Maridee Slater, Artistic Director
Maridee Slater is a world, story and person-builder. Sometimes she makes with her hands (as a painter, carpenter, and welder), sometimes with her head (as a director and arts administrator), sometimes with her body (as a choreographer and dancer), and often by encouraging, prodding, and cheerleading others to realize their creative potential. Always, she makes with her heart and an unstoppable enthusiasm — she has mountains of it. Maridee holds an MFA in Directing from Columbia University, and BFAs in Acting/DIrecting and Technical Design from Colorado Mesa University. During the 2016 election, she was a Visiting Associate Professor of Theater in Colorado, which reignited a passion for social discourse and community building. Maridee has taught at Drew University, the University of Washington, Cornish College of the Arts, Marymount Manhattan College, among others. She was Technical Director and resident designer for Horace Greeley High School in 2018/2019. Since 2013, she has taught Creating Original Theatre for the High School Summer Immersive Program at Columbia University. In 2015, she received a Shubert Foundation Scholarship to assist in the development workshop for Waitress: The Musical and Blackout: House. She has worked with myriad companies in the US and Europe, including Intiman, Seattle Rep (where she was a carpenter and welder for over 35 shows, including Shrek on Broadway), The Guggenheim, SITI Company, Tectonic Theater Project, Seattle International Children’s Festival, Ontreoerend Goed from Belgium, Chashama Times Square, The Bushwick Starr, Degenerate Art Ensemble, P3 East, and Barn Arts.
Lela Olson, Managing Director
Lela Olson is a leader, educator, and actor. Working as Blue Water Theatre Company’s Managing Director is the perfect way for her to unite these roles while continuing to serve youth. She has worked as a teacher, teacher leader, and administrator in the field of education for over 20 years. Lela earned bachelor’s degrees in Elementary Education and Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing at Augustana University in Sioux Falls. She earned a master’s degree in Educational Policy and Administration and a PhD in Work and Human Resource Education while attending the University of Minnesota. Lela served on the Minnesota Boychoir’s Board of Directors and led its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. She is a trained mediator. No matter what the role, her focus is on helping people and organizations learn, grow, and thrive. Acting tops the list of Lela’s favorite pastimes. Her first role was in Carousel when she was in 5th grade, and she’s been acting ever since! Being active in theater arts while growing up taught Lela about teamwork, taking risks, and overcoming obstacles. It also built confidence and was the source of great friendships. As an adult, Lela works with several theatres in the area including The Phipps, Lyric Arts, Century College, Lakeshore Players, and Black Dirt Theater. In addition to acting in her spare time, Lela loves to travel internationally. Her favorite destinations are Egypt, Italy, and Peru. She lives near downtown St. Paul and enjoys concerts in Mears Park and regular trips to the farmer’s market.