Culture Corner: A Guide to Cultural Organizations of Tacoma – Aug. 11-17


“The Other Country”
Aug. 11, 7 p.m.; Aug. 12, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Aug 13, 2 p.m., Foss Waterway Seaport, 705 Dock St.

Gretchen Boyt portrays Thea Foss in this weekend’s production of “The Other Country,” a telling of the story of a female Norwegian immigrant who founded a major maritime company on the waters of Commencement Bay. Photo by Nancy Bourne Haley

A reminder that an important reenactment of Tacoma history is happening this weekend.

“The Other Country” is a community-based event for all ages, placing the memorable Thea Foss story squarely in its original and authentic setting, both inside and outside the dynamic and historic Foss Waterway Seaport, with four shows running Aug. 11-13.

The award-winning 2006 documentary film “Finding Thea” inspired Kristin Lyhman in Skipvet, Norway to write and produce this moving treatment of Foss’s story with her theatre company Nes Lenseteater (2015). It seems natural and fitting that our region should produce her play, “Det Andre Landet,” translated into English by Janet Ruud and Kari Nellia Groven, here in Tacoma.

Spanning from 1880-1927, “The Other Country” tells of Thea’s humble beginnings in Norway, her marriage to Andrew Foss, and her family’s subsequent immigration to the United States. Once settled in Tacoma, this practical and determined woman began a small Puget Sound boat business.

Due to Thea’s tenacity and business acumen, and with the help of her husband and children, this eventually became the famous Foss Maritime Company, which continues to thrive today.

A diverse company has been cast of 22 local actors and singers of multiple ages and local cultures and heritages, reflective of the “immigrants from many countries” referenced by Thea in her letters home, accompanied by two area musicians. “The Other Country,” produced by Nancy Bourne Haley, will be co-directed by Marilyn Bennett and Suzy Willhoft, artistic directors of the independent theatre companies Toy Boat Theatre and Found Space Productions, musically directed by Debbie Birkey and with costumes by Alex Lewington.

Production made possible with gifts from funders and collaborators: Foss Waterway Seaport, Pacific Lutheran University Scandinavian Cultural Center, University of Puget Sound Theatre Department, Foss Maritime Company, Florence Kilworth Foundation, Gottfried & Mary Fuchs Foundation, Tacoma Arts Commission, Bayview Partners, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Sons of Norway Foundation, Tacoma Historical Society, various Daughters of Norway lodges, and many kind individuals.


Asian Film Fest
Aug. 11-12

Don’t forget that the Lakewood Asian Film Festival is running this weekend at Pierce College. Five great movies will be showing over the three days. Aug. 11, 7 p.m. – “Bridge on the River Kwai,” Aug. 12, 2 p.m. – “Rabbit Proof Fence,” Aug. 12, 7 p.m. – “Airlift,” Aug. 13, 2 p.m. – “Like Father, Like Son” and Aug. 13, 7 p.m. – “Neerja.” It will be held at Pierce College, Fort Steilacoom campus, Cascade Building, fourth floor. Admission and parking are free. Seating is on a first come basis. For further information, visit

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