COVID-19 Safety Protocols – as of March 15, 2022

ATLANTA, GA –Synchronicity Theatre has successfully produced live theatre with pandemic safety conditions since October 2020. This is due to careful implementation of data-driven recommendations of health care providers and scientists; and a focus to protect the health and well-being of our actors, audiences, staff and crews. Our plans use flexibility and research to put this safety at the forefront, and respond carefully to changing conditions. Our commitment to provide a space for audiences to come together live with our artists, whenever we are safely able to do so, reflects our mission to use theatre to build community. Our consistent safety protocols used throughout the past year, developed with the Emory Nell Hodgson School of Nursing, remain in effect.

Our safety protocols include (as of March 15, 2022):

  • We require all audience members to wear masks at all times.
  • While Georgia is labeled “Low Risk” by the CDC, Synchronicity will NOT require all audience members to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test. This is in alignment with local and national performing arts organization policies. We will closely watch local transmission rates and reserve the right to add a vaccination/testing requirement at any time. Patrons with reservations to upcoming performances will be notified in advance of any changes to our policies.
  • All staff and actors are vaccinated. Everyone working with Synchronicity participates in daily symptoms checks and regular surveillance testing.
  • All front of house and show technical staff will wear masks at all times.
  • Our theatre has been renovated to include new air intakes into the space pulling from the outer atrium and second floor lobby, both of which draw in outside air, exchanging the air 5 times/hour. Additionally, HEPA filters which exchange the air at a rate of at least twice/hour were installed at the theatre backstage, in the lobby, and in the theatre space.
  • Our House Managers oversee careful seating procedures.

The show will go on unless a mandated shut down occurs, at which time we will notify all ticket holders and re-schedule you for a later performance. If you have any symptoms on the day of a performance, please contact us to re-schedule your tickets. We would be happy to move you to another performance or production if need be. This tool from the CDC may be helpful to you: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/coronavirus-self-checker.html. We appreciate the patience from our Synchronicity community in regards to these evolving circumstances.

Synchronicity will continue to closely monitor local, state, and federal policies regarding indoor activities and plan our safety protocols accordingly. Specific health & safety protocols are subject to change and will be clearly communicated to ticket holders in advance of their performance. Please visit our website for additional information www.synchrotheatre.com.

The Playmaking for Girls Matching Campaign is Back and 10,000 times better!

“I feel free. I am me. Nobody has the ability to take over me. In here people can be whoever they want to be.”- Khaty, Playmaking for Girls Participant

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Now in its 18th year, Playmaking for Girls has impacted thousands of Atlanta’s most vulnerable populations. This theatre outreach program helps girls living in group homes and refugee communities “find their voices” as artists and creators. Playmaking for Girls is especially vital for these young women as the COVID-19 pandemic affects their lives.

DONATE TO OUR 10K CHALLENGE (April 22 – May 1)

With a generous 1:1 match challenge from Alston & Bird and Jason & Jen Rosenberg, you can help us reach our $10,000 goal! If we raise $5,00 they match $5,000 (dollar for dollar). All funds directly benefit PFG.

YOUR GIFT MAKES AN IMPACT!

Playmaking for Girls annually impacts over one thousand people in our community, including:

  • 400 girls living in group homes or refugee communities participate, at no cost, in the Playmaking for Girls program.
  • 17 professional teachers work with participants throughout the year.
  • 5 to 10 student interns assist with the program each semester.
  • 800 community members and patrons support these young women by attending PFG performances.

SYNCHRONICITY THEATRE NOW HIRING!

Development Director |Synchronicity Theatre | Atlanta GA 30309 USA |Full Time 

About Synchronicity 

Synchronicity is a nonprofit theatre company founded in 1997. Since bursting onto the Atlanta scene, Synchronicity has produced gutsy, high-quality and entertaining plays that resonate with our audience, our community and our lives. Our mission is to uplift the voices of women and girls, and build community through theatre. 

Synchronicity is hiring a full-time Development Director to build on a strong 25-year reputation for creating great theatre and building community in the Atlanta area. 

DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR | *FULL-TIME POSITION (40 hours/week, occasional nights and weekend events) 

The Development Director is responsible for implementing all fundraising activities to meet contributed income goals for the company. Annually, this includes four seasonal campaigns; 1 major fundraiser and 2 cultivation events with fundraising components; developing branded fundraising campaigns to support institutional marketing goals, cultivating individual donors; and developing and shepherding corporate sponsors. Over 50% of Synchronicity’s contributed income comes from Foundation and Government grants, and the writing/managing of these applications are a large part of this position. Gowth opportunities in this position are in Corporate and Individual Donor cultivation and management. 

Key competencies include outstanding writing and verbal communication skills, organizational skills, and advanced computer skills, including experience with the Microsoft Office suite of programs, CRM management, and basic understanding of crowd funding platforms. Experience managing support staff and interns required. Experience working closely with donors and board members preferred. Experience researching and cultivating prospective funding sources preferred. Proficiency with Spektrix a plus. Event management experience with events of 150+ people strongly encouraged. Synchronicity is willing to train and cultivate these skills. 

At least two years of fundraising experience, requiredand four-year degree preferred. Experience in the arts preferred. The ability to work both independently and as part of a highly collaborative team is key. Ideal candidate must be a great communicator, organized, creative and detail-oriented; and interested in being engaged with the mission of the organization. 

SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDE: 

  • Grants – research, write and manage private, corporate and government grant proposals; 
  • Design and manage detailed grants calendar and tracking sheet; 
  • Manage proper acknowledgement and management of all donor gifts; 
  • Manage donor database and work closely with Managing Director to track annual funding; 
  • Manage annual tracking of demographics, program evaluations and scope of services; 
  • Manage a PT Development Associate; 
  • Work with seasonal interns; 
  • Cultivate a working knowledge of Synchronicity’s artistic and education programs; 
  • Produce and manage the annual Women in the Arts & Business luncheon, as well as season kick-off party; opening night receptions; and other periodic smaller cultivation events; 
  • Design and run the four annual giving seasonal campaigns which include end of year mail out campaign, spring campaign; 1-2 crowdfunding campaigns, and season launch party for high end donors; 
  • Manage both up and down {RM: I THINK ‘UP AND DOWN’ IS CONFUSING. MAYBE SPELL THAT OUT A BIT MORE? WHAT DOES THAT ACUTALLY MEAN IN TERMS OF SKILLS?} towards to maximize the resources of the entire organization towards meeting contributed income goals; 

Other qualifications: 

Excited to work closely with small but fierce team; strong management skills esp. of undergraduate interns; develop strong relationships with selected board members; staff liaison to Board’s Brand Experience & Cultivation Team, flexibility and nimbleness. Fluency with Spektrix or similar CRM helpful. 

Salary: $45,000 Reports to: Managing Director Hours: Full time, some nights and weekends required. Benefits: Generous vacation and flex time options. Insurance reimbursement. Simple IRA Match plan after 12 months. 

To apply please send resume and cover letter to Celise Kalke, Managing Director via email to hiring@synchrotheatre.com . 

Synchronicity Theatre is committed to recruiting and fostering a diverse community of staff working towards best practices in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. 

Lobby Library for LEGACY OF LIGHT

If you are interested in learning more about women in science, the Enlightenment, or Voltaire, check out our Lobby Library. Please consider supporting our bookseller partner, Good Books Atlanta, a local Black-owned pop-up + online bookshop. @goodbooksatl goodbooksatl.com

Cece Loves Science (Cece Loves Science, 1) by Kimberly Derting & Shelli R. Johannes

Cece loves science! In this STEM-themed picture book, Cece asks one of life’s most pressing questions: Do dogs eat vegetables? Cece and her best friend, Isaac, head to the lab to find out.

