Perisphere Theater's First Show

Help Perisphere Theater launch its very first season! Since 2014, when I officially founded the company, I’ve been working to build a small theater that will fill a crucial niche for the Washington, D.C., area.  

Through the assistance of our committed board members and the generous advice of others in the local theater scene, I’ve been able to set up this company, clarify its mission, and gain 501(c)(3) nonprofit status in time to launch a two-show season in 2016. 

This city has many great theaters, but I felt there was a place for a theater that presents the best-written plays from all eras that speak to a distinctive time, place, or people, with one play every season focused on history. I believe that the primal appeal of stories makes them the way we best understand one another and the world. Check out our mission and values statements

What makes Perisphere Theater different? It is committed to 

·  Holding open auditions regularly and minimizing pre-casting to provide opportunities for many artists to work with the company. 

·  Giving primarily nonunion artists and technicians a forum to create theater of excellent quality comparable to that of the Equity theaters.

·  Making available roles and outreach that reflect the diversity of our city and our nation.

·  Planning, budgeting, and fundraising in a business-appropriate way that ensures the company’s growth and professionalism. 

Our First Show
We’re starting with “Oleanna,” David Mamet’s incendiary exploration of power and perception. This play concerns Carol, a struggling college student who visits her professor’s office to talk about her grade. By the second act, the complaint Carol has filed and John’s response to it escalate into increasingly volatile attempts by the two characters to reconcile their points of view. We’ll be producing it at the Trinidad Theatre–
Logan Fringe Arts Space black box on Florida Ave. NE,  close to the H Street corridor. 

Why now? This play was written in 1992, but it might as well have been yesterday. As universities across the nation are encountering a huge disconnect between students and professors or administrators, the questions this play raises about power and perception could not be more relevant. Plus, it’s just plain great writing and a wonderful piece for performers to sink their teeth into!  

Education and Outreach
One of our main goals is to encourage in people of all ages a love of history through the immediacy of theater performance and outreach programs. Our plans include 

•  Working with D.C. schools and other educational programs to creatively engage students with season plays, context, and history.

•  Providing group ticket discounts for school and community groups. 

•  Offering creative pre- and post-show events to involve audiences beyond the traditional talkback model.

•  Offering style classes to actors and non-actors alike. 

•  Forming partnerships with other local arts nonprofits. 

For example, we plan to partner with Shared World Art Project (SWAP), another nonprofit launching this year, and in 2017 we’ll be doing a series of theater-related workshops with Basis DC. 

Our Launch Goals
The costs of mounting the show, even on a shoestring budget, total about $9,000. Generous seed donors have enabled us to meet $3,750 of that goal so far. Will you help us get the rest of the way there by May 1? Our biggest expense is performance space rental and deposit ($4,340); followed by script rights ($1,200); pay for designers, crew, and actors ($2,000); design, photography, and printing costs ($675); rehearsal space ($840); and more.  

Comp Tickets for Life!
Exclusive to this campaign is our perk that anyone who donates at least $250 to Perisphere Theater in 2016 will receive a pair of evergreen comp tickets, among other rewards. That’s our way of thanking the donors who are placing their faith in us as a new company. That means that even if you choose not to contribute in future years, you will still get a pair of comps every season, for the life of the company. 

Every Little Bit Helps
To reach our goal, we need the support of lots of backers—and even if you can only spare $10, a bunch of those really add up! Every little bit moves us closer to mounting “Oleanna” and introducing our company to D.C. audiences. 

Thank you for your generosity in supporting the first show at Perisphere Theater. This has been a dream of mine for many years, and it’s incredibly exciting to see it reach fruition. We intend that Perisphere will offer great experiences to D.C. audiences this year and in future years. 

Heather Benjamin
  • Jennifer Veneris 
    • $100 
    • 73 mos
  • Ric Andersen 
    • $110 (Offline)
    • 73 mos
  • John and Tiffany Benjamin 
    • $50 (Offline)
    • 73 mos
  • John Decker 
    • $250 
    • 74 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $250 
    • 74 mos
See all


Heather Benjamin 
Washington D.C., DC