Southwest Scene Works at the Orpheum

Homewise’s first post-renovation event at the Orpheum Community Hub was hosted by Rebekah Wiggins. She’s an actress, producer, former resident of the Orpheum, and owner of Southwest Scene Works, a training program for actors in the state of New Mexico. I sat down with her before her class began to talk a little bit about Southwest Scene Works and her experience living at the Orpheum.

Tell me a little about yourself and what type of projects you are currently working on.

I am a fifth generation New Mexican and artist. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for the last 4 years, but I come back to Albuquerque often to teach this specific acting technic called Chubbuck, which was created by Ivana Chubbuck and has trained award winning actors such as Brad Pitt and Halle Barry. It combines Stanislavski (an acting method created by Russian theater practitioner Constantin Stanislavski) and psycho-analytical principals using substitutions from your own life, which can be very healing. I’ll be directing my first feature film titled The Great Divide and it will start shooting in August. I’ve been writing a lot, specifically I wrote a female-driven gothic western titled Savage Lot which was a second-rounder at the Austin Film Festival in 2018 and a finalist at the Creative World Awards screenwriting contest. I’m currently trying to pitch it in LA. I’ve been very busy.

Tell us about Southwest Scene Works.

I was a working actress for over a decade in New Mexico so I decided to get certified for the Chubbuck Acting technique. There was a lack of consistent acting classes available in New Mexico and I wanted the actors to have the opportunity for consistent acting classes. I thought we could have the same amount of talent that exists in LA with quality training opportunities in New Mexico on a regular basis. I’ve been teaching for 4 years now and I’ve gained a lot of contacts and I’ve opened great, creative film making doors since I’ve been teaching acting classes.

I understand you used to live in the Orpheum. When did you live here and what was your experience like?

I lived in the Orpheum from 2008 to 2013 and I actually lived in two different apartments. My experience living here was incredible and I would want to live here again if I moved back to New Mexico. It’s a gorgeous location and it was eco-friendly, with composting and gardens. Courtney’s (Orpheum Community Hub Manager) vision for this space has always been forward thinking with little resources to do so. It was a community of artists and they were fun and quirky covering every medium from animation to photography and pottery and I felt fed by all of the other artists that lived here. Living here also provided financial security because the cost of renting was low and I could continue my artistic endeavors. I even shot a dozen short films and some of them were award winning, a web series, and my first feature film all while living here.

How does it feel to be back to the “new” Orpheum?

It sounds cheesy, but it feels like coming home. I grew up here as an artist in my 20’s and coming back here in my 30’s I feel like I’m coming back home. The space has heart and people connect to it. The experiences and the dreams that were made possible by this space and the use of this space as a springboard is incredible. It draws creatives and everyone wants to support each other. It’s always been a magic creative hub. Now with more resources, it can do more and I’m thankful to Homewise for allowing the community to use this space.

About the Author:
Picture of Monica Bencomo

Monica Bencomo

Community Development Coordinator

Learn more about Rebekah Wiggins and about Southwest Scene Works

Southwest based acting school for the inspired artist.