The Future of Science is Female: The Brilliant Minds Shaping the 21st Century by Zara Stone

Look at what the future holds-and how women are making it better. In The Future of Science is Female, author and award-winning journalist Zara Stone shares the fascinating, complicated stories of how a diverse group of powerful women got started-from the perspective of those still working it out as they go along. Take 22-year-old Dominique Barnes, a female hero of the oceans. She was worried about all the dolphins and whales killed during shrimp farming, so the marine biologist created a tasty, affordable plant-based shrimp alternative. And she is just one of the sheroes you will discover in The Future of Science is Female. Real encouragement and inspiration for today’s amazing girls. Forget the “ivory tower” of accomplishment. Learn about the drama, tears, and adventures everyday women heroes face as they race to fix everything the world has messed up. The Future of Science is Female inspires future female founders of the world to turn their dreams into reality.

She Persisted in Science: Brilliant Women Who Made a Difference by Chelsea Clinton

Throughout history, women have been told that science is not for them. They have been told that they are not smart enough, or that their brains just are not able to handle it. In this book, Chelsea Clinton introduces readers to women scientists who didn’t listen to those who told them “No” and who used their smarts, their skills and their persistence to discover, invent, create and explain.
 
She Persisted in Science
is for everyone who’s ever had questions about the world around them or the way things work, and who won’t give up until they find their answers.
 
With engaging artwork by Alexandra Boiger accompanying the inspiring text, this is a book that shows readers that everyone has the potential to make a difference, and that women in science change our world.
 
This book features: Florence Nightingale, Rebecca Lee Crumpler, Ynes Enriquetta Julietta Mexia, Grace Hopper, Rosalind Franklin, Gladys West, Jane Goodall, Flossie Wong-Staal, Temple Grandin, Zaha Hadid, Ellen Ochoa, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha & Mari Copeny, and Autumn Peltier, Greta Thunberg & Wanjiru Wathuti.

Candide by Voltaire

Candide is the story of a gentle man who, though pummeled and slapped in every direction by fate, clings desperately to the belief that he lives in “the best of all possible worlds.” On the surface a witty, bantering tale, this eighteenth-century classic is a savage, satiric thrust at the philosophical optimism that proclaims that all disaster and human suffering is part of a benevolent cosmic plan. Fast, funny, often outrageous, the French philosopher’s immortal narrative takes Candide around the world to discover that — contrary to the teachings of his distinguished tutor Dr. Pangloss — all is not always for the best. Alive with wit, brilliance, and graceful storytelling, Candide has become Voltaire’s most celebrated work.

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume

David Hume was a Scottish historian, philosopher, economist, diplomat, and essayist known today especially for his radical philosophical empiricism and skepticism.

Considering Hume’s central role in the Scottish Enlightenment, and in the history of Western philosophy, Bryan Magee judged him as a philosopher “widely regarded as the greatest who has ever written in the English language.” While Hume failed in his attempts to start a university career, he took part in various diplomatic and military missions of the time. He wrote The History of England which became a bestseller, and it became the standard history of England in its day.

His empirical approach places him with John Locke, George Berkeley, and a handful of others at the time as a British Empiricist.

Beginning with his A Treatise of Human Nature (1739), Hume strove to create a total naturalistic “science of man” that examined the psychological basis of human nature. In opposition to the rationalists who preceded him, most notably René Descartes, he concluded that desire rather than reason governed human behavior. He also argued against the existence of innate ideas, concluding that humans have knowledge only of things they directly experience. He argued that inductive reasoning and therefore causality cannot be justified rationally. Our assumptions in favor of these result from custom and constant conjunction rather than logic. He concluded that humans have no actual conception of the self, only of a bundle of sensations associated with the self.

Hume’s compatibilist theory of free will proved extremely influential on subsequent moral philosophy. He was also a sentimentalist who held that ethics are based on feelings rather than abstract moral principles and expounded the is–ought problem.

Hume has proved extremely influential on subsequent western philosophy, especially on utilitarianism, logical positivism, William James, the philosophy of science, early analytic philosophy, cognitive philosophy, theology and other movements and thinkers. In addition, according to philosopher Jerry Fodor, Hume’s Treatise is “the founding document of cognitive science”. Hume engaged with contemporary intellectual luminaries such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, James Boswell, and Adam Smith (who acknowledged Hume’s influence on his economics and political philosophy). Immanuel Kant credited Hume with awakening him from “dogmatic slumbers”.

