Saturday, December 31, 2011

Did You See What You Did?

Today is your last opportunity to make tax-deductible donations in 2011. We hope that you will include Theatre East in your giving. As we gear up for our most ambitious season yet, we’re counting on your support once again. For the first time, Theatre East will produce a full season, starting off in fall 2012 with the WORLD premiere of Bennett Windheim’s NORMALCY, a play that uses transracial adoption as a catalyst to have an honest & candid dialogue about race in America through the prism of a well-meaning, well-to-do white couple contemplating the adoption of an African-American child.
Then in spring 2013 we'll produce the New York premiere of an amazing play that we're currently in negotiations for (and can’t quite announce yet). But you’ll hear about it soon! We’ll of course continue the Neighborhood Reading Series and educational programming. And we can’t wait to bring it all to you!
So, what do we need to pull all this off? $120,000.
That may sound steep, but a gift of just $25 can put us on our way. For more information click here. You can also go here to see all the benefits of giving; this is just a small way for us to thank you for your support. As always, every gift is truly appreciated.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mother Teresa Would Want You to Donate to the Arts

from William Franke, Director of Development & Communications
Ahh, it's the holiday season...when everyone is so busy wrapping up work projects, shopping for gifts, going to parties...and attending fundraising benefits for nonprofit organizations.

I know that for me, it's hard to prioritize which types of charities to give to. Even for people in the arts, it seems like there are so many more important causes out there.

Then I heard this story on The Moth, which is a collection of real people telling their true stories on stage. The guest host for the Moth’s Chicago story slam evening, Peter Sagal (host of NPR’s news quiz show Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me) related this story at the end of the evening that his friend, Morgan, had told him about Mother Teresa:

When she was younger, Morgan was a dramaturg and, for whatever reason, she became quite infatuated with Mother Teresa and thought her the apotheosis of humanity. Her obsession with her ran to the point that, when she learned Mother Teresa was in New York for some kind of official visit (back in the ’80s), she tracked down the hotel she was staying at and went to see her. She caught up with Mother Teresa as she was getting out of a car (with a cadre of nuns) and proceeded to gush “Oh, Mother Teresa, the work you do is so wonderful; the work you do is so important and it’s so wonderful and I just want to come to Calcutta and do that work with you. Because I just think it’s so wonderful.” 

And Mother Teresa gently shook her head and said “No, no, you don’t do this work because you think it’s good; you do this work because you so love the poor people of Calcutta with whom I work, that you can’t be away from them. That’s when you come and you do this work.”
Morgan stood there, realizing she’d been gently rebuked, when Mother Teresa asked what it was she did. Morgan replied “Well, what I do is not important. What I do is I work in a theater and I help put on plays, and what use is that?”
To which Mother Teresa replied, “There are so many different kinds of famine in this world. In my country there is a famine of the body. In this country, there is a famine of the spirit. Stay here and feed your people.”
With your help, we promise to continue doing our part to nourish & feed the people in our community as best we can.

Now, you may have noticed that Theatre East is not throwing a year-end fundraising gala, but that doesn't mean we aren't trying to raise funds! We'll be in touch about a live event in the spring. But for now, since we know everyone is so busy, we thought we'd keep the time commitment low with an event on Facebook; or you can go directly to our website.
With your donations, we'll be able to continue bringing you plays like The Solider Dreams and Eye of God.
We're currently ramping up for our most ambitious season yet—our first full season, starting off in fall 2012 with the WORLD premiere of Bennett Windheim’s Normalcy, a play that uses transracial adoption as a catalyst to have an honest and candid dialogue about race in America through the prism of a well-meaning, well-to-do white couple contemplating the adoption of an African-American child. We'll also be continuing our educational efforts with the New Rites Collective.

Thank you so much for your support, now at the end of the year & always.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Todd Eric Hawkins Elected to Americans for the Arts’ Emerging Leaders Council!

As Theatre East-ers who read this blog and/or follow our Facebook page know, Managing Director Todd Eric Hawkins was placed on the ballot for the Emerging Leaders Council at Americans for the Arts about a month and a half ago. Well, the results are in and we are excited to announce that Todd was elected to the Council! Read all about it in the press release below:

For Immediate Release
Monday, December 12, 2011

Todd Eric Hawkins Elected to Americans for the Arts’ Emerging Leaders Council

New York, New York — Theatre East today announced that Managing Director Todd Eric Hawkins has been elected to the Emerging Leaders Council of Americans for the Arts, the nation’s nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education.

Todd brings more than 10 years of leadership and experience to the Council, which assists with developing programs and resources for emerging arts professionals nationwide.  In addition to his duties as Managing Director of Theatre East, Todd has been a project manager for Public Art for Public Schools since 2008. In this role, he has managed over 35 projects, taking an active role in the commissioning of artists, the development of designs, and the coordination of installations at public schools throughout all five boroughs. Todd received his Masters of Arts in Arts Administration from Goucher College in 2010.

