Image courtesy of ICT from 25th Anniversary Opening Night Gala.
Long Beach’s resident professional theatre company, International City Theatre (ICT)’s Community Partnership program focuses on three goals: bringing Long Beach’s diverse community together, raising funds for college scholarships and giving youth opportunities to experience live, professional theatre.
One of ICT’s earliest Community Partnerships was in 2002 surrounding Athol Fugard’s Master Harold and the Boys, according to Artistic Producer caryn desai. This year, the partnership will kick off fundraising for the program during its Opening Night Gala on Friday, August 19 with dinner in the lobby, a performance of the Pulitzer and Tony award-winning DOUBT and an after party with the cast, all to raise funds for bringing more students to the stage, as well as aid art students with their college tuition.
“We will ask for donations there, we will celebrate the whole partnership and introduce the community members and what our purpose is: to increase participation and appreciation for the theatre for students that may not have access to performances,” said a key leader of the program, Dr. Sharon Valear Robinson.
Organized largely by Robinson, Marva Lewis and Stevi Meredith, Robinson says ICT’s Community Partnership team is determined to bring 200 youth to the Students to Stage program this year and says they’re about halfway there. The program targets high school students in Long Beach to give them a chance to not only see DOUBT, but to meet the cast and learn about the other aspects of theatre, such as the artistry behind the stage set and the coordination involved with lighting it.
“I think that any time we have the opportunity to expose students to different fields of entertainment and careers... we talk about the fact that it’s not just the performance, but there’s the stage, there’s the lighting, all of that has to do with the performing arts. And to expose students to those things sparks interest and many times helps students stay in school because they have a focus,” said Robinson.
Those interested in helping out can always donate to the scholarship fund, while the partnership’s goal for this year is to help two students who have been accepted into a college art program with their tuition, whether they’re studying theatre arts or visual arts. Students can get a head start on next year’s round of scholarship applications by filling out the application here.
“Not only do I believe that exposure to the theatre enriches their lives it also gives them other kinds of options,” Robinson continued. “I can’t tell you how many of the students come and will want to go back. I really believe that we should do more of that with our youngsters.”
To purchase a table or ticket to Friday’s gala, with the proceeds to benefit the Community Partnership Education and College Scholarship Fund, click here. A $25 donation is enough to send one student to the Student to Stage Program, to take place on Sunday, September 11.