Hello dear reader,
It is so surreal to think our milestone Season 3 is nearly behind us. Our mentorship, and 501(c)(3) Comprehensive Corporate Sponsorship with the Celebration Barn Theater has been not only exciting but filled with immeasurable moments of growth, anxiety, joy, frustration, pure excitement, and unbelievable amount of love and laughter. It has been a spectacular journey exploring with artists between the ages of 5-67 to further understand who we are as Theater Ensemble of Color (TEoC) and what our mission and work is going to be in our communities. The Others, and Lived Experiences, all proved successful at the Box Office and received glowing responses from our audiences and the press.
This year we launched our monthly newsletter, we continue to teach K-12 throughout the state, our social media platforms continue to grow, we became an organization with a paid staff person, we collaborated with over thirty local artists and organizations, we served over 2000 community members, our donor base continues to expand and our fourth season auditions are looking to be very well attended. As you can imagine, this thrills me, especially since Season 4 looks like it is going to be a season of incredible depth in work, and one of a kind artist professional development offered.
Bridgette Kelly (Community Showcase Coordinator), Christina W. Richardson (Treasurer), Ella Mock (Media Liaison), Jenny Michaud (Marketing Manager), Nicolas Schroeder (Fundraising Committee Chair), Nicole Mokeme (Education Director) and I, are confident we will lead the company with skill, flair, tact, thoughtfulness, an inclusive and representative nature, and imagination. I cannot think of a better group of creators to continue to create with. This kind of support is much appreciated and tells us that we are on the right track to being a company that truly values diversity, inclusion and representation for all.
The announcement of the upcoming season is exciting, there are so many new question to think of. Will my choices appeal to our existing audiences? Will the selections attract new audiences? Will actors clamour for parts? Will directors jump at the chance to bring the scripts to life? Will those who work behind the scenes want to spend their time and energy on these productions? Is anyone else as excited about this as I am? I certainly hope so!
The plays that make up our 4th season (a one hundred year old play, a original script about Maine’s unknown black history, and several community shows) are a combination of interests and questions I have been mulling over, about Maine for decades. The new season opens on January 11th with Rachel by Angelina Weld Grimke, which will play until January 21st. A three-act play that depicts an educated and sensitive young woman who comes into an understanding of the realities of American racism. For the first production of the play, in 1920, the program read: "This is the first attempt to use the stage for race propaganda in order to enlighten the American people relative to the lamentable condition of the millions of Colored citizens in this free republic."
The second play is actually a series, with four shows at the end of each month, of originally devised work that is coming out of the professional development track from February to May 2018. These shows will be a representation of the work created within that month by the performers.
The third production, A Meal for Malaga, running July 2018 is a glorious original TEoC script diving into what might have happened off the coast of Maine, near Brunswick, in one of the largest mixed race communities in the country, when their residents were forcibly removed from their homes by the Governor. It was first workshopped in front of an audience in 2016.
I hope very much you will enjoy the plays we are offering this season. All of Theater Ensemble of Color’s productions are immensely grateful for your ongoing support and encouragement and I look forward to seeing you at our next event.
René Goddess Johnson
Interviews and information on artistic happenings in Portland, maine