In the beginning stages of creating your own company, stress is often at its all time high. But as I sat down with Andy Lyberopoulos and Tatum Lee, co-founders of Tandum Entertainment, that’s not the sense I got at all. As owners of a burgeoning production company, the only things that exude from the two is positivity and the will to succeed in a business that is more often than not extremely difficult to thrive in.
“We just want to tell stories and when it all comes down to it we just want to inspire people,” says Lyberopoulos.
As two avid theatre lovers, Lyberopoulos (author of The Blood Mile) and Lee formed Tandum Entertainment in 2013 in order to tell stories that they believe are relevant to society, but more importantly will entertain audiences in Canada and abroad.
“We want to push social boundaries, remain trendy and on point,” Lee says when speaking about their company.
“We want to tackle social issues and use stories in creative ways to showcase that. We want our audience to be sitting in their seats and say, ‘Yes, I felt that or I feel that. I know somebody who has gone through that,'” explains Lyberopoulos.
Already, after only several minutes of chatting with the pair, one thing is evident; their partnership is about more than just business, it’s simply two friends who are intensely passionate about the performing arts and who believe in the importance and power of storytelling. Their camaraderie and playfulness is a joy to see.
“Andy and I, we both bring so much to our partnership. He’s so gifted with words that he can write dialogue for a scene that’s just beautiful. And for me, I see more the larger picture of a story,” Lee says.
Together, the two have formed the perfect collaboration and they’re thrilled to be working on their first venture together, a play titled State of Women. Originally written in 2011 as a screenplay and shelved by Lyberopoulos, he revisited the script in 2013 after speaking with Lee who had a compelling vision and insisted that the script be reworked for the stage.
“She came to me with her notes and a visual style of how to tell this story on stage and it got me so excited. And so, I went back to my writing cave and I punched out another script that was far superior,” Lyberopoulos says. “The whole process was exciting. We’re so excited for people to experience what we’ve got.”
Set in the 1940s’, State of Women is a WWII epic that focuses on a group of fun loving women working on the home front building war planes in San Francisco. The play focuses on Eve Landing and her relationship with the women she works with, and how during this time they were exploring their personal identity. At the same time men were returning home from war to find their wives were not the same. It’s also about a magazine mogul who is losing his company and needs to find his next big story in order to save it. He sees a photograph of Eve working in the factory, and subsequently the play focuses on how that one photograph propels her to fame and changes her life, as well as the lives of women across America.
But the play is about more than just the war and working in the factories, it explores the many types of relationships people share; relationships between man and wife, friends, and those we love but can never be with.
Lyberopoulos and Lee are also confident that the theme and underlying social issues of the play will resonate with audiences.
“I think that this play shows how far we’ve come as a society. It shows the beginning of change for women and I think that it’s good to remember things like that. These women were so strong to survive such a flip in their day to day life,” says Lee.
With the script complete and all of the tools in order to finance the play, the duo are eager to enter the pre-production phase of the play at the beginning of January 2015 as it is set to hit the stage in May 2015 as a preview for further investment.
With our chat coming to an end, one thing is obvious, Lyberopoulos and Lee share an enthusiasm for life and art that will not go unnoticed. Paired with their motivation for success, they will surely be entertaining theatre goers for years to come.
“We just want to invite anyone on board that really shares our vision and wants to be a part of something great and exciting,” says Lyberopoulos. “There’s lots headed your way.”