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Category Archives: Outreach Program
Hello Fountain Family! My name is Annie Barker and I will be the Production Intern at the Fountain Theatre this summer. I’m an incoming senior at Loyola Marymount University, studying Theatre Arts and English because I thrive under the looming cloud that is inevitable unemployment. Outside of the theatre, I love going to Disneyland, volunteering at animal shelters, and searching for a good cup of coffee.
I grew up in the rainy city of Portland, Oregon. I found comfort within the rows of Powell’s City of Books. A voracious reader, I would always ask my dad what the books he was reading were about. He would respond with “a man searching for the meaning of life.” As a nine year old, this response was incredibly annoying. As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve realized the importance of this question. As a result, I seek to write, create, watch, and perform stories that follow the convoluted path to the meaning of life.
I am interested in any and all aspects of the theatre, though I have found the greatest joy and rewards in acting, directing, and playwriting. This past fall I made my full-length directing debut with Neil LaBute’s reasons to be pretty. This project helped me confirm my love for directing, leading me to my current project—a senior thesis production of Ruby Rae Spiegel’s Dry Land. While choosing to do a play about abortion at a Catholic Jesuit university may seem challenging, it is the challenge that makes me want to tackle this piece head on.
Theatre people love using the phrase blessed. Take a quick glance in any program and you will see “so-and-so is so blessed to be…” However, I believe that blessed is the only way to describe how I feel to be working with Fountain Theatre this summer. I cannot wait to dive into this work, helping a theatre company do the exact thing I aspire to do in all of my work—creating work that matters, stimulates conversation, and pushes us to examine our own lives and purpose.
That being said, I am so honored to be a part of this family and look forward to the craziness and creation this summer will entail. Let the journey begin!
This internship is sponsored by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
Nora King is a California girl who doesn’t surf. She danced in school productions of The Nutcracker but admits she was “an unbalanced and quite chatty ballerina.” She earned a BFA in Acting from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) then created a non-profit theatre troupe called Acting for Others, to raise support and awareness for charities through performance. These days, she now finds herself at the Fountain Theatre as Production Outreach Coordinator for Building the Wall, overseeing the ongoing post-show conversation series Breaking It Down.
The program Breaking It Down, she says, embodies her dual commitment to theatre and social action. “I have always had a passion to inspire change through theater.”
Fountain Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs agrees. “When the Fountain Theatre made the bold move to reschedule our 2017 season so we could quickly produce the world premiere of this controversial new play Building the Wall, we were sure of one thing. Patrons seeing it will want to talk about it.”
The post-show conversation series Breaking It Down was created to offer an ongoing platform for the dialogue to continue with audiences on a wide variety of topics. The first discussion featured playwright Robert Schenkkan.
As Production Outreach Coordinator, it was Nora’s job to reach out to a varied list of organizations and schedule dynamic leaders willing to participate in conversations with audience members following performances of Building the Wall. Topics range from immigration to prison systems to women’s rights to stand-up comedy.
To learn more about the discussion series and the young woman who oversees it, we subjected Nora to her own Q&A.
How did you get this job at the Fountain?
Funny story. I saw an opening for a position in The Fountain’s cafe. I sent in my resume. And a couple days later I got a call from Stephen Sachs about another position that may be a better ﬁt. And it is a much better ﬁt. My cooking skills are nonexistent.
What is Breaking It Down? How would you describe it?
Breaking it Down is a conversation series following performances of Building the Wall. These will be discussions with community leaders, non-proﬁt organizers, socially active performers, etc.
What do you hope to achieve with these post-show conversations?
The goal of Breaking it Down is to activate and inspire the audience. A big theme in Building the Wall is the power and responsibility of the individual. At this point in our country’s history, complacency is extremely dangerous. I want to empower the audience, leaving the theatre ready to inﬂuence change.
Has it been hard getting experts to agree to participate in the discussions? Or easier that you thought?
A lot easier than I thought. I was surprised with the eagerness in which people wanted to be involved. Which is very exciting! This also reassures me that there are inﬂuential people activated and ready to combat the inhumane policies our government keeps churning out.
Which conversations are you most looking forward to?
After researching each individual and their backgrounds, I am honestly very excited for each conversation. I think they will offer so many different perspectives as well as ways to help. So, all of them!
What role can theatre play in triggering social action?
Theatre has always been a reﬂection of society. Shakespeare’s histories are basically the People magazine of the time. To say theatre is merely for entertainment, is an ignorant concept. And to say the arts is unnecessary for a nation, is stupid. Sorry to be so blunt. However, the reason I dedicate my life to this art form is because of its inﬂuence on society. Theater supplies ethos. We are humans. We need to connect. We need to feel. I believe theatre can supply an up close look at stories you wouldn’t experience otherwise even though, in reality, they might be happening right next to you.
What has your experience been like at the Fountain?
Amazing! Something that drew me to the Fountain Theatre is its commitment to socially provocative work. There is certainly a sense of working towards a shared goal. Everyone is passionate and excited to be there, which is necessary for a theatre to succeed. I feel very honored to be joining The Fountain Family. Thank you Robert and Stephen for bringing this play to life so quickly. I think it is essential for people to see this immediately.
