.
Bernhardt hasn’t always been into theater – in fact, Bernhardt’s wife, Mena, was involved in the theater before he was, and had to keep pushing him to get involved. Finally, in 1996, after a final request for help from his wife’s friend, Bernhardt decided to give it a shot. The playhouse was putting on a production of Paint your Wagon at the time, which is a musical that was turned into a movie starring Clint Eastwood.
Bernhardt started out helping out on the sets – and much like what he does on his farm – he stepped in whenever anything needed to be done. One thing lead to another, and he eventually took up acting and directing. He has directed sixteen plays to date, and has acted in fourteen. In addition to his current role as president of the playhouse, Bernhardt has also held the positions of treasurer and vice president – but directing is his favorite part of being involved with the theater.
“My favorite play to direct so far has been Nunsense,” says Bernhardt. “It’s a musical comedy, and it was so fun to direct.”
Bernhardt explained that Nunsense is about a cook who feeds nuns poisoned soup and has to keep the bodies in a freezer, until they can raise enough money to bury the rest by selling greeting cards.
Another highlight for Bernhardt’s theater career is getting to participate in American Association of Community Theater (AACT) Fest, which he has been doing since 2009. AACT Fest is a celebration of theatre and a learning experience for those who take part. Community theaters from AACT’s 10 regions enter productions for adjudication and advancement from state to regional to national level. Bernhardt describes his participation in the festivals as a great experience where he gets to meet great people.
Bernhardt had the honor this year of directing, Lighthouse, by William Baer, in its community theater debut. The playhouse received a special award from AACT to produce Lighthouse as a new play work. Because of this, the Windsor Community Playhouse hosted Mr. Baer, as well as a representative from AACT for a showing of the play. So on top of directing it, Bernhardt was able to meet the writer and put on a production of his own play for him to see.
“It was such a great experience because we had the support and recognition from the community,” Bernhardt said of Lighthouse. “It’s a touching play about life and I had a great cast and have only heard positive comments about it. I thank William Baer and the AACT for all the support they gave us for this production.”
Berry Bartram, who played the male lead in Lighthouse, has only kind things to say about Bernhardt, emphasizing that Bernhardt is a straightforward, honest and remarkable individual who is a great person to know and work under.
“He is very diverse individual – for him to be a director and be able to do set design and act is just amazing,” said Bartram. “I think it’s very commendable that he is able to maintain his farm and do something that requires so much time and passion.”
And passion is something that Bernhardt exudes. Without it, he wouldn’t be able to run his 900 cow dairy in addition to all of his dedication to the theater. From the dairy farm to the theater, he is truly an incredible person.