“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
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.
“… the young actors relate to characters they created and, for the first time, maybe, have a model for working out problems before they’re really facing them. This group of girls used to expecting little and getting less quickly warms to a room full of women who won’t give up on them. “
– Jamie Gumbrecht, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Reporter
“Playmaking for Girls affirms every ounce of [the girls] beings through their loving, unconditional care and belief in these girls.”
-Inspire Shalom, Playmaking for Girls Community Partner
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
Job: Synchronicity Theatre Communications and Marketing Director
Job Description: The Communications and Marketing Director devises and implements an annual strategy for audience development and external communications. Working with the Managing Director, Producing Artistic Director and Development Director, this position will strategize institutional marketing campaigns, to achieve earned income sales goals across the organization. This very hands-on position ensures a creative and innovative process which is collaborative, under budget, on time and professionally managed. The Communications and Marketing Director is responsible for audience and stakeholder growth and increased brand presence in the community and nation-wide. This position also has a heavy sales lead generation work load.
Key competencies include: outstanding written and oral communication, fierce attention to detail, a joy of managing many moving parts, strong organization, advanced computer and design;, copy writing, social media content fluency; strong public relations abilities including press pitches, messaging/positioning, and listings. Good working knowledge of the theatre community and its resources a plus. Video editing/producing skills a plus, as well as experience with Photoshop and Canva. Experience with Spektrix or like CRMs a plus. Must be attracted to highly-collaborative work environment.
Key Areas of oversight: • Strategy + implementation for achieving earned income goals including marketing five full productions, new play development activities including Stripped Bare, and the Playmaking for Kids after-school and camp education programs • Press + communications including pitches, releases, and listings. • Brand + collaterals – website, print pieces, etc. envisioning, coordination with graphic designer towards scheduling, producing and implementation. • Social media content creation: strategy, platforms and calendar, packet for artist; work with artistic social media liaison for each project/production. • Coordinate marketing efforts for fundraising/development events and campaigns; • Data Analysis and implementation, including post-show analysis. • Website content and development. • Manage Digital and Physical advertising. • Manage and create the program as well as donor acknowledgements, sponsorships responsibilities and (limited) ad sales. • Poster distribution and staffing. • Manage communication about systems and specific show concerns with the Front of House staff (working with the Managing Director and Patron Services and Development Associate). • Set and manage opening night receptions, open dress rehearsals. • Program editing, creation, distribution and printing. • With Patron Services and Development Associate, oversee CRM. • With Patron Services and Development Associate, hire, train and oversee box office staff. • Oversee Synchronizers ambassador program. • Along with other FT staff serve as Producer on Duty for 20% of Synchronicity performances. • Serve as staff liaison to Brand and Brand Awareness Board committee. Work closely with board members on brand awareness and audience engagement strategies and initiatives. • Marketing support for rentals. • Other duties as assigned.
Key responsibilities: Tasks for this position include (but are not limited to): designing and implementing Institutional marketing strategies, ticket sales and education sales campaigns and finding integrated channels to connect aspects of the organization; managing all press and media relationships, the creation and booking of television and billboard advertising, creation and implementation of the annual marketing plan – including all calendar elements and deadlines; overseeing the box office experience – including training front of house staff, ensuring website is up to date, managing relationships with discounted ticket vendors and partner theatres, and managing the Patron Services and Development Associate; overseeing the creation and timely printing/mailing of all season and show collaterals, working side-by-side with the rest of the staff to implement the strategic plan.
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 Brand and Audience Awareness committee, flexibility and nimbleness. Fluency with Spektrix or similar CRM helpful.
