The Romeo And Juliet Project

$5,500 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 12 people in 32 months

The Romeo & Juliet Project

The play. Free workshops. An art installation.

Is empathy possible?

Can you empathize with your headstrong neighbor? Your child? The president?

We are the makers of division in our world. The cracks between us become wider and out of them issue fear, anxiety and hate...and also, sometimes, love.

Prompted by a backdrop of divisive current events, a group of storytellers, divided by age, connected by purpose, dives into the story of Romeo & Juliet to explore the possibilities of empathy in a world riddled with division.

The Romeo & Juliet Project is Enso Theatre Ensemble's next main stage production.


THE PLAY: We are adapting Shakespeare's text into a fast-and-furious 90-minute ride. While we are using most of the original text, we will be playing with sharing and swapping lines, and roles will be cast gender-blind. The ensemble will consist of six actors, representing three generations: two teens, two 20-30 yr. olds and two 65+.

THE WORKSHOPS: Starting in March, we will be offering free Shakespeare workshops to high school students. These workshops will explore the ways that our world intersects with the world of Romeo & Juliet and ask the question: how can Shakespeare's text and characters help us understand and empathize with our own world?

THE ART INSTALLATION: We want to create a metal, ladder-esque wall (reminiscent of the Romeo & Juliet wall in Verona, Italy) which will both be a part of the set and serve as an interactive art piece before and after the show. Audience members will be able to purchase locks that they can sign with the initials of a loved one, and then lock to the wall. 


FUNDS: Below is a breakdown of how the funds raised here will be used:

Stipends for cast & crew: $3,600
Art Installation (building the ladder wall): $1,000
Partial Set Budget: $400

The remainder of our show needs will be provided by grants and/or funds we raised from our previous main stage production, Pride & Prejudice: An Adaptation.

Our goal is to raise these funds by the start of rehearsals--May 16th, 2017.


We want to create a space where youth and adults alike are encouraged to find empathy and conversation across generations and divisions.

Support this project by donating here, or join our Facebook group, "Friends of Enso" to receive photos, videos and more that you can post to share our work with others.

Thank you thank you thank you.

It's people like you,
Who love what we do,
That allow us to do
What we love. <3


Enso Theatre Ensemble is a 501(c)3 that produces vivid, innovative theatrical works and offers unique educational opportunities in an environment of wellness and well-being.

(from our main stage production of "Pride & Prejudice: An Adaptation)
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Good morning!

I hope all of you are well and stocking up on pumpkin-y goodness for Fall... �

This is a super brief email to let you know that this morning, our Fall Fundraising campaign LAUNCHED!

For those of you who don't know: We're transitioning to a year-round company, this Fall.

As you might imagine, this is a big undertaking, (yay!!!) and we would love any help/donations/support/sharing/good thoughts that we can get!


1. DONATE: You can donate here:

2. POST: Let me know if you'd like to be added to our Social Media Posting Calendar. We will assign you a day during the month of October to post on your social media feed(s) about the campaign. We'll send you some pre-written posts that you are welcome to use, and we will remind you the day-of.

3. MONTHLY: Give $1 every month on Patreon: and get rewards. You can opt-out any time.


1. SHE IS FIERCE Staged Reading. This is our next main stage production -- get immersed in a Gallery of Secrets with contemporary versions of Shakespeare characters. +free drinks and nibbles. Nov. 10 & 11. You can get a $10 ticket here:

2. Student Director Mentorship Show: This show is TBA, but our next student Director has been chosen, and we are really, really excited to have her. Save-the-date: November 17 - 19.

If you can't donate, please don't sweat it. All forms of support are whole-heartedly appreciated and deeply felt. Warm, fuzzy thoughts also totally welcome.

Thank you, many, many times over. I wish you nothing but the best!


❤️ Caitlin
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Hello, Enso supporters!

We've got big things on the horizon, and I'd like to invite you to join us...

Come have a glass of wine with me this Sunday, October 1st, between 5 and 8pm, at Enso Winery in SE Portland, and learn more about where we've been, where we are, and our vision of the "Enso-Arts Hub".

