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Sierra grad finds out theres no business like show business
Sierra high alumnus and director Carl Lindberg talks about his new production company. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Carl Lindberg would be the first to admit that his foray into the world of performance theater began with the desire to get a better grade in his speech class.

But now a decade removed from Sierra High School, Lindberg – who received his undergraduate degree from California State University at Stanislaus as well as his Master of Fine Arts in theater and directing – has since dedicated his entire life to not only the preservation of theater and live performing, but doing everything he can to share his passion with all of those who are willing to listen.

And now he’s launched his own production company that he hopes will continue the career that he both loves and cherishes and wishes to spread to even more people.

“I think that maybe five percent of Americans will make it out to a live theater performance this year – there’s just so much going on in the world and it’s not like the days of Shakespeare and the Greeks,” Lindberg said. “But if through your performance or your work you can touch just one person, and that person can tell two people, then things can really start to happen.”

The Sierra High graduate first got involved when he was approached by then drama and speech teacher Robin Walker – who jokingly told Lindberg that he’d get a better grade in the speech portion of the class of he got involved with the school’s performance theater.

Little did he know he would form a friendship with fellow student Tim Clark that would solidify into not just a lasting bond, but also an acting troupe that would each make one another better.

“I don’t know if it’s still like that today, but then there was this sense that those were the ‘drama kids’ and they were kind of the loners and kept to themselves.” Lindberg said. “That might have been true in some cases, but that really wasn’t the case across the board and it gave people a chance to meet new and different people that you wouldn’t otherwise know.”

The road to Chased By an Elephant Theater Company after spending several years in the Midwest – settling in Illinois and Minnesota to name a few – Lindberg cut his teeth in everything from directing to costume design.

It was there as a contracted employee that he would follow-up phone calls to theater guests thanking them for their attendance at the performance allowing him to see how the business worked from both ends of the spectrum.
And it just so happened that one of those phone calls sparked a fire inside him that made the drab hang-ups all worthwhile.

It was when Lindberg contacted a construction worker – who at first seemed uninterested but then stepped away from the heavy machinery so he could have a conversation – that reinforced his realization that what happens on stage actually can touch people.

While the gentleman was only taking a lady out on a date, it was Lindberg’s role – as a true-to-life brother during a performance at the Commonweal Theater Company – that had kept him thinking about the role he had played for weeks after leaving the performance.

“Here was a guy who admitted that he only came to impress a girl he was dating, and it was something that struck him,” Lindberg said. “As an actor on stage that is the kind of performance you want to give, and that’s the best compliment you can receive.”

His time at Stanislaus State would also prove to be productive. Learning from the husband and wife team of Jere and Patty O’Donnell and realizing that this was more to him than just a hobby.

The self-proclaimed “perfectionist” said that he poured himself into every role and every task, and soaked up as much knowledge as possible during his formative years when he could find work  regardless of location.

Given his experience in almost all aspects of theater, Lindberg finally decided to take the plunge himself by launching Chased By An Elephant – which will feature a world premier production written by Jayme McGhan – in a territory he has grown quite familiar with.

Preparations for “The Sweet Stuff” are now underway, and will continue until the show kicks off on June 15 in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Additional shows are expected to begin in Twin Cities, Minnesota on July 8, and wrap up in Chicago at the Gorilla Tango Theater with a run beginning on July 22.

“To take a little bit from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ it’s really like being the man behind the curtain,” Lindberg said of the work that goes into putting on a production let alone launching a company from the ground up. “You have to find the actors that really do portray the characters in the written part, and make sure that everything is going as planned. It’s going to be an experience, and there’s going to be a learning curve, but it’s something I’m looking forward to.”

The Chased by an Elephant theater company can be reached on Facebook at, and Twitter at