Portland Theatre Brigade

I am super excited about the Portland Theatre Brigade. I just joined them as Managing Director (very part-time for the fledgling organization), one of two new staffers. Jennifer Lanier has also joined the staff as East Brigade Director and Touring Manager. Adrienne Flagg, who also serves as Creative Director at the IFCC, is the PTB Artistic Director. Along with the Board of Directors, we’ve begun this year with a blast, having just finished casting this year’s company of 40 young actors/creators.

I was a young theatre geek back in the day. I studied early on at Beck Center for the Arts, a community theater in Lakewood, OH. From there I was empowered to do high school plays and a college tv show, on and on. Theatre unlocked in me this incredible passion and confidence. I truly believe it was a guiding force that continues to allow me to do the things I do, all of which I hope is always giving back to community.

The wonderful thing about PTB, is that the youth are empowered to take on a lot of the control and responsibility. We have student stage managers and they young actors choose the stories and write the plays that they want to perform. The training is based on the work of Viola Spolin, the fairy godmother of improvisation and games in theatre. The beauty of being Spolin-based, is that the young actors are encouraged to be generous, curious, open-minded and ensemble-centered. We’re working with the kids to encourage them to be good humans in how they interact in rehearsal and onstage, which follows that they also become great performers.

We have a couple of students that need some additional help with tuition. If you’re reading this and feel like you’d like to contribute, just let me know at toni [at] theatrebrigade.org. Here’s a letter we sent last week:

This weekend we’d like to offer you a very easy way to make a very big difference.

Theatre Brigade is enrolling now a fabulous group of new students for the upcoming season. We are very excited about the talent and diversity of these young people and we know they will be putting on a great show for the Portland community next spring.

But this year we also have an large number of very deserving children who’s families need some extra help paying tuition. Some of these parents are in exceedingly difficult circumstances, but they are dedicated to their children and desparately want them to have this opporunity.

Our scholarship fund is simply not adequate to meet the need – yet we can not bear to have to turn any of these children away. You can help.

Your donation of any amount, if made this weekend, will go directly to scholarship funding for this year’s students, allowing you to create an immediate impact in this community.

As little as $5 will help us help these children experience the benefits of Portland Brigade Membership.

$15 pays for one week of Brigade
$66 pays for one month
$285 provides one standard partial scholarship
$600 allows a poverty-affected child to participate for the full year

These children can not wait for the economy to improve. But you don’t have to have a lot to spare to be able to make a big difference in their lives. Please help today in whatever way you can.

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