The Americans for the Arts Emerging Leaders program works to identify and cultivate the next generation of arts leaders in America. It provides an ideal way for new leaders to share their interests with others as they continue to develop their skills and their commitment to the arts. New professionals are valuable to the arts community, and the 15 members of the Emerging Leaders Council are dedicated to ensuring that a bright and democratic future for the arts in America continues for generations to come.

“The Emerging Leaders Council serves an important role in helping Americans for the Arts carry out one of its primary goals of strengthening an informed leadership,” says Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “Todd has been an exceptional leader within his own community, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the national council.”

Theatre East is a New York-based nonprofit theatre company that advances the dialogue of the shared human experience through works that utilize simple storytelling, providing our community with a platform to deepen its understanding of themselves, each other and the world we share. In October 2009 the company produced the New York premiere of Tim Blake Nelson’s EYE OF GOD and in March 2011 the New York premiere of GLAAD and Obie Award-winning playwright Daniel MacIvor’s THE SOLDIER DREAMS, both at Theatre Row on 42nd Street. Additional information is available at

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hustle & Bustle

The Theatre East team (Todd Eric Hawkins, Judson Jones &
Christa Kimlicko Jones (with Bill Franke behind the camera)
shopping at Toys R Us for Stockings with Care
from Christa Kimlicko Jones,
Associate Artistic Director,
Director of Programming: 

When a group of professional people asked a group of 4-to-8-year olds, "What does love mean?" one replied, "Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and just listen."        ~Warren McLaren
It’s that time of the year…the lights are all around the city, people are bustling around: shopping, attending parties, traveling, baking, etc., etc., etc. Days pass and you can’t believe we’re already through December. Where did the time go? Don’t get me wrong, I love this time of the year. But I always marvel at how it gets away from me. It always flies by. And in a blink, it’s the new year. But now, you can really feel it in the air. It’s palpable. Semesters are wrapping up. Rush, rush, rush! And everyone is really looking forward to some down time. A few days off. Some time for a little rest and relaxation. I am definitely a part of this crowd! But, while I might allow myself a day or two, I get restless and somehow feel like I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing. So then, I go to those projects that I’ve planned for the winter break.  Big projects. Things that I’ve been putting off because there’s just not enough time the rest of the year.  And I do look forward to them.  "I’m going to rearrange [fill in the blank]."  "I’m going to read all of [fill in the blank]." "I’m going to catch up on [fill in the blank]."  While all of this is fine and good, I almost always forget to schedule in REAL down time...without feeling guilty about it. Time to just ENJOY. I always feel like I need to be checking off some list. You know what I mean?
But really, the best gift we can give ourselves is to actually quiet down. To stop. To listen. To just be. Especially after all of the hustle and bustle leading up to the holidays. This kind of time, this is what fuels the human spirit. It truly can’t be all work, work, work. I know that in my head,'s certainly easier said than done.

So, today let's all make a resolution—to slow down, to drink in the moments, to really see and hear and talk with our family members over the break. And once the official holidays are over, to continue to take time for down time—because that is just as important as all the activities and tasks on our to-do lists. 

I hope you have some wonderful down time over the holidays. Some time to just enjoy your surroundings, your loved ones, good movies, good theatre. Taking the time to allow your breath to drop in and really listen to this awesome world that is right in our laps. Let’s try and listen to Emily Webb from OUR TOWN this holiday season and in life in general...and really try to realize life while we live it—every, every minute.  I mean, as best we can.
Happy Holidays to you and yours.  Don’t forget to look at & listen to each other.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

In Support of the Arts

from Todd Eric Hawkins, Managing Director 

It is hard for me to watch the news without spending a great deal of time with my head in my hands. I would think this is true for many viewers on both sides of any given issue. We have become an extremely polarized society and, in doing so, we are losing the middle ground.

I don’t claim to be an expert when it comes to politics. I don’t know the intricacies of the banking industry, or the factors that have led to our current economic crisis. I should know more, but it is difficult to wade through the talking points coming from both sides of any given argument. I am not sure when our world became so black and white and uncompromising.

Part of my confusion comes from how I was trained to view the world. I am and have always been a student of the Arts. In the fifth grade, I played the cello in the orchestra. I learned harmony and what it means to be a part of a group, each with their own individual part that makes a whole. In high school, I took Speech & Debate and learned how to present facts, debate issues and, in the process, form my own opinions. In college, I turned to playwriting and was taught how to tell a story, present differing opinions and allow disparate voices a chance to be heard.  The Arts...taught me how to think.

The Arts now suffers the same fate as other debated topics, it has been boiled down to a black and white issue. To one side, the Arts are a waste of tax dollars and less vital to the education of our children than math and science—an argument that has successfully led to the decimation of funding for public arts education. To the other side, the Arts are not only integral to a quality of life, but they have a positive impact on local economies and provide our community with a platform to explore ideas.

As a finance manager I understand that the arts can be seen as the easiest thing to cut in order to make ends meet. However, the very principles that art taught me are now missing from the way we as a society debate our most pressing issues.

As we approach the end of 2011, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has worked so tirelessly and given so much in support of Theatre East. I am proud to be part of an organization that focuses so much of its time, energy and resources to arts education and community engagement.

Thank you for your continued support; I look forward to continuing the dialogue in 2012.