Synchronicity Theatre seeks Full-Time Development Director

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.  We produce great plays.  We take artistic chances to make our audiences think about important issues. We partner with community groups to deepen the relationship between our audiences and the work. Synchronicity makes its home on Peachtree in the heart of Midtown Atlanta.

Synchronicity is hiring a new full-time Development Director to build on a strong 21-year reputation for creating great theatre and building community in the Atlanta area.  In a staff of 5 full-time and 4 part-time people, this position is highly collaborative and will work closely with the Producing Artistic and Managing Directors to take Synchronicity to the next level.

DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR | *FULL-TIME POSITION  (40-50 hours/week)

The Development Director is responsible for implementing all fundraising activities to meet annual development goals for the company. Annually, this includes developing an annual plan; running 1 major and 4-5 smaller special events; cultivating individual donors;  implementing our annual giving campaign (including 1-2 crowd funding campaigns, 1-2 mailing campaigns); developing and shepherding corporate sponsors; and writing/managing 45-50 foundation, corporate and government grants.

Key competencies include outstanding writing and verbal communication skills, grant management experience, organizational skills, and advanced computer skills, including experience with fundraising database programs and Microsoft Office suite of programs and basic understanding of crowd funding platforms. Experience working closely with donors and board members required. Experience researching and cultivating prospective funding sources required.  Proficiency with Spektrix a plus. Event management experience with events of 150+ people strongly encouraged.

At least two years of fundraising experience and four-year degree required. 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.

SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDE:

  • Grants – research, write and manage private, corporate and government grant proposals
  • Design and manage detailed grants calendar and tracking sheet
  • Proper acknowledgement and management of all donor gifts
  • Tracking and communication of board giving/contributions
  • Manage donor database and work closely with Finance Manager to tracking funding throughout the year
  • Annual tracking of demographics, program evaluations and scope of services
  • Oversee the annual Women in the Arts luncheon, as well as season kick-off party. Coordinate 3-5 smaller donor cultivation events throughout the year.
  • Design and run the annual giving campaign which includes end of year mail out campaign, 1-2 crowdfunding campaigns, and season launch party for high end donors.

COMPENSATION

Salary is in the 30’s with benefits.  Start date: July 8.  Resume review and interviews will start May 30.

To apply, send cover letter with salary requirements, resume, and two writing samples to Celise Kalke, Managing Director at hiring@synchrotheatre.com.  No phone calls please.

Synchronicity Theatre is committed to recruiting and fostering a diverse community of staff. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. AA/EOE

Goodbye to Jerrilyn

Today, the world is a little less bright… and there are fewer fierce full-body hugs.
It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Jerrilyn Levetan.  Jerrilyn served on the Synchronicity Board for six years, and then joined our Advisory Council.  Even in the past year of her illness, she remained a stalwart supporter of our mission to uplift the voices of women and girls.  Jerrilyn’s true passion lay with our Playmaking for Girls program.  Every year she and her wife Linda would bring dinner to the girls during our summer program, and with Jerrilyn’s trademark giant grin, she would talk to the girls about their dreams and plans for the future.

Jerrilyn’s family has chosen to honor her love of the girls and our program with a special fund, which will support Playmaking for Girls this summer and into the future.  We are deeply honored by this gift and will work hard to uplift Jerrilyn’s legacy.

We hope you will join us in honoring Jerrilyn by attending one of our Playmaking for Girls summer program performances at 2:30 and 6:00 pm on June 15.

Please see below for a message from Jerrilyn’s family about the fund.

The Jerrilyn Levetan Fund
During the 8 years of Jerrilyn Levetan’s involvement with Synchronicity Theatre, she became passionate about the work this local theatre company does with at-risk and refugee girls in Atlanta through the Playmaking for Girls program.  Her love for this unique program inspired and elevated Synchronicity’s work during her tenure as a Board Member of the organization.