We're describing this journey in three phases, illustrated below:

~Phase 1: Launch the company. (Check and check!)~

Thanks to YOU, over the last two years we have grown from a seed of an idea, to a nonprofit that has garnered praise and recognition from the community, and from national organizations such as the Jane Austen Society of North America. We've produced three full scale shows, launched our Education program, offered a variety of Wellness opportunities, received our first grant from the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition, and made close connections with local businesses.

~Phase 2: Operate on a year-round basis. (Launching October 1st!)~

In order to continue growing at a sustainable rate, we need to create the stable, internal structures necessary for operating year round. We're creating 7 new staff positions, and have added a series of Benefit Performances to increase our revenue flow throughout the year. We've chosen the staff positions to fund with care, focusing specifically on leadership & development, to ensure the company is constantly improving its revenue stream.

Phase 2 is where you come in!

On October 1st, we will launch an IndieGoGo Fundraising Campaign to support these new staff positions, as well as our 2017-18 programming. I'll post the link here, when it's live.

Our goal is to raise $10,000 in individual donations by December 31st.

We've also been meeting with local businesses, seeking corporate sponsorships, and our grant team has already been chipping away at our ambitious goals for grant submissions this year!

SEE BELOW for how you can support us during Phase 2!

~Phase 3: Fund the Enso-Arts Hub. (Future...)~

In the final phase of our vision, we will fundraise for the rental and renovation of a community building, the Enso-Arts Hub. Our goal is to partner with a for-profit company to assist with rising rent costs, and to attract foot-traffic to our space. For example, during day hours, a tea company might operate out of our lobby area, while classes take place in the theater behind. In the evenings, the tea company would take over Concessions for our productions. You can read more about the Hub here:


(Please respond to if you are interested in any of the following:)

MATCHING DONORS! We are currently seeking a Matching Donor to pledge $1,000 if we raise $1,000 within the first 7 days of our campaign!

DONATE! Reply to this email and let us know if you'd be interested in receiving a personal reminder once our campaign launches on October 1st!

BUSINESS SPONSORSHIP: Do you know a business that would be interested in sponsoring an arts & wellness nonprofit? Visit our website to see how your business can increase visibility with our Business Sponsorship Program.

MONTHLY GIVING @ PATREON: Looking for a way to give a smaller amount, on a monthly basis? Patreon allows you to pledge any amount that works for you every month, with the ability to opt-out at any time. We have a wide range of Patreon supporters, from $1 to $50 -- and each comes with its own set of rewards! Check it out!

SOCIAL MEDIA SUPPORT: Join our "Friends of Enso" Facebook group and be part of our amazing network of online support! During the campaign we'll assign volunteers a day or two to post, and provide you with the option to use pre-written posts.


Portland has a rich array of varied art and theater companies providing invaluable experiences to young people, and to the community at large. But we are losing the spaces available for small companies to operate in.

This last year a number of prominent small to midsize companies in the community were forced to fold, downsize or merge with other artistic venues because they lost their space.

Affordable space is needed. We are part of the effort to make this possible.

Your donation validates the work that we do, and affirms that you recognize the value and importance of the arts in your community!

Thank you, a thousand times, for your support. I'm constantly humbled by the phenomenal people working furiously to make Enso's vision a reality, and by people like you, who validate our efforts.


Caitlin (& The Ensemble!)
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Rehearsals have begun! And it's been an electric week.

Day 1.

Seated at the table you see above, we dove headfirst into the first half of the play. It was hot. I mean, the temperature of the room -- goodness! it was hot. But we muddled through, made some amazing character discoveries. For example, Sky (Mercutio/The Prince/Balthasar) was pumped to announce that he's absolutely convinced his backstory involves a crush between himself and Romeo.

And the text seemed to open itself to us in completely fresh ways after that. Much of Mercutio's behavior made more sense. Hidden bitterness started to seep out of age-old words...

Historically, this theory, that Mercutio is in love with Romeo, has been repeated again and again in a variety of ways. But it was important to me that I saw it happening of its own accord amongst this ensemble, before suggesting we go down that route. I didn't want to force something that didn't exist with this group of people. But I did start to see it, as early as our rehearsals for the staged reading, and so I nudged Sky just a tad in that direction, and he took it and ran with it.