Salary: $40,000 Reports to: Managing Director Hours: Full time, some nights and weekends required. Benefits: Liberal 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Job: Patron Services and Development Associate
Job Description: Patron Services and Development Associate
The Patron Services and Development Associate is the first point of contact with patrons and a resource for donors. This position will be the on-site staff for 75% of box office shifts with five productions a year to ensure a consistent, positive patron experience, and train and oversee contract box office staff. They will work closely with front of house and other staff producers on duty to ensure a high-quality patron experience. Between shows, the PS&D Associate will manage group and student matinee sales and contracts and well as manage daily box office phone communication. They will manage Synchronicity’s use of a CRM (Spektrix), through building out the season and events and support the Development Director with date tracking, data entry, list pulls, and generation of donor acknowledgement letters. Additionally, this position will oversee subscriber and donor benefits fulfillment. Must be both independent and attracted to highly collaborative work environment. This position will work closely with the Communications and Marketing Director and the Development Director.
Key Areas of oversight:
75% of box office shifts Synchronicity productions.
Ideate, source and track Merchandise, work with Managing Director to purchase and track inventory.
Oversee box office + box office/customer service during daytime hours.
With External Communication and Marketing Director train additional box office support staff.
Box office systems, tools and communication.
Student matinee correspondence and scheduling.
Patron and Donor questions and requests.
Entering individual donations and creating Donor Acknowledgement letters.
Managing Donor recognitions and benefits.
Track performance capacity and other data for Managing Director and External Communications and Marketing Director.
Auction support for the Women and the Arts and Business event.
Support Development Director and Communications and Marketing Director on events.
Pick-up and delivery of collaterals from printer & mail house.
Works with the show’s dramaturg and/or other staff members on designing and implementing creative lobby displays.
Key competencies include outstanding communication skills, fierce attention to detail, advanced computer design skills. Good customer service instincts and problem-solving capabilities needed. Experience with Canva and In-Design a plus. Experience with Spektrix or other CRM a plus.
Reports to: Managing Director
Hours: Half Time; nights and weekends required.
Benefits: Simple IRA Match plan after 12 months.
To apply please send resume and cover letter to Celise Kalke, Managing Director via email to email@example.com by April 21, 2021.
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 PartySaturday, 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.
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.
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
Hands In!, an organization based in Athens, GA will interpret three upcoming productions.
ATLANTA, GA – For three upcoming productions in the 2020-2021 season, Synchronicity Theatre will be partnering with Hands In!, an organization based in Athens, GA that produces and interprets original artistic works in American Sign Language (ASL).
All “On the Screen” ticket holders for A Year With Frog and Toad (Dec 11—Jan 3), Mirandy and Brother Wind (Jan 29—Feb 21), and The Bluest Eye (June 7—27)will be receiving links to two versions of the performance – one with interpreters and one without – in their ticket confirmations.
Hands In! connects communities by promoting accessibility in the arts and produces workshops, classes, and community events. Using two artistically-trained interpreters for each show, American Sign Language will be used to sign dialogue and to echo the emotions in the words and songs. There will always be two interpreters on screen at the same time, and they will be playing the different characters, along with the actors.
The production will be recorded and shot with up to four cameras spread throughout the theatre. Felipe Barral of IGNI Productions and Amanda Sachtleben will record the interpreters in a live performance, with possible pick-ups, then in post-production create windows that show the interpreters in a “one picture format,” interpreting the performance simultaneously.
During filming, the interpreters will be unmasked and socially distanced, or they will be wearing clear plastic masks that do not disrupt interpretation. Everyone involved will adhere to Synchronicity Theatre’s COVID-19 safety protocols.
For more information on this partnership, or to purchase $10 “On the Screen” tickets, please visit synchrotheatre.com.
ABOUT HANDS IN!
Hands In! is a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit based out of Atlanta, GA that aims to connect communities by promoting accessibility in the arts. Hands In! produces original works such as workshops, classes, and community events with a special interest in theatre and jukebox musicals, all of which are fully accessible in American Sign Language. Anyone and everyone can enjoy their visually immersive shows.
In her autobiographical work, Dust Tracks On a Road, novelist, essayist, and playwright Zora Neale Hurston writes, “No, I do not weep at the world—I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.” This oft-cited quote accentuates Hurston’s perspective on the world: one where she is less concerned with the way she is viewed as a black woman, but more so on her own self-definition. This is the way we enter into rip: a woman, on stage, sharpening a knife. Through poetic meditations and striking visual imagery, Danielle Deadwyler takes us on a wayward journey, exploring, in her own words, “what emerges after a rip.”