In honor of extraordinary service and life, Jerrilyn’s family has established the Jerrilyn Levetan Fund, to endow Playmaking for Girls participants during the summer program each year.  During the program, each girl signs a contract and is paid $100 for her work as an actor, which empowers the girls to value their time and teaches real-world skills and responsibility. Each dollar raised by the fund will be used to pay each of the girls during the program and they each will receive a letter with their pay every year, with Jerrilyn’s story and photo.

If you would like to make a gift in honor of Jerrilyn and this work she loved so dearly please contact Synchronicity by phone (404-484-8636) or by email at emma@synchrotheatre.com.

You may also send a check to 1545 Peachtree St. NE, Suite 102, Atlanta, GA 30309.  Please put Attention: Jerrilyn Levetan Fund.

 

Please make check out to Synchronicity Theatre and in the memo line note: The Jerrilyn Levetan Fund.

 

 

 

TAKE 5 … with ‘The Hero’s Wife’ playwright Aline Lathrop

AlineLathrop2018BPhoto: 16th Street Theater

THE HERO’S WIFE began for Chicago playwright Aline Lathrop when she read a 2013 Esquire magazine piece headlined: The Man Who Killed Osama Bin Laden … Is Screwed. It talked in depth with the retired Navy SEAL, then unnamed, credited with eliminating the al-Qaeda leader two years earlier in a Pakistan compound.

His post-SEAL life wasn’t going well.

“I still have the same bills I had in the Navy” he said, “but no money coming in from anywhere. I just want to be able to pay all those bills, take care of my kids and work from there. I’d like to take the things I learned and help other people in any way I can.”

THE HERO’S WIFE  had the first half of its world premiere in July at the 16thStreet Theater in Berwyn, Ill., outside Chicago. The second half, runs April 12 – May 5 at Synchronicity Theatre in Midtown (tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636). It follows a retired Navy SEAL named Cameron (Joe Sykes) and his wife, Karyssa (Rebeca Robles), as they try to find their way back to each other after a long time apart.

Aline, who gives her age as “grown,” lives in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood with husband Ben, a molecular engineer, teenage daughters Viviana and Isadora, and a Labrador retriever. She’s a 16th Street Theater artistic associate, a Chicago Dramatists resident playwright alumna and a Dramatists Guild member.

hero 2Joe Sykes as Cameron and Rebeca Robles as Karyssa. Photo: Jerry Siegel

Her kind of theater, Aline says, is intimate, whether in a small or large house. “I need to feel connected to the action onstage,” she says. She took time from rehearsals of her own intimate play to share some insights with dramaturg Kathy Janich.

 SYNCHRONICITY: How would you characterize your work?

ALINE: When I first started writing plays, I was driven by a desire to know and explore my own identity. These days I’m more interested in understanding others, the connections I can draw between us, the compassion I can find and the possibility of sharing that compassion with an audience. All my plays are intensely personal. But unless you’ve ever slept beside me, you probably won’t guess how.

S: Do you come from an artistic family?

A: I’m the only child of language teachers who are musical. My mother danced and played flute. My father could play any instrument, though, he said, not well. Language and music are basically the same, in my opinion. Interestingly, my father’s father, who was a wholesale bottle-cap salesman, was also a playwright published by Samuel French. He wrote short and clever “competition plays” for his daughter’s drama club.

For me, the experience of writing a play is rooted in my love of the vernacular, which I inherited from my father. It’s also like composing chamber music. I think my parents were disappointed when I didn’t turn out to be musical like they were, but it turns out that I am. It just comes out in dialogue.

S: What was your very first theater experience?

A: Other than ballet, it was a mime performance my father took me to when I was 3. I still remember parts of it. That night, on my instructions, my father used typing paper and staples to craft a white top hat like the mime’s, so that I could perform for my preschool the next day. For years, my ambition was to become a mime.

S: When did playwrighting become your career path, and why?