The Enlightenment: The Pursuit of Happiness, 1680-1790 by Ritchie Robertson

A magisterial history that recasts the Enlightenment as a period not solely consumed with rationale and reason, but as a pursuit of practical means to achieve greater human happiness.

One of the formative periods of European and world history, the Enlightenment is the fountainhead of modern secular Western values: religious tolerance, freedom of thought, speech, and the press, of rationality and evidence-based argument. Yet why, over three hundred years after it began, is the Enlightenment so profoundly misunderstood as controversial, the expression of soulless calculation? The answer may be that, to an extraordinary extent, we have accepted the account of the Enlightenment given by its conservative enemies: that enlightenment necessarily implied hostility to religion or support for an unfettered free market, or that this was “the best of all possible worlds.” Ritchie Robertson goes back into the “long eighteenth century,” from 1680 to 1790, to reveal what this much-debated period was really about.

Robertson returns to the era’s original texts to show that the Enlightenment was about increasing human happiness – in this world rather than the next – by promoting scientific inquiry and reasoned argument. In so doing Robertson chronicles the campaigns mounted by some Enlightened figures against evils like capital punishment, judicial torture, serfdom, and witchcraft trials, featuring the experiences of major figures like Voltaire and Diderot alongside ordinary people who lived through this extraordinary moment.

In answering the question ‘What is Enlightenment?’ in 1784, Kant famously urged people to “have the courage to use your own intellect”. Robertson shows how the thinkers of the Enlightenment did just that, seeking a well-rounded understanding of humanity in which reason was balanced with emotion and sensibility. Drawing on philosophy, theology, historiography and literature across the major western European languages, The Enlightenment is a masterclass in big picture history about the foundational epoch of modern times.

Announcing Synchronicity Theatre’s 21-22 Stripped Bare Arts Incubator Projects

ATLANTA, GA – Atlanta’s Synchronicity Theatre is pleased to announce the four works that will be produced as part of this season’s Stripped Bare Arts Incubator Project. They are: What The Water Gave Me by Emily McClain, Jennifer Boutell, Rose Mancuso, and Gabrielle Diaz (October 27, 2021), How to Be A Lesbian by Kayla Parker (November 10, 2021), My Shell, My Shelter by Nadya Zeitlin and Peter Flamming (January 12, 2022), and The Free Woman’s Guide to Dying by Zeena Regis (May 11, 2022). Performances are free and open to a live, socially distanced audience at Synchronicity Theatre, 1545 Peachtree St NE Atlanta, GA 30309. Reservations are required. Complete project descriptions are below. Please go to synchrotheatre.com to reserve tickets and for more information.

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2021-2022 STRIPPED BARE ARTS INCUBATOR PROJECTS

What The Water Gave Me

By Emily McClain, Jennifer Boutell, Rose Mancuso, and Gabrielle Diaz

Performance Date: October 27, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.

Description:

Inspired by Frida Kahlo’s work of the same name centering on her self-comfort in times of grief, What the Water Gave Me is a  collaboratively written one act play exploring the themes of care-giving and motherhood through the lens of a  surreal theatrical experience: a modern day woman waking up in Frida Kahlo’s bathtub with no recollection of how  she got there (or how she travelled back in time) and discovering that Frida is convinced she is the reincarnation of  the child she recently miscarried. The two-woman play utilizes music and movement/dance elements to evoke  symbolic images of motherhood and nurturing found in Kahlo’s work, at the same time interrogating the toll those expectations take on the individual women. Throughout the course of the play, Vivian and Frida navigate their understanding of their connection to each other and bring the audience into awareness of how society’s notions of  motherhood and care-giving can become unbearable burdens that prevent women from self-actualization.

