Growing Our Own Gardens: Out and Back Again

Co-directed by Jessica Hale with Matthew Cumbie, Out and Back Again connects LGBTQ+ artists, community members, and organizations of NW Arkansas to explore notions of home, communal care, and what it means for queer people who leave and return to the places they were raised (or for those who stay). Over the span of nine months, the creative team gathered to research and move through these ideas in rehearsals, over Zoom calls, and with a larger cast of community performers through a series of community workshops. Growing Our Own Gardens: Out and Back Again premiered at The Medium in Springdale, AR, on May 26 and 27, 2023. 

Creative Team

Jessica Hale & Matthew Cumbie, co-directors and performers

Tara Baker, graphic design

Dana Doughty, costume design

Roma Flowers, projection design

Mary Forrest, stage manager

Matthew McMillan, sound design

Stowe Nelson, sound research and support

Logan Starkey, box office associate and community performer

RumWolf, lighting design and installation artist

Lyle Oberman, collaborating artist

Sam Trombly, collaborating artist

Blake Worthey, collaborating artist

Jade Zickefoose, collaborating artist

Collette Bliss, community performer

Anna Castleman, community performer

Allison Griffin, community performer

Liv Lynch, community performer

This project was supported by the Creative Exchange Fund (CXF) by Creative Arkansas Community Hub & Exchange. CXF is presented at The Medium in partnership with the Tyson Family Foundation. To learn more, visit We are also grateful to the many individuals who offered their support, and especially to Brock Thompson for contributing so much to our research and to a larger understanding of queer history in Arkansas.