A: When I went to college majoring in theater, I had been acting professionally for many years. I even had some points toward an Equity card. I had also been writing – mostly poetry and some fiction. But something was changing in me. I didn’t crave being onstage anymore. I didn’t want to touch people I didn’t want to touch. I didn’t want to be the vehicle of someone else’s vision. My second year of college, I took a playwriting class, and as soon as I managed the shift to storytelling through dialogue, I was home.

I remember the electrical connection I felt with the audience as the conduit of a story when I was an actor. It was a high I didn’t believe could be matched. But when I started writing plays, I felt the quiet thrill of sitting in the dark, watching my vision unfold onstage, feeling the audience’s response no longer focused on me but all around me.

S: What playwrights, past or present, influence your work?

A: When I first started writing plays, I was also discovering Georgia O’Keeffe. One day, leafing through a book of her paintings and writings, I came upon some words of hers that reflected my own artistic ambitions: “I began with charcoal and paper and decided not to use any color until it was impossible to do what I wanted to do in black and white. I believe it was June before I needed blue.” The sentence “I believe it was June before I needed blue” became my mantra. It helped me hone a discipline of economy for which I hope my work is known. Also Chekhov, for all the desire and yearning that propels his characters so often to nothing at all.

S: Bonus question … What’s next?

A: I’m developing The Benefit Committee, a play about the dark side of the culture of achievement. It takes place in a school cafeteria where seven places are set for six women to fold 1,000 origami butterflies for a benefit to raise $250,000 for an organic kitchen garden and butterfly conservatory. After that, a play inspired by a classic and a film inspired by fear.

 

Synchronicity Theatre seeks After-School Drama Instructors

Final SPfK logoSynchronicity Theatre seeks experienced, talented, energetic lead and assistant instructors for its expanding Playmaking For Kids after-school program. Instructors guide participants age K-8 through how to transform their bodies and voices to create characters and tell stories on stage as an ensemble through creative play, with a focus on empowering children’s voices and building ensemble. Each session ends with a presentation for friends and family. Classes are held primarily in DeKalb County on-site at various locations, between the hours of 2:30 and 5:30 pm. Experience in theater education is a plus; junior and senior theatre majors are welcome to apply. Please email your resume, cover letter and 2 references to Program Director Taryn Carmona – Taryn@synchrotheatre.com.

Synchronicity is an equal-opportunity employer. More information: www.synchrotheatre.com.

Synchronicity is Excited to Announce Our New Managing Director . . . Celise Kalke!

Celise Banner

ATLANTA – The members of the Board of Directors of Synchronicity Theatre are pleased to announce that Celise Kalke has been selected to be the Company’s new Managing Director. Her official start date will be October 22, 2018.

On the heels of its Managing for Excellence grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Ms. Kalke, alongside Producing Artistic Director Rachel May, will usher in the next phase of the Company’s strategic development. She will direct all aspects of financial and business operations of the organization, from both a strategic and operational perspective, including long-range and annual planning. She will also be pivotal in working with the Board of Directors as it creates and executes fundraising and growth strategies. She will demonstrate a commitment to Synchronicity’s mission to uplift the voices of women and girls, and inspire confidence in stakeholders, artists, and patrons.

Since 2005, Ms. Kalke has been the Director of New Projects/Artistic Programs Manager at the Alliance Theatre, where she managed the development and production of world premiere new works, and discovered and mentored artists new to the field of American Theatre, including Academy Award-winner Tarell Alvin McCraney and Laurents/Hatcher-winner Jiréh Breon Holder. She also developed and grew the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition and the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab, which have launched the careers of multiple emerging playwrights and theatre artists.

From 2003 to 2005, Ms. Kalke was the Director of the Literary Department at the Public Theater in New York City, where she developed projects, managed playwright commissions and mentored emerging playwrights under producer George C. Wolfe. From 1999 to 2003, She was the Resident Dramaturg at the Court Theatre in Chicago. In the late 1990’s, Ms. Kalke was a Staff Dramaturg in the Julliard Drama Division, where she worked part-time with the Juilliard Playwrights program headed by Marsha Norman and Chris Durang, and with students such as Adam Rapp, Brooke Berman, David Lindsay-Abaire, Jessica Goldberg, and Michael Winn. She was a Dramaturg for Michael Kahn, Garland Wright, and JoAnne Akalaitis.

In the 1990s, Ms. Kalke lived in Prague, Czech Republic, was a member of Misery Loves Company a Czech/English company, and worked with the Narodni Divadlo and Divadlo Pod Palmovkou while a student at DAMU, the Prague Theatre Academy. She speaks Czech and German.

Mentor, teacher and invaluable resource to the Atlanta Theatre community, Ms. Kalke has worked with the Emory University Theatre Department, Creative Writing Department and Center for Ethics; Kennesaw State University; Atlanta Women in Theatre; Working Title Playwrights; and Actor’s Express.

“It’s an honor to join Rachel May, the Synchronicity Board, and this great staff in the work of uplifting women and girls,” says Ms. Kalke. “I am humbled in this historic moment to support Synchronicity’s mission, and so excited to assume a leadership position in the Atlanta theatre community. Synchronicity is poised for growth, and I’m honored to grow my strategic thinking and management skills with this wonderful company.  I’m excited for the opportunity to closely work with Rachel May, whose taste and artistry I’ve admired since I saw The Long Christmas Ride Home (2005).”

“As one of Synchronicity’s co-founders, I am so proud of our company’s growth in the past several years,” said Producing Artistic Director Rachel May. “Having Celise join us at this pivotal time in our history, as we move into the next phase of embodying our mission, is the perfect step forward. Celise’s smarts and reputation are un-paralleled, and she has deep collaborative roots in both the local and national theatre community. Beyond that, she is a strategic thinker, a visionary and a bridge-builder; the exact qualities we need in our new Managing Director. I cannot wait to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with her as we work with our stellar board of directors to get smarter, gutsier, bolder and bigger.”

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am thrilled to welcome Celise Kalke as Synchronicity’s next Managing Director,” said Geneva Gross, Chair of Synchronicity Theatre’s Board of Directors.  “Celise has not only been a supporter of Synchronicity over the years, but is excited to help fulfill the mission with innovative and strategic thinking that will help elevate and expand our outreach in the community.  Her leadership and business acumen, coupled with her deeply-rooted experience within the national theatre community, is exactly what we need during this exciting growth stage of the organization. We see the partnership between Celise as Managing Director, and Rachel as Producing Artistic Director, as marking an exciting chapter in our development.”

In June, playwright Lee Nowell stepped down as Managing Director of the organization in order to focus on a variety of creative projects. She remains an Artistic Associate for the Company. Since June, Virginia (Gin) Nugent has served as Interim Managing Director.

*   *   *

ABOUT SYNCHRONICITY THEATRE

Founded in 1997 by four women with a desire to work collaboratively and bring challenging, meaningful theatre to Atlanta audiences, Synchronicity Theatre produces smart, gutsy, high-quality theatre that sparks community connections and uplifts the voices of women and girls. Synchronicity supports women artists, forges long-term and effective community partnerships and develops new work. The Company reaches nearly 14,000 patrons a year through its season of plays for adults (Bold Voices) and families (Family Series); community outreach; educational programming, including Playmaking for Kids (PFK) summer camps and after school programs, and the award-winning Playmaking for Girls (PFG) program. An intimate theatre in the heart of midtown at Peachtree Pointe became Synchronicity’s home in the summer of 2014.

 

5 FUN FACTS: Playwright Jessica Swale

jessica swale

Nell Gwynn’s Jessica Swale never set out to be a playwright.

British playwright Jessica Swale’s Nell Gwynn runs through Oct. 21 at Synchronicity Theatre (details, tickets HERE or at 404.484.8636). Her script won London theater’s 2015 Olivier Award for best new comedy and makes its American debut this month at Synchronicity and Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

The comedy with song and dance is set in 1660 London. It charts the rise of an unlikely heroine — a quick-witted orange hawker and bawdy girl — from her roots in poverty to her success as Britain’s most celebrated actress and her place in the heart of King Charles II.

Here are a few fun facts about Swale and her play, compiled by production dramaturg Kathy Janich.

1.  NOT A WRITER: “Even thinking of myself as a writer took a bit of getting used to.” Swale, 36, spent 10 years as a director before losing herself in a research for a different project and being unable to let go. Thus, her first play, Blue It details the fight British women undertook in the 1880s for the right to a university education.

2.  WOMEN RULE: Her first draft for Nell Gwynn had roles for five women and seven men. “I put in another couple of parts for women, because I didn’t want there to be a gender imbalance, and now those parts are completely integral to the story.”

3.  WHEN/WHERE SHE WRITES: “All the time! I often snatch bits of writing time in the cracks of the day — on train journeys, for half an hour in a cafe before going out somewhere. I focus well in small windows of time.”

4.  SHE PROCRASTINATES: “All the time! I used to get told off for daydreaming at primary school. I realize now that meandering thinking is often the way you solve problems. If I’m stuck on a character or an element of a plot, often leaving it, then sloshing it around my head on the bus, leads me to solve it.”

5.  WHAT SHE WISHES SHE’D BEEN TOLD WHEN STARTING OUT: “That the theater was worthwhile and rewarding as a career. All jobs are insecure now, so why not do the thing you love?”

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Synchronicity seeks new Managing Director

Managing Director

Synchronicity invites applications and nominations for the position of Managing Director.  The Managing Director will build on a strong 20-year reputation for creating great theatre and building community in the Atlanta area.  In a staff of 5 full-time people, this position is highly collaborative and will work closely with the Producing Artistic Director to continue Synchronicity’s upward trajectory.

The ideal candidate is smart, flexible and detail-oriented.  This organizational leader will be equally comfortable with collaboration and clear decision-making .  Alongside the Producing Artistic Director, the new Managing Director will create an environment where staff performs at their highest capacity, demonstrate a commitment to Synchronicity’s mission to uplift the voices of women and girls, and inspire confidence in stakeholders, artists and patrons.

View the Job Description (PDF)

About Synchronicity

Synchronicity Theatre is a nonprofit theatre company that produces smart, gutsy and bold theatre to spark community connections and uplift the voices of women and girls. Since bursting onto the Atlanta scene in 1997, Synchronicity has produced bold, high-quality and entertaining plays that resonate with our audience, our community and our lives. We take artistic chances to make our audiences think about important issues. We partner with community groups to deepen the relationship between our audiences and the work.  Recently awarded the prestigious Managing for Excellence award from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Synchronicity operates a vital, 138-seat theatre space in the heart of midtown Atlanta.

Search Process

Synchronicity is an equal opportunity employer, dedicated to the goal of creating a diverse and inclusive working environment.

To nominate an individual for this position, or to apply, please contact the search committee with an email titled ‘Managing Director: YOURNAME’ at hiring@synchrotheatre.com and include:

· Cover letter of interest
· Salary requirements
· Resume
· 3 references with permission to contact
· 2 professional writing samples (fundraising letter, grant, etc)

Applications will be reviewed starting August 15, 2018

The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s 2018 Managing for Excellence Award goes to…Synchronicity Theatre!

Community Foundation announces Managing for Excellence recipients

Annual award recognizes region’s highest-performing nonprofits

ATLANTA – July 13, 2018 – Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta announces that Synchronicity Theatre and YMCA of Metro Atlanta are 2018 Managing for Excellence award recipients. A stalwart, highly competitive recognition among the 4,300 nonprofits across Atlanta’s 23-county region, Managing for Excellence recognizes operational innovation and effectiveness for a well-run organization and is given to both a small and large nonprofit annually. Through more than 67 years of work with nonprofits, the Community Foundation has identified key factors that drive an organization’s success and community impact—including board and staff engagement, sound fiscal health, investment in the organization’s talent and infrastructure, thoughtful evaluation practices and commitment to continuous improvement. Managing for Excellence launched in 1984 to recognize and reward nonprofits that exemplify these strong characteristics.