About the Artists:

Emily McClain is a professional playwright and theatre educator working at the new School of the Arts at Central Gwinnett High School. Emily is a proud member of Working Title Playwrights and the Dramatists Guild, and a founding member of Playwrights Thriving and Write Stuff Atlanta. Her play SLAYING HOLOFERNES was co-winner of Essential Theatre’s Playwriting Award and received a world premiere production in 2019. Her full length comedy JULIE’S PLACE was selected for the JOOKMS Spotlight Series in July 2020 and later went on to be a semi-finalist with the New American Voices with The Landing Theatre Company. Her tragedy TERMINUS ANDRONICUS was a finalist at the American Shakespeare Center Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries competition in 2019. Her play CHILDREN OF COMBS AND WATCH CHAINS was named a finalist for the Risk Theatre International Competition in August 2020. Her short plays have been staged at many professional theaters across the country including Mississippi, California, Wisconsin, Virginia, New York, and numerous venues in Georgia.

Jennifer Boutell has spent most of her life writing and making theatre with some fine, fine folks— including writing, directing, designing, and performing with these amazing Bodies. She was born and raised in Texas, moved to California, then New York, and now she lives in Georgia. SAG-AFTRA/AEA/DG/HRC jenniferboutell.com

Gabrielle Diaz is an actress and dancer based in Atlanta.

Odelia San Diego was raised by wild dogs in the forest of Patagonia. Then this Chilean actress came to the US to steal hearts and laughs through dark comedy and auto-bio stories.

Rose Mancuso has been singing, dancing, and making silly faces inside and out of the theatre for most of her life. She has a Bachelor’s of Musical Theatre from Coker University, and continues to train/cope with the Meisner Technique at the Robert Mello Studio. Some of her recent theatrical credits include: Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Shakespeare in the Ponce, Princess Katherine in Henry V with Shakespeare on Draught, and Vanda in Venus in Fur at Pinch n’ Ouch Theatre.

How to Be A Lesbian

By Kayla Parker

Performance Date: November 10, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.

Description:

How to Be A Lesbian is a comedy one act where a queer Black woman comes out of the closet and realizes that there is much more to being a lesbian than she anticipated. Led by an omniscient male voice, the protagonist is thrust into different sectors of lesbian culture, trying to figure out where she fits in.

About Kayla Parker:

Kayla Parker (she/her) is a writer, director, and actor. After receiving a B.F.A in acting from Howard University, she moved to Atlanta, GA excited to get involved in the bustling theatre community. Parker began her Atlanta career as an acting and directing intern at Actor’s Express during the 2019-2020 season. This year, Parker is excited to have produced her short piece, “On Being Born” as a DK Fellow with True Colors Theatre Company as well as being a writer for the serialized podcast drama, Crossroads, produced by Actor’s Express. Her latest project, Maschood, is a documentary film that was commissioned as part of the Alliance Theatre’s Spotlight Studio. Parker is ecstatic to be sharing, How To Be A Lesbian on the Synchronicity stage.

My Shell, My Shelter

By Nadya Zeitlin and Ptar Flemming

Performance Date: January 12, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.

Description:

A dance / physical theatre work, combining movement, original sound score and spoken word. This work explores how the view on the concept of home shifted during the pandemic. Feeling “at home” is presumed to be a positive one: a shelter that provides safety and rest. During the pandemic though, home became a prison that we had to lock ourselves into to avoid a dangerous disease and keep our loved ones healthy. Now every day is overwhelmingly routine and exhaustingly predictable, and every time we leave home, we do it with conflicting feelings. People developed a new array of neurotic disorders: Zoom fatigue, Zoom anxiety. Online shopping, empathy fatigue and infinite scroll are our coping mechanisms. This piece examines the question, how do we adapt to these new circumstances and stay as sane as possible?

About the Artists:

Nadya Zeitlin started her artistic journey with Gabbasov Sisters Dance Theatre in her home city Almaty, Kazakhstan. Since relocating to Atlanta in 2013, she has presented her works in various venues and curated two multi-disciplinary shows herself. In 2020 she founded Bautanzt Here, a site-specific dance theatre (from Bau – “build”, Tanzt – “dances” in German). Zeitlin’s works have been selected for feature at the Modern Atlanta Dance Festival 2015 (as a winner of 24 Hours Dance competition), Eyedrum Gallery, 368 PONCE, Midtown Players Club, Fall For Fall and Spring For Spring Dance Festivals, and EnCORE among others. Her work for the Solo Theatre’s Little Prince won Best Choreography at the International Festival of Russian-Speaking Children’s and Youth Theaters in Washington, DC in May 2019. In 2020 she has been honored with a Dance Canvas and Atlanta Contemporary Choreographic Residency, was chosen to participate in Excuse The Arts program by Fly on a Wall and Windmill Arts Center, and became a Hambidge’s Cross-Pollination Art Lab Fellow (facilitating Dance Hub ATL which was a part of the Art Lab). In 2020 Nadya received a grant from City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs to create a series of dance movies for the PANDEMIC ATLANTA initiative. To know more about Nadya, please go to https://www.bautanzt.art/

Ptar Flemming is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer based in Atlanta, Georgia. He specializes in electronic soundscapes, and intricate beat-oriented textures. Ptar worked with various dance artists across Atlanta: Jacquelyn Pritz, Fly on a Wall, The Mediums Collective, Atlanta Dance Collective, Benji Stevenson, and Kit Modus among others.

To know more about Ptar, please go to ptarmusic.squarespace.com  

The Free Woman’s Guide to Dying

By Zeena Regis

Performance Date: May 11, 2022 at 7:30 p.m.

Description:

She has always lived her life on her own terms, but will she be able to die that way? Cynthia has been an artist, a muse, a cult defector, a spy, a reality TV star, and so much more. But being a hospice patient is by far the hardest role. As the queen of reinvention, she is working to reinvent the deathbed. Cynthia hires a death doula to help coordinate her unconventional end-of-life plan that includes vibrators, edibles, and eclectic playlists, as well as notifying friends and lovers across the globe of her impending death. Cynthia uses her final wishes to reflect on her fabulous life and build a timeless legacy, inspiring the audience to do the same.

About Zeena Regis

Zeena Regis is a chaplain, consultant, and writer. Her training includes a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Agnes Scott College and a Masters of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary, where she was honored with the HJ Riddle Memorial Book Award for excellence in pastoral care. She is the founder of the Threshold Planning Project and is passionate about ensuring all people have access to quality and culturally-responsive end-of-life and grief resources.  Zeena was recently selected as a 2021-2022 fellow in Collegeville Institute’s Emerging Writers Mentorship Program.

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In addition to the 4 projects chosen to be part of this year’s Stripped Bare series, 5 additional applicants have been invited to apply to the 360 Arts BLVD “Boost” program.

About the 360 Arts BLVD Boost program:

360 Arts BLVD is partnering with Synchronicity for the second year in a row to offer scholarships to select Stripped Bare program applicants to their BLVD Boost program.

‘The BLVD Boost’, is a unique opportunity for professionals across the creative disciplines. Over six sessions, program recipients are provided with the tools needed to take their project to the next level by developing an effective promotional package and pitch. Each participant is awarded a $500 grant, the BLVD’s Boost “toolkit”, a coach to help guide them through the process, six (6) hours of rented studio space, and a team of creatives to help them complete their package.

As part of this partnership, Synchronicity will provide one day each in our rehearsal Annex for these two projects.

Stripped Bare Applications – Now Open!

The application process is now open for the Stripped Bare 2021-22 season.

Early-career and emerging artists are encouraged to apply!

Stripped Bare is Synchronicity Theatre’s arts incubator project. Created from a desire to use our theatre space to make a home for new theatrical works, and a place for artists to flex their wings, Stripped Bare is an incubator to test-drive new ideas.

Stripped Bare is so named because this is about theatre at its core. While we value all of the artistry that stage design brings to full productions, a Stripped Bare project is not about sets, lights, props, costumes. It is about actors, words, passion, movement and ideas.

