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Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr.'s Fundraiser

Civic Ensemble's Capacity Building Campaign











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I know it may be obvious why Civic Ensemble is important to me, as I am Artistic Director. However, we are about to embark on an exciting endeavor in the next year and I want to share it with you -- it may represent another reason to donate.

One of the core impulses behind starting Civic Ensemble revolved around the lack of opportunities for playwrights to see their work produced. Through conversations with dozens of our finest playwrights, as well as reading TDF's trailblazing study of new play development in the U.S., Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Times of the New American Play, we found that playwrights needed three things: a yearly salary, to be a core part of a theater's community, and productions.

We are a three-year-old company, so we had to take stock of what we could afford to work toward. We know we can't afford a yearly salary for anyone right now, but we can make playwrights a larger part of our community and we can produce their plays without putting them through development hell. So we are announcing the Civic Playwrights Residency (CPR).

Civic will appoint 3 playwrights to an 18-month residency in which each playwright will write a socially-relevant play that Civic will produce. These playwrights will meet as a cohort 3-4 times over the course of their residency to provide support for each other, hear each other's work, and help design the other activities of the residency. These playwrights will also be actively engaged in one of our signature community development programs, such as the Community-Based Play, the Living Newspaper, or the ReEntry Theatre Program.

More details are coming in the next year, including the playwrights that will make up the first two cohorts, but it's really that simple. We don't want to just commission or develop the next great issue-driven play, we want to produce it. So please think about donating to Civic Ensemble in support of the Civic Playwright Residency as well as our other innovative programs. Help us make Civic a place where playwrights feel at home.



About this Campaign

Civic Ensemble's Capacity Building Campaign

Theatre is Everyone's Birthright.

Civic Ensemble programs and productions have reached thousands of participants, artists, and audience members in Tompkins County and beyond since the company was founded three and half years ago. There's a lot we can say about the impact Civic is having in our community, but we thought we'd share what others are saying about working with us and seeing our work...

Participant in the ReEntry Theatre Program:

The reentry program has changed the way I think and it has made me want to get more out of life. The program has given me strength to overcome my obstacles of being a felon. Thanks to the reentry program I have more faith in myself and I was able to use the things I learned to get a job. I am very grateful that I was introduced to this program.

Audience Member for 2015 Community-Based Play On the Corner:

One of the most moving productions I've seen since moving back to Ithaca. We are truly blessed to have Civic Ensemble here with us.

Participant in a Civic Ensemble Workshop:

I feel more confident in joining my voice with the voices of others. I am proud of our creative, courageous community.

When you support Civic Ensemble you support theatre programming that reaches people in our community who do not traditionally get to participate in theatre. Whether that's a local actor who hasn't had the opportunity to perform, a playwright whose work has yet to be championed, or a cashier at the local grocery who's never done a play before. When we say Theatre is Everyone's Birthright, we mean that the arts are for everyone and should be an integral part of all of our lives. When we include everyone in the arts we make discoveries about ourselves and our world we would not have made otherwise.

Now is the perfect time to show your support for Civic Ensemble's work.

There are many non-profits doing great work in Tompkins County. We at Civic Ensemble would be honored to get your donation this year.

Thank you,
Civic Ensemble Team

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About the Organization

Civic Ensemble creates theatre that explores and explodes the social, political, and cultural issues of our time. We bring audiences of different races, classes, and experiences together in a public forum on the American experiment. We do this through affordable productions and workshops of new plays by or about women and people of color; productions of plays developed and performed by community members; programs that use theatre as a tool for personal growth, professional development, or community organizing; and productions of classic plays re-imagined for a contemporary audience to deal with contemporary issues.

WHY? Because we believe that theatre is everyone's birthright...onstage or off.

Civic Ensemble was founded in 2012 by three professional actors and theatre educators: Sarah K. Chalmers, Jennifer Herzog, and Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr.