5 Ways the Alliance Served Our Community in 2020
2020 In Review: 5 Ways We Served Our Community
As 2020 comes to a close, we reflect on what it means to be a socially responsible organization—to care for our people whose livelihood (in some cases) evaporated overnight, to strengthen our communities and networks in mutually beneficial ways, and to care for our own physical, financial, mental, and emotional health. If we learned anything this year, it’s that even the smallest action can have a ripple effect.
These 5 ripples began with an intention to serve our community during this challenging year.
1. Face Masks Courtesy of The Alliance Theatre
In the Spring, our talented craftspeople in the Costume, Props, and Stage Ops departments produced masks and gowns during the state-wide PPI shortage. They made a whooping 7,000+ handmade masks to outfit medical personnel and community organizations and over 1,300 isolation gowns went to frontline workers at Grady and Emory Hospitals. We donated masks to YMCA early classrooms, Voices for Georgia Children and other non-profits, and this holiday season gave 1,000 masks to the Latin American Association and WeLoveBuHi for their holiday drives serving families in-need along Buford Highway.
Pic: our masks were seen in the state legislature in June!
2. Free Access to Groundbreaking Digital Play about Racism
In August, we produced A Kid Play About Racism with our partners at the Bay Area Children’s Theatre and Seattle Children's Theatre. The production was available to stream for free on Broadway On Demand and intended to offer young children and families a way to engage in meaningful conversation about race. The collaboration led to a nationwide event, with many more theatres signing on to participate, and 75,000+ viewers across the country and internationally tuned in to view the production in early August. The Alliance not only served as a lead producer but also created educational videos for families and delivered three Fearless Families workshops as part of the event.
And, in October, our monthlong Hands Up Atlanta program drew 650+ viewers to free community conversations about the role of art in challenging racism and creating a space for healing for the BIPOC community.
Pic: Jessenia Ingram, our Spelman Leadership Fellow, was one of the 7 actors (she’s on the lower right)
3. Scholarships for Alliance Classes
In September, we received a grant from the Home Depot Backyard to support 25 full-tuition scholarships for our fall acting classes. We offered the scholarships to our school partners looking for ways to virtually engage students after school. What we didn’t anticipate was the demand for these classes. Thanks to the Alliance Board, we bridged the demand with a campaign that raised funds for 78 full-tuition scholarships, which were distributed in the fall and will continue to serve as seed funding for an ongoing Alliance Theatre Education Scholarships initiative!
4. Serving Georgia Classrooms, Educators and Students during COVID-19
Since March, the Alliance Theatre Institute assisted teachers and school districts making the switch to distance learning. The team built a virtual resource page for educators and designed curriculum to sustain and improve student academic and social-emotional growth through quality arts education. The Institute has now...drum roll please...served 725 classrooms, 1,144 teachers, and roughly 13,500 students through its virtual residency program. In addition, we’ve reached nearly 3,000 pre-k students in 51 counties throughout the state through a partnership with the Georgia Department of Early Care.
5. A Community-Oriented Christmas Carol
This month, we pivoted to make the Christmas Carol a Covid-safe, drive-in experience in the Summerhill neighborhood. Not only did we bring back people from our production team from furlough and employ Atlanta artists and crew members, but the production also leaned into the spirit of sustaining the community through the joy of theatre:
We worked in tandem with Summerhill restaurants on Georgia Avenue to enhance the show experience and drive business to the area; the Summerhill Neighborhood Association organized a pre-show of carols sung by high school students from Maynard H. Jackson High School (who were delighted to have a reason to perform!) and provided free digital access to seniors and low-income housing residents from the area unable to see it live.
A highlight of the show itself was the “essential worker scene” that featured the story of a different local essential and frontline worker each night. Read the Alliance Theatre blog post about the project.
Lastly, through a partnership with WABE, this special show aired on public radio and was accessible to every Atlantan this holiday season.
Thank you for the challenges and lessons, 2020! Happy New Year!