Have a great project in mind and just need somewhere to get it off the ground? Consider applying for Stripped Bare, an arts incubator project for innovative projects by emerging artists.

View the application eligibility and guidelines here

Apply here: 21-22 Stripped Bare Application

2021 SYNCHRONICITY THEATRE SHERO HALL OF FAME

Synchronicity could not produce the smart, gutsy, bold theatre you know and love without our generous league of SHEROes. 

SHERO (n.) “she·ro”: A person who respects, advocates for, and uplifts women and girls.

Synchronicity SHEROes are superheroes with a mission to uplift the voices of women and girls behind the scenes and on the stage. A Synchronicity SHERO is dedicated to strengthening and sustaining a world of theatre where the voices of women are vital. Synchronicity’s “League of SHEROes” are everyday citizens who use their superpowers to support smart, gutsy, and bold theatre!

Upcoming Opportunities to be added to the Hall of Fame:

–        April 30 – Donate $50+ with your Women in the Arts and Business Luncheon registration

–        May 14th – Contribute to our Playmaking for Girls Match Fundraiser

Synchronicity Theatre Interviews Mirandy and Brother Wind Playwright and Composer Michael J. Bobbitt and John L. Cornelius!

Mirandy and Brother Wind is here! So, let’s hear a deeper dive from adaptation playwright, Michael J. Bobbitt and composer John Cornelius, interviewed by dramaturg, Dalyla McGee.

If the interview sparks a desire for more, join us LIVE with Synchronicity Theatre for the Mirandy and Brother Wind Virtual Viewing Party Saturday, March 20 at 7:00 PM! Join us for a virtual viewing of the show followed by a post-show discussion with the cast, production team, and the show’s playwright and composer, Michael J. Bobbitt and John L. Cornelius.

Get tickets HERE!

Explore virtual Dramaturgy Board HERE

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Dalyla McGee (DM): Why Mirandy, why now? 

Michael J. Bobbitt, Playwright (MB): “You know things are really tough right now with this pandemic and the racial reckoning of this country. And I think that our kids and all kids, need to see shows that celebrate the contributions of people of color to this country. We gave Music. We gave Dance. We gave Family. And I think Mirandy expresses that so well.”

DM: Black traditions carry so much history in song and dance, John, can you share about your process of bringing the appropriate sound to Mirandy?

John Cornelius, Composer (JC): With ‘Mirandy’ I chose the sound of wind instruments and hand-held instruments. Lots of Flute and Clarinet, Trumpets and Trombones, Acoustic Guitars, Upright Bass, Spinet Piano and lots of little percussion instruments like spoons, washboard, rattles, wind chimes. But, the orchestrations are enhanced by a rich string section, various keyboard effects and sounds. The effect is enhanced nature, since it does take place in a rural setting in the early 1900s.

DM: Why did you choose Mirandy to adapt for the stage? Was there a key jumping off point that inspired you to do so or through the process?

MB: I was at a book store with my kid.  While he was playing with Thomas, The Train, I was thumbing through children’s books on the shelves.  Since my kid is Asian and I am black, I tend to pick books that celebrate our culture.  When I saw the book cover and Jerry’s illustration, I was awestruck.   The precocious little girl, the rich texture and the fictional god-like character blowing wind all peaked my interest.  Since I was running a children’s theatre, I was always on the hunt to find stories to adapt.  I flipped the book over and read the synopsis, which was about a cakewalk and I knew that John and I HAD to write this.  The story of a kid, with ambition, the historical reference and music and dance as a plot point had to be a musical.

JC: The minute Michael said it’s about a little girl who wants to catch the wind to make him her dance partner, I was hooked. I knew I could write dance music, music for the wind, folk-inspired music and music for a quest.

DM: So many complex themes, that you glide through as if, well a cakewalk! Can you share a bit on the process of navigating these challenging topics such as slavery or cakewalks for TYA?