Day 2.

Sat ourselves at the table again and battled with the second half of the play. In many ways, it feels like two plays -- I've told the ensemble that this show "is a comedy...until it's not." The humor allows us to fall in love with each of these dynamic characters -- we can't help it! -- and then it's like a blow to the solar plexis as we watch their world fall apart.

I was feeling more confident this day. Something about the first day of...well, really of anything -- school, work, rehearsal -- makes me nervous and unsure and self-questioning, even when I've spent months preparing for this!

As one of my favorite teachers (and coincidentally, my aunt!) once said, "The first day is just an excuse to get to the second day."

Day 3.

Everybody came! Designers, actors, assistants, sound board operators, interns: all to hear the official reading of the script by the actors, and to watch the designer presentations made to the group.

The meeting of the two halves.

Except this "First Read-Thru" was a little unusual -- because at this point the actors had had four (or in the case of Romeo & Juliet, six) rehearsals, performed the damn thing twice, and then had two more rehearsals dissecting the text. They were bug-eyed to get on their feet.

So I let them, if they wanted to, and what emerged was this electric, sizzling reading that involved actors pacing the room, holding hands secretly, leaping on to chairs, and running out of the room.

This came after an hour of excited-squeal-inducing designer presentations, which dove into the nitty-gritty of costumes that feel like people we know, lights that can be moved by actors, a set that serves as the "eighth" ensemble member and sound that creates whole worlds in the in-between.

The play is ALIVE.

Day 4.

Blocking, part 1! We skeleton-blocked the entire first half of the play, just entrances and exits, and had ample time to run it from transition to transition.


Day 5.

Blocking, part 2! Whipped through the latter half of the play and and ran the entire play, jumping from transition to transition. Had tons of time left over to work on our Prologue Movement Sequence, which will essentially take the place of the "Two households..." speech.

The actors now have a solid structure, from which we can now build internal blocking from their own inner motivations during scene work.

That brings us up to speed!

Off to rehearsal, time to jump-start Week 2!

BTW: For more of these updates, and for more photos from our first week of rehearsal, consider becoming an Enso Patreon Member! For as little as a $1/month, you'll get to watch Enso grow from the ground up, through photos, videos, mini-poems and more.

Check it out here:

With love,
<3 Caitlin
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Hello, all our incredible backers,

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for helping us to reach our minimum goal!!! WOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!

We are very, very excited to invite you to our Staged Reading and Benefit for this production!!

(This) Friday, April 21st
(This) Saturday, April 22nd

at Blackfish Gallery, hosted by Readers Theatre Repertory

If you donated to receive an Empathy Lock, you'll be able to decorate it at this reading, OR at the show in June.

Because we have already reached our minimum goal for moving the production forward, our next goal is to focus additional funds on our artists and on the design.

An additional $1000, raised here, or at the Reading, will:

Increase stipends for every artist and designer working on the show.

Allow us to store sets and lights in a storage facility during rehearsals (instead of in our living room!)

Increase design budgets for set, lights and costumes

If you have further questions, feel free to contact us!


$5 gets you in to this STAGED reading (we'll be full staging the Balcony scene), FREE concessions, and the chance to win any of our awesome array of silent auction items! (See our Facebook to see what some of the items are!)

Reserve your tickets today! Seating is limited.


Thanks to Readers Theatre and Blackfish Gallery for hosting us!
Rehearsing for the Staged Reading!
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$5,500 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 12 people in 32 months
Created November 22, 2016
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shereen motarjemi
26 months ago

Yay! Bravo!!

28 months ago
29 months ago
Annie Foley
29 months ago
Dylan Wiggins
31 months ago

If this is half as good as pride & prejudice, its going to be amazing

Leayh Abel
31 months ago
31 months ago
William Berk
32 months ago
Cathy Gibson
32 months ago

Go Cait! We can't wait! Love, Cathy, Sylvia, Simone, and Alex

Jacob Carmack
32 months ago

Go Enso!

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