What is presented is “equal parts performance art and domestic drama” that re-members a black woman that has been dismembered by the world. Adapted from her MFA thesis, entitled “the dissolution of things,” rip pushes the bounds of what is even considered theatre. Throughout the development and rehearsal process, Deadwyler was insistent on the nebulous and wayward aesthetic of rip; nothing about the final product rests on tradition in any way, whether it’s her emphasis on the show not being pretty or on the fact that she doesn’t even consider it to be a play. Dance and movement is, similar to sound, just as important to the young woman’s development through the piece; from start to finish, her movement animates the anxieties of the words. This multiplies rip’s transformational multidisciplinarity, demonstrating the tradition of black women’s performance culture that disrupts traditional modes of theatre making.
Deadwyler’s words are accompanied by a gorgeous soundscape; even in simply reading the words, one can almost hear the sharpening of the knife, the bouquet of voices in the chorus, the weight of the words of a black woman beaten down by the world. “Chopped and screwed,” a hip hop remixing technique that originated in Houston, Texas by DJ Screw, underlies rip’s corporeal and sonic form. In the piece, the woman begins and ends with a knife; she is both screwed by and screws society, chopping up expectation into pieces and using the fragments to fashion a new self.
Of equal importance is the important work of the chorus. Drawing inspiration from cultural historian, Saidiya V. Hartman’s text, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval, rip beautifully incorporates her notion of the chorus, an aural representation of ancestral and communal connection among black women. Hartman understands the chorus as the choral interludes illustrate black feminist collectivity, as we are often the ones who nurture and challenge each other, fully accepting the nuance and dimension of black womanhood. The chorus is the conceptual glue of rip, a reminder to all that none of us can go this alone, that we can and do lean on one another and that we open the way for us to find ourselves. The refrain of the chorus, in Hartman’s words, “opens the way” and “propels transformation”; toward the conclusion of rip, she is on the new, open path, having been ripped open.
Thus, rip is a rehearsal of the possible within the seemingly impossible. In its liminal space of not-quite-theatre, of not-quite-performance art, of not-quite-dance, yet and still, it embodies the multitudinous worlds of them all. It pushes the bounds of art-making practices, demonstrating the ways that black women have a vision of the world not as it is, but as it could be. This intimate journey is anything but delicate and pretty; in fact, Deadwyler openly leans into its difficulty, its illegibility, its ugliness. What emerges after a rip, then, is not a definitive answer, but a clarified question. Deadwyler’s rip narrates a process of becoming: ripping away from expectation and swimming into endless possibility.
If you got to see Wayfinding, you actually got to partially see the sets for 4×4 in person – we decided to recycle and reimagine it. The main inspiration for this series was stages without any dressing: no set onstage, no temporary risers for performances, no lit drops, simply the original architecture/bones of a theater. 4×4, at its core, is truly a celebration of theater and art continuing to push forward through the uncharted waters of what 2020 has brought us.
Part of the challenge on designing a unit set for four completely different shows was figuring out ways to differentiate each from the other with minimal yet creative changes. The Wayfinding set was repurposed in this case so that more budget could be allocated towards said unique changes you will see throughout the run. We kept the back wall & moving wall structures but refaced them with faux brick, added 2 side walls to maximize projection surface options, and removed all the fabric from the metal structures to suggest truss structures that you would typically see in wings of theaters behind the curtains. We also repainted and laid down a faux wood floor, one of many elements that will change before the next show, Chorus of Bears, comes to the stage.
For Backstage and Other Stories, we utilized every small trick in the book, with rolling furniture, flashing proscenium lights around the center moving wall, fishing wire that hung frames containing pictures from Terry Burrell’s respected career and moving the red house curtains in and out at times. I wanted Stiff to feel more intimate, so we pushed the two smaller platforms together, shifted the moving walls more downstage, brought the house curtains in, and added some different dressing to give it a more relaxed ambiance.
Stay tuned to see the exciting further changes in the remainder of the productions!