MB: In general, even when there are deeply important or painful issues, I try to dramatize them in a way that maintains the medium – which is entertainment.  What’s so great about theatre is that audiences can see real people navigating through whatever issue they are facing.  Mirandy is so likeable and to see her struggling allows kids to empathize and see themselves.  Even though she is a little out of touch with the former enslavement of her relatives she learns through this journey that making anyone do your bidding is not OK.  

DM: Hambone Hambone! You all do a lovely job of subtle suggestions to rich history that might be found in a single lyric! One of my favorites is « Hambone! », what’s one lyric you suggest audiences listen for?

JC: SIFT THE MEAL AND GIVE ME THE HUSK,

YOU BAKE THE BREAD AND GIVE ME THE CRUST,

YOU EAT THE MEAT AND YOU GIVE ME THE SKIN,

THAT’S WHERE ALL YOUR TROUBLES BEGIN!

Kinda sums up African-Americans status in the US for a long time. And, in spite of all the obstacles, we still find joy, inspiration, aspiration and reasons to celebrate! Also, listen for Mirandy to sum up her quest at the end of ‘I Wanna Dance With the Wind’, especially her shout-out to the birds!

DM: Any character that reminds you of yourself or a loved one?

MB: E’ery single one!  I write what I know.  The elders are highly based on my mother and grandmother who were interviewed when I wrote the play.  The characters that feel like me the most are Mirandy – ‘cuz I am driven, Ezel – ‘cuz I was sweet and clumsy (I broke many bones as a kid) and Brother Wind, ‘cuz I loved to dance.   

JC: Gran’Ma Beasley reminds me of my paternal grandmother, Celestine Bennett Cornelius – fiesty, but with generous nature AND my maternal grandmother, Mary Spencer Odell – keeping order around the house with a warm spirit.

DM: What do you hope families will walk away having learned from this show?

JC: I hope everyone learns (or, is reminded of) the importance of family, friendship and kindness and how they have to be nurtured to endure.

MB: Many things – to enjoy family and traditions and some of the lessons of not being mean or forcing people to do things against their will is what I hope they walk away learning.  But mostly, I want them to walk away knowing that black stories can be filled with joy and black stories can celebrate our contributions to society and not just the travesties of our traumatic history.   

Meet the Designer: Amber Brown

ABOUT THE SYNCHRONICITY THEATRE DESIGNERS OF COLOR INITIATIVE:

Designers of Color is an ongoing initiative to expand the diversity of backstage professionals in the Metro Atlanta area. The goal is to transform structural cultural bias paradigms by curating a new, holistic ecosystem that removes barriers to access, creates a pipeline from high school to design careers, and empower arts organizations to better receive and embrace BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) designers.

This work is done in partnership with our ever-growing list of partners, including:

Multiband Studios, South Fulton High School, Legacy Speaks, 360 Arts Blvd, Atlanta Theatre Artists for Justice, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, KSU, Spelman and Clayton State, and others.

1. What drew you to become a designer in your field?


Ever since I was a little girl I have loved props. I’ve always enjoyed using my imagination to then create
things with my hands.


2. What project are you currently working on? Can you tell us about your design process?


I am currently the Props Designer for Mirandy and Brother Wind here at Synchro. I’m also the
swing/understudy for the same show…. which is super exciting!
My process begins by reading the play at least 3 times all the way through. Next, I start taking notes of what I
think the props should be and which character will use them. My research usually includes reading historical
documents, communicating with the set designer(s) about their vision, and watching lots of videos of
experienced prop designers.

3. What is your biggest dream as a designer?


I’ve never gotten to combine my two favorite things: baking and props! My biggest dream is to be able to do
props design on a play or musical that has a lot of eating and drinking in the script and then have to make all
of the food for the actors myself……Waitress, maybe?

4. What do you believe can be done to make sure more people of color are represented as designers in the theatre
industry?


See us, seek us out, give us chances, and mentorships! All of these things would help people of color to be
more represented in the industry, while helping us grow. There are plenty more things that can be done;
however, these are just some of the immediate ways to get the ball rolling.

Keep up with Amber Brown and her work on Instagram @abtwo_colors