 

Recognized in the small nonprofit category (annual operating budget under $2 million), Synchronicity Theatre offers diverse programs that challenge the mind and build empathy through the creation of new theatrical work that empowers females. Founded in 1997, Synchronicity has a strong culture of planning, is forward-thinking and has become a critical component of Atlanta’s arts ecosystem.

 

“The Managing for Excellence award is humbling. Synchronicity Theatre’s board, staff, and artists work hard to connect purpose, passion and artistry on a daily basis,” said Rachel May, producing artistic director of Synchronicity Theatre. “Excellence is always our goal, as we engage, empower and uplift voices in our community. We do this while keeping our hearts set on collaboration and bridge-building.” She added, “This award is a powerful recognition of our 20 years of service to Metro Atlanta, and an affirming investment in our future. We are deeply grateful for this recognition of both our impact and our methods and will work to honor this gift with renewed commitment to our mission to uplift the voices of women and girls and build community through smart, gutsy, bold theatre. Thank you to the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta for this truly transformative award.”

 

The Managing for Excellence judges noted that Synchronicity’s diverse array of theatrical productions have shown a 49 percent increase in individual ticket sales and an 81 percent increase in group sales since 2014. Largely due to the organization’s responsiveness to feedback, creative changes like pajama-friendly shows for families and thoughtful positioning of its theater as a venue for other artists and community groups have been incorporated. The organization manages a healthy mixture of revenue, including ticket income from performances, proceeds from renting out its venue, foundation funding and individual support, resulting in surpluses for the last three years.

 

“Managing for Excellence takes a close look at operational superiority from a broad range of criteria that are highly scrutinized by the judging panel,” said Lesley Grady, senior vice president, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. “We’re not over analyzing programming in this particular review, but rather looking at a higher level, at their big-picture operations and best practices. Strong programming is important, and it naturally emerges when organizations are operating efficiently on all cylinders behind the scenes.”

 

YMCA of Metro Atlanta (YMCA) was chosen among large nonprofit organizations with annual operating budgets over $2 million. YMCA has served the Atlanta community for 160 years, promoting healthy lifestyles and equal opportunities to learn and grow.As Atlanta has grown, the YMCA has responded with new programs to meet the unique needs of children and adults, while demonstrating sound financial management, strong governance and a commitment to long-term strategy.

 

“On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, we are grateful to be recognized as the 2018 Managing for Excellence award recipient by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta,” said YMCA Board Chair, Scott Taylor. “For 160 years, the Y has served the Atlanta community and has grown and evolved to meet the changing needs of our city. As we look to the future, the Y is committed to being a leading organization in advancing education, wellness and volunteerism to build stronger and healthier communities. We would like to thank the Community Foundation for selecting the Y to receive the Managing for Excellence award and for the Foundation’s leadership in creating positive impact throughout our city and region.”

 

Managing for Excellence judges emphasized how the YMCA has an expansive impact beyond what they are historically most often associated with, physical activity. They are making strides with summer programming that improves academic outcomes, building resources to provide financial assistance for access to facilities and activities, and all the while tracking and evaluating metrics identified in a 10-year strategic plan. Other strong points include a rigorous budgeting process and regular operating surpluses.

 

“Beyond strong, day-to-day operations, it’s critical that nonprofits look at the long game to identify and nurture talent so that they can continue to provide the programs that constituents need and respond to changes quickly,” said Karthik Valluru, partner and managing director for BCG in Atlanta. “For the YMCA, the review committee recognized its thoughtful monitoring of facilities and its engaged pipeline of staff and volunteers. For Synchronicity, it was the theater’s quick ability to secure new space in a recent move and willingness to experiment with innovative programming.”

