WHAT SUPPORTING A BUNCH OF DETERMINED PUNK-ROCK THEATER GEEKS CAN TURN INTO
The Actors’ Gang’s signature Style—our highly emotional and physical approach to creating dynamic productions—forms the basis of all our work. This approach, that makes our storytelling so profound, is also what makes our outreach so effective. Though the past year and a half have created great challenges for that work, we have been far from dormant.
During the pandemic we remained committed to our belief that there should be no financial barrier to quality theater. We sorely missed the crowds coming through the doors of our home at the Ivy Substation, but we stayed connected through programs such as Axis Mundi, Holiday Hot Chocolate Club, screenings of past productions, and the premiere of our new original play We Live On based on Hard Times by Studs Terkel and directed by Tim Robbins. Admission for all of these programs was “Pay What You Can” and free tickets were provided for anyone who needed them.
As we look toward a brighter future, emerging from the challenges and disruptions of the pandemic, your donation will mean more than ever. It will allow our performances to breathe life onto our stage once again, our teaching artists to inspire students across Los Angeles County, and our Prison Project to inspire transformation and joy in prisons throughout California.
EVERY CHILD DESERVES A CHANCE
Our Education Department serves marginalized and under-resourced students across Los Angeles County. And we knew a pandemic could not be allowed to halt that work. At the beginning of the pandemic our Education Department pivoted immediately, becoming one of the first arts education programs in the area to adapt all their programming for the virtual space. Instead of buckling under the weight of the new demands, our reach grew, serving more schools in the 2020/21 school year than ever before. Students experiencing the isolation caused by lockdowns and disrupted school schedules exulted in the opportunity to gather with their peers, express their creativity, and share their joy. Parents lauded the community and outlet our teaching artists brought to their children.
Now, without missing a beat, we are going back to schools. Closely following all health guidelines, we are once again playing and creating with students throughout Los Angeles County. Even in the midst of a pandemic we grew our roster of teaching artists, and they are thrilled to be bringing the magic of theater to students in-person once again.
And we’re not done growing. A new partnership with LA’s BEST Afterschool Enrichment program will further our mission to provide quality artistic enrichment to students across the economic spectrum. We are beginning professional development workshops to help teachers acquire tools to integrate the arts into their standard curriculum. And a new opportunity to conduct virtual workshops with a school in Montana marks our first formal entry into a school outside of California.
EVERY PERSON DESERVES HOPE
Since its humble beginnings with one prison in 2006, the Prison Project has conducted rehabilitative programs