Episode 194

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Published on:

11th May 2022

Billy Estes

Billy Estes is the executive director of the historic Midwest Theater and of the Midwest Skyview Drive-in Theater in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. We talk about the historic theater and its role in the community during COVID, Billy’s love for the arts and the creative spark of Burning Man, entrepreneurship and his other life as a farmer, and much more.

Billy Estes has been part of the Friends of the Midwest Theater team for 21 years starting as a technician and projectionist until he became Executive Director in 2013. Since then, he has managed three capital campaigns and is now in the middle of a major Marquee restoration project due to be completed Fall of 2022. These major projects total $1.4 million in work and fundraising. During COVID-19 Billy was responsible for pivoting the organization, offering a free pop-up outdoor screening. This has led to the opening of a permanent drive-in theater, The SkyView. When Billy is not at the theater he enjoys spending time on the tractor tending to crops on his organic farm near Bayard, NE with his partner Jonathan. They grow hay, corn and over 80 types of pumpkins and squash offered via a u-pick pumpkin patch in the Fall.

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About the Podcast

Lives Radio Show & Podcast with Stuart Chittenden
Coming July 3 and then every Sunday at KIOS 91.5FM on Omaha's NPR affiliate, Season Three of Lives will tackle the big questions: What is a good life? Why are we here? How might we feel more connected? These and other big questions about how we live will be explored each week. Through intimate conversations, fascinating guests will share their spiritual, philosophical, artistic, and cultural approaches to exploring the wonders of our human experience. Join me as we delve into the practical and profound possibilities of living well.

While you wait for this new chapter of Lives to air, listen back to Seasons One and Two, featuring fresh voices and diverse perspectives on culture, community, business, and more. From the Midwest and beyond, fascinating guests share compelling stories spanning the fields of politics, business, media, community activism, arts and humanities, philanthropy, and more.

On air since January 2017, Lives Radio Show & Podcast initially broadcast on the community radio station Mind & Soul 101.3FM in north Omaha, housed at the Malcolm X Center, and more recently broadcast with 1st Sky Omaha.

About your host

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stuart chittenden

I believe that conversation enables us to live better and work well by building strong relationships as individuals, teams, and communities.

Driven by that belief, I founded Squishtalks to design and deliver conversation experiences and programs for small to Fortune 500 corporate clients and for a variety of non-profit organizations. I regularly speak and facilitate workshops on the principles of conversation and how their practice enlivens our potential. My belief in the profound power of conversation to awaken our humanity has led to me being selected to speak at three different TEDx events.

I am a British expatriate calling Omaha, Nebraska home since 2004. Before moving to America, I was a London-based lawyer working on major international transactions. In Omaha, as well as founding Squishtalks, I co-founded Gilbert+Chittenden with creativity expert Dan Gilbert, which is a creativity consultancy that helps individuals and organizations realize their best futures and apply design thinking processes to achieve innovative breakthroughs.

Among my community endeavors was the project: a couple of 830 mile long conversations. Inspired by John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley, in an RV I adventured for four weeks along side roads and among small towns to talk with Nebraskans. Traveling through conversations, discovering the lives, cultures and stories of people I met, the project was a long hello to Nebraska.