 

Managing for Excellence applicants were ranked against competitive criteria of more than 80 characteristics and best practices to win the award. Following a two-phase formal written application and in-person site visit process, the review committee selected this year’s winners. Each organization receives a robust award package, including a $75,000 grant from the Community Foundation, consulting services from Managing for Excellence partner, Boston Consulting Group, participation in a nonprofit management class at the KelloggSchool of Management at Northwestern University as well as ongoing opportunities for recognition.

# # #

 

About the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Since 1951, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta has been connecting the passions of philanthropists with the purposes of nonprofits doing that work. With 67 years serving the 23-county Atlanta region and a robust team of experts, the Community Foundation manages the behind-the-scenes details, empowering our donors to focus on the joy of giving. The Community Foundation is a top-20 community foundation nationally with approximately $1.1 billion in current assets and is Georgia’s second largest foundation. Through its quality services and innovative leadership on community issues, the Foundation received more than $144 million from donors in 2017 and distributed more than $100 million that same year to support nonprofits throughout the region and beyond. In 2018 Charity Navigator named the Community Foundation a four-star rated nonprofit, its top distinction. For more information, visit: cfgreateratlanta.orgor connect with the Foundation via Facebook, LinkedInand Twitter.

 

Media Contact:

Louise Mulherin, 404.405.1070

lmulherin@cfgreateratlanta.org

 

Post-Post- The Ood Reflection

Motherhood and labor can take the wind out of you. It’s been three weeks since post-partum and I am just now able to sit, reflect and rub the birthing belly. The Ood gestated over a year ago. There was no real knowledge of what to do with it, where to foster its growth. It was a simple, overwhelming feeling, a need to yield a work that questioned how to rear children in this present world.

I have an eight-year-old son. Minka has a teenage daughter. Yakini has two young bright eyed ones not yet five. This is a personal conversation, a personal dialogue and set of instructions that played out in the making of The Ood. For these co-conspirators and our young hearted babes, I meditate on the need to continue practicing The Ood’s queries, performing its instructions, because the challenges of being black, of being mother, woman or man, or child, in flesh reflective of myriad dark tones and marred by an American history, charged and resilient within an American history, is not suited for a one off performance. Expect more of this. Expect more of me.

I am grateful to Synchronicity’s Stripped Bare Lab for the resources, the support, and the ‘yes’ to experimentalism. It is exciting to get support from an institution in your hometown. Even greater, getting a ‘yes’ from an arts institution and having legit space to do WHATEVER you seek to do without feeling bound…THE BEST. That’s trust. That’s a brilliant beginning to a new formal practice. I look forward to cultivating more with Synchronicity, the arts community and the city of Atlanta.

–Danielle Deadwyler

TAKE 5 with ‘Ripe Frenzy’s’ Jennifer Barclay

Photo by Jim Barclay

EVEN WHEN PLAYWRIGHT JENNIFER BARCLAY isn’t doing theater, she’s well  … doing theater. Jennifer — playwright, educator, onetime actor, wife, mom — teaches acting and playwriting at the University of Maryland, a gig built to give her plenty of time for writing, workshops and rehearsals.

In any “free moments,” she’s with her 3-year-old son, 5-year-old daughter and husband Andrew Barclay Newsham, a British-born fiction writer. Even her parents are artists. Mom is a potter, Dad a photographer. Together the four have their own website: barclaystudios.com.

RIPE FRENZY, the drama that brings Jen to Synchronicity, tells the before and after of a mass school shooting. As director Rachel May says, “It’s about what got us here and what we do afterward.” The script won the 2016 National New Play Network Prize for Political Theater and is in the midst of a three-city rolling world premiere (Atlanta comes between New Rep in Watertown, Mass., and Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles).

