Last year, with the generous support of friends, family, and board members, Perisphere Theater launched its inaugural season. With your donations and inspiring belief in our mission, we were able to
o Be recognized as a promising newcomer to the theater scene in D.C. by area critics, for both Oleanna and Copenhagen.
o Engage audiences through our overflow-capacity Spotlight on Copenhagen salon, where scholar Kathryn Olesko led a discussion of the historical characters’ moral dilemmas.
o Join the D.C. Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative and begin the process of developing Grade 9–12 educational programs.
(Oleanna, with Greg Thompson and Nicole Ruthmarie. Photo by Ciscovaras Pictures.)
This year, we’ve got more big plans. Yet it can be a struggle, as a startup arts nonprofit, to prove ourselves and become competitive for grants opportunities, and to hire the people we need to make our intended programming a success.
2017 is a truly make-or-break year for us in demonstrating what we offer the D.C. community. To mount our next show, “Tartuffe,” and to bring students to our show on January 31, we must raise $8,000 by December 10. We have already achieved $4,000 in donations and pledges. Can you help us raise the other $4,000 to continue as a company?
(Copenhagen, with John Decker, Sue Struve, and Ben McRae. Photo by Ciscovaras Pictures.)
Here’s what we have planned for 2017–2018:
As we return for our second season , the atmosphere of American society has changed a great deal. We’re taking on critical social themes with three elements:
o A playreading to benefit social justice organizations. Hate speech in America is escalating, and must not be normalized. Perisphere will perform a reading of “God’s Country,” by Steven Dietz, directed by Lizzi Albert, to benefit the work of a social justice organization. (November 14, 2017)
o Moliere’s classic comedy “Tartuffe,” translated by Richard Wilbur and directed by Bridget Grace Sheaff. Perisphere offers up rhyming couplets in this sendup of society's hypocrisies and privileges. The con man Tartuffe takes over a household—unless reason prevails and the family can expose him. (January/February 2018)
o Our first-ever daytime show for high school students. Two classes from D.C. Public Schools will see Tartuffe and participate in an activity on how the play relates to society, in their own perspective.
(The Copenhagen team on closing night.)
For season 3, we hope to commission a play based on a real-life character, Georgia Douglas Johnson, who was part of the Harlem Renaissance movement in Washington, D.C. This is a project we are really excited about, and on which we will focus our educational programming for late 2018 or early 2019.
Thank you again for your generosity and interest in our young company. Please help us continue our mission of producing theater that evokes empathy and increases understanding of our historical and social realities, even as it entertains.
Heather Benjamin, Artistic Director
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