Is she crazy or a hero? In our hit production of Bakersfield Mist now playing at the Fountain, Maude Gutman owns a spattered painting that she bought at a thrift store which she now believes is a masterpiece by Jackson Pollock worth millions. Is it real or a forgery? Last Friday, thirty-two 5th grade students from Ramona Elementary School around the corner visited the Fountain Theatre to try their hands at creating their own abstract expressionist paintings in the style of Jackson Pollock. Says teacher Eric Arboleda, the experience was “priceless”.
The students gathered in the theatre for a lesson on modern art from Sarah Boulton, educator and coordinator of the day’s event for the Fountain. The group then moved upstairs, where a long table waited with paper, paints and brushes. The students were instructed to freely paint what the feel, to think of images that express their inner selves, not literal pictures. The students leapt into action. Grabbing brushes, the kids spattered and swirled their paints in a wild flurry of colors. Paint landed not only on paper. It ended up on the floor, on the walls, and peppered the kids themselves with bright colored freckles. Everyone had a blast.
After the paint session, the kids moved into the cafe for donuts and drinks. They relaxed on our outdoor balcony and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon sun. All agreed it was an extraordinary day.
Friday’s event was the third visit by Ramona Elementary School students in two years, part of an ongoing educational partnership between the school and the Fountain Theatre to offer an enhanced art experience for young people in our community. The event was made possible through Theatre as a Learning Tool, the Fountain’s educational outreach program making art available to underserved students.
It’s been a challenging year, hasn’t it? A year of change, division and loss And a year of hope, unity and bright accomplishments.
The Fountain Theatre ends 2016 soaring on the wind of uplifting achievements. Our world premiere stage adaptation of Citizen: An American Lyric has been chosen to be highlighted in CTG’s Block Party at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in April. Our premieres of Dream Catcher, My Mañana Comes and Baby Doll earned rave reviews and extended runs. Forever Flamenco sizzled this summer at the outdoor Ford Theatre. Bakersfield Mist returned to delight audiences through the holidays and is still running through January. We continued serving communities year round through our educational outreach programs. We broadened our long-term stability by partnering with new foundations and supporters.
For 26 years, The Fountain Theatre has provided a public space where a wide variety of citizens gather together to experience stories that illuminate what it means to be a human being.
The public discourse across our nation and on our stage in 2016 revealed many things. One being: words matter. What we say to each other, and how we say it, matters. As in the finest plays, language has power. Has impact. In soliloquy and in dialogue. On our intimate stage, and far beyond Fountain Avenue, our dialogue — our conversation — with YOU, our Fountain Family, matters.
Which words would you use to describe the Fountain Theatre? Which words express who we are, what we do? Co-Founding Artistic Directors Deborah Lawlor and Stephen Sachs share with you some words they’d choose. Take a look!
Tuesday night at the Fountain was one of those evenings that reminds us of the transformative power of theatre. Why we do what we do. It was also a night about working together. Not only for the incarcerated young men on stage from Rancho San Antonio Boys Home who performed the new play they wrote via the Antaeus Odyssey Workshop. But also for the two LA intimate theatre companies who partnered to make the evening possible.
The Odyssey Workshop is an educational outreach program launched by Antaeus Theatre Company that uses theatre techniques to teach creative writing to young adults from high-risk environments. “This is such an important program for all of us at Antaeus Theatre Company,” says Antaeus Co-Artistic Director Bill Brochtrup. “It’s truly a life-changing event for the young men participating — and for the audiences who are lucky enough to see them.”
Because construction on the company’s new venue in Glendale is not yet complete, Antaeus needed to find a theatre to host its one-night performance of the Odyssey Workshop. They reached out to the Fountain Theatre. We immediately agreed to welcome Antaeus and its program into our home.
The coincidental timing of Tuesday night’s performance was not lost on anyone. The very next day, Actors Equity Association terminated the 99-Seat Plan, replacing it with a controversial and unpopular new Agreement that divides and separates the once-unified LA intimate theatre community into competing categories and factions.
The shared event at the Fountain Theatre was all about cooperation.
Antaeus actress and board member Dawn Didawick commented, “I wish some of our union representatives could be required to attend events like these in order to learn what Los Angeles theatre artists give to their community.”
“There’s been so much rancor and divisiveness with Actors Equity over their elimination of the 99-Seat Plan,” says Fountain Co-Artistic Director Stephen Sachs. “Tuesday night is an example of what happens when two LA intimate theatre companies, each very different in their programming and organizational structure, cooperate together for the sake of being of service to those other than themselves.”
Fountain Producing Director Simon Levy agrees. “Art does change lives. Theatre opens hearts and connects us to The Other. Bravo/bravissima to Antaeus for this great program. And a standing O to the young men who opened their hearts and allowed themselves to be vulnerable… because it changes us.”
Following the performance, the night was ignited by a lively reception in our upstairs cafe which seemed to exemplify the spirit of the evening. There was food, drinks and a cacophony of raucous chatter and laughter. Students enjoying family and friends intermixing with Antaeus members mingling with Fountain staff. A room packed with a wide variety of diverse people and two uniquely-styled theatre companies. Everyone together, for the same common purpose, becoming one.
Isn’t that what it’s all about?