Artist takes audiences outdoors, offering kinship with trees

Mik Kuhlman’s latest work, “The Standing Nation,” is a site-specific, outdoor performance.

Vashon performing artist Mik Kuhlman is at it again — developing a new theater piece in relation to current events.

Kuhlman’s latest offering to islanders, “The Standing Nation,” is a site-specific, outdoor performance by Kuhlman which she said she hopes will remind its audience members of their kinship with trees.

The one-hour show will have performances at 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 6 and 7, outdoors under the full shade capony of a historic landmark tree on Vashon. The show is intended as an intimate experience, with limited tickets sold only to audience members who book tickets in advance and receive instructions about the exact location of the performance.

“Standing Nation” is a flexible outdoor theater experience designed to suit a number of presenters and purposes, according to Kuhlman.

The event, she said, can be staged at private homes, and is also intended for use by groups throughout the Northwest that are tackling conservation, envioronmental, outdoor education and land trust work in their communities.

“With the climate crisis now at our feet, I am determined to do my part as an artist, to lean in and help mitigate the realities before us,” she said. “And trees, our partners in breath, have a bittersweet existence with humans right now. It’s time we all remember how to listen.”

In May, the show first performed on Vashon as part of Vashon Reperatory Theatre’s second season, with the support of community partners including Vashon-Maury Land Trust, Vashon-Maury Landmark Trees, Vashon Wilderness Program and Vashon Green School.

Kuhlman’s work, over the years, has been made possible through close collaborations with other artists, including Patricia Toovey, who designs costumes and other visuals, and Sally Sykes Wylie, a movement artist.

With these collaborators, Kuhlman has recently presented numerous COVID street theater responses on Vashon, and other productions including “House #30” and “Shadows: A Live Art Installation.”

New collaborators include writer Tess Clark, director Samantha Sherman and sound designer and musician, Max Sarkowsky. Other production team members include Tami Stone, Jill Bulow and Phoebe Ray. For reservations to “Standing Nation” performances on Aug. 6 and 7, email more information or to support the project, visit