CSU alumna Laura Pritchett’s play, ‘Dirt, A Terra Nova Expedition,’ to open at Bas Bleu Thursday

Maddie Wright

Collegian file photo

Bas Bleu’s newest play dishes the dirt on dirt.

“Dirt, A Terra Nova Expedition,” a play written by CSU alum Laura Pritchett, follows the history and predicts the future of dirt. It will be showcased at Bas Bleu, a Fort Collins theatre company, from April 5 to May 6.


This will be the first time the play is ever performed for an audience. It features stories about things that happen and have happened involving dirt, including the dust bowl, climate change, chemicals, tree root microbes, nematodes, myths and future science. Pretty much anything anyone would ever be curious about involving the history and future of dirt will be in this show.

Pritchett is an author from a small ranch in northern Colorado. Her work often surrounds the natural world. She has won multiple national literary awards for her five novels.

Writing a play that Bas Bleu is describing as the centerpiece of their 26th season was a new experience for Pritchett.

“As a novelist, I’m used to working alone (and then with an editor),” Pritchett said in an interview with Bas Bleu. “That is a very solitary experience, by necessity. This is a whole different beast, and I can’t wait to see what people do — everyone from the actors to dancers to lighting to set to directing.”

“Dirt, A Terra Nova Expedition”

Where: Bas Bleu

When: April 5 through May 6

In addition to the show, there will be talkback events throughout the shows running at Bas Bleu. The first is on April 8 and will feature soil and climate scientists, titled “Cutting Edge Soil Science: What’s Up for the Future?”

The second, titled “Soil under those fingernails?”, is on April 19 and features local community-supported agriculture and farmers discussing locally grown food and history. 

The last talkback will be on April 26 and features Dr. Diana Wall from the School of Global Environmental Sustainability and Biology Department, Andre Franco from the Biology Department; Dr. Suellen Melzer from the Soil and Crop Science Department and Dr. Pankaj Trivedi from the Bioagricultural Science and Pest Management Department. This talkback is called “Life in Unexpected Places: Exploring the world beneath our feet.” 

Basically, the play examines the history and the future of the six inches of material that saves us from oblivion,” Laura Pritchett, author of “Dirt, A Terra Nova Expedition”

This play was commissioned by Bas Bleu. The local theatre company described it in a press release as “an ambitious multi-sensory exploration of survival, soil science, and environmental stewardship.”

“Basically, the play examines the history and the future of the six inches of material that saves us from oblivion,” Pritchett said in an interview with Bas Bleu.

Collegian reporter Maddie Wright can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @maddierwright.