My name is Emil Thomas, I am the Executive Artistic Director of Marietta's New Theatre in the Square. In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, Founder/CEO Raul Thomas and I decided among many theatres across the country to close our doors as the threat of this virus sparked closures around the country. Like many of us, we hoped that closing first in support of social-distancing would shorten the time we would have to remain closed. And we still believe that our decision was made appropriately. The safety of our patrons is always our first priority. And in times like these, it is important that the community comes together to support small and local businesses. A majority of Marietta's New Theatre in the Square annual budget comes from tickets sells to our stage production. With the theatre shut down and the season on a halt, Marietta's only ethnic theatre playhouse is drastically taking a hit each week that the theatre remains closed. We recently have had to release our staff as the budget can no longer support the team and wait out the pandemic.
As a child, my father would always tell me and my brother "all we have is each other." in recent days I find myself repeating this very line to friends and neighbors near and far. Today I bring this to you. We need your help. This relief fund is in support of our employees in this current shut down. All funds raised will be distributed to the Marietta's New Theatre in the Square staff.
All we have is each other. I understand that now more than ever we are all minimizing our spending habits. If you can offer anything small or large and share this link with your social media accounts, I know that the strength of our communities can complete this goal.
Thank you for your support and I hope to see you when we reopen!
Founded in 2015, Marietta’s New Theatre in the Square was created when Raul Thomas acquired the historic building, originally called Theatre in the Square. Theatre in the Square had been a thriving nonprofit and the largest arts organization in Cobb County throughout the 1980’s and 90’s. In the early 2000’s, however, the theater fell into a funding crisis, and they closed their doors in 2012. This loss was a major blow to the community until Raul Thomas bravely took up the mantle of restoring the theater to its glory, with a new, contemporary set of ideals.
Raul Thomas founded MNTITS as a family enterprise, appointing his son, N. Emil Thomas, its artistic director. When the two set off to plan their first full season in 2016, it was imperative to the Thomases that they establish MNTITS as an artistic home for all Cobb county and greater Atlanta residents. This meant that the stories told on MNTITS stages had to reflect the communities they were attempting to serve. N. Emil Thomas has described his vision for the theatre by saying, “I am a Black man who will create theatre written by, starring and about Black people. I am a Puerto Rican man who will create theatre written by, starring and about Latin people. I am an American who will create theatre written by, starring and about Americans. I am a human who will create theatre written by, starring and about humans, regardless of their race, gender, sexual identity, religion, age, or disability.” When Raul Thomas greets patrons, as he regularly attends performances and makes a point to get to know his guests, he does not simply thank them for coming, he says, “Welcome Home.”
The patrons of MNTITS have been affected by the warmth of the Thomas’ personable investment and inclusivity initiatives. Since 2016, the theater has seen rapidly increasing attendance, selling out shows from Nambi Kelley’s adaptation of Native Son, to the smash musical hit In The Heights, to the southern classic Moonlight and Magnolias. In return, the Thomases have invested back in the community, offering playwright talkbacks, post-show celebrations, and charity drives. Raul Thomas has organized massive collection through MNTITS to provide aid to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and the 2020 earthquake. They have held drives for MUST Ministries. Since its inception, MNTITS has prioritized both the quality of theatre it stages, and the ways in which the success of that theatre can build a better community.
In 2019, MNTITS was given the Broadway World regional award for Theatre of the Year. N. Emil Thomas was awarded Best Director for his work on In the Heights, which itself was awarded Best Musical. They earned four additional awards honoring actors, choreographers, and designers.
- Carson Shearer
- Louisa Cruz-Acosta
- Andrea Ianzito
- Sarah Mannear
- Tony & Roz Tucker (CNWC)
Fundraising team: The MNTITS Family (4)
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