The moms and best friends of RIPE FRENZY (from left) Danyé Evonne, Taylor M. Dooley and Megan Cramer. Photo: Jerry Siegel

Jen’s kind of theater hits her simultaneously in the brain and the gut, inspires her, shocks her, gives her chills and takes her on a wild, empathetic ride. In the midst of rehearsals for her own wild, empathetic script, she shared some thoughts with dramaturg Kathy Janich.

SYNCHRONICITY: How did you settle on the title RIPE FRENZY?

JENNIFER (cryptically): I like to keep that answer close to my chest, because I’m interested in audiences finding their own personal connection to it.

S: When and how did this play begin for you and where in the history of U.S. school shootings does its genesis fall? 

J: This play was ignited by a conversation with video designer Jared Mezzocchi. We were curious about how social and journalistic media in our country may be perpetuating mass shootings by playing to the national audience. We wondered what we would discover if we turned the mirror on ourselves, on our society. TV journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward had recently been shot live on-air in Virginia by a man wearing a GoPro.

Jared Mezzocchi

A triptych of his GoPro footage was later published on the cover of the New York Post, and everyone who passed the news boxes and saw the images, was put behind his eyes and inside his mind. Jared and I began to do more research and learned about the No Notoriety campaign, which implores media to stop giving shooters the attention they crave and to stop publishing the plans and manifesto that give the shooter a platform and simultaneously inspire the next shooter.

After our research phase, I holed up on my own to find the specific story and characters and write the first draft. That was when I discovered A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold, the mother of one of the Columbine shooters. Motherhood became my personal window into this world.

S: Would you please talk about the role of video in RIPE FRENZY and your partnership with Jared?  

J: I’ve been invigorated by early collaborations recently — meaning, I begin my research and world-building with collaborators before I go away to write the script. It’s very unusual for a playwright and designer to work together before there’s a script, and we were both excited by the challenge of making projection design integral to the dramatic arc instead of just being set dressing.

During our first workshop, Jared was in the room listening as if he was the character who is embodied by the design. He used his acting skills to get inside the character’s skin, and we continued to develop the character arc together. A great collaborator elevates a script beyond what the playwright could have imagined, and that’s exactly what Jared does. In fact, that’s what the whole company of this Synchronicity production has done.

S: What kinds of theater excites you?

J: I love theater that is highly physical and irreverent, that opens up new worlds and perspectives. I love female-driven stories that explode stereotypes. And I love theater that is highly theatrical — meaning it demands to be performed live, instead of imitating film or TV.

S: How did you decide to use Our Town as a lens through which to see your play, and could you please talk about your synchronicity with playwright Thornton Wilder?

J: Every night of the year, it’s said, a theater audience somewhere in the country is watching Our Town. It is such an iconic American play that gets to the heart of our country’s identity in the 1930s, and I wondered, “Are mass shootings becoming the new iconic American experience? Something we all go through, in every region, in big cities and small towns?”

A production of OUR TOWN somewhere in America.

I wrote RIPE FRENZY while I was a fellow at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, N.H., the same place Wilder wrote Our Town. His cabin was a few doors down from where I wrote, and he based Grover’s Corners on Peterborough. I based Tavistown on a combination of Grover’s Corners, Peterborough and my own hometown of Rochester, N.Y.

After MacDowell, I got to workshop RIPE FRENZY at the Ojai Playwrights Conference in California. It was only once I arrived in Ojai that I learned Wilder lived on that exact same plot of land when he attended the Thacher School in 1912. Synchronicity, indeed.

Our Town dovetailed thematically with the big ideas I wanted to explore, including the simultaneity of youth and impending death, and the idea of what it would be like if we could go back and witness our innocence in the midst of a simple, happy day in our past. Zoe compares herself to the Stage Manager and resists the truth that she is really much more like Emily — witnessing her life under the weight of knowing what happens next.

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RIPE FRENZY runs April 13-May 6 at Synchronicity Theatre in Midtown. Details, tickets ONLINE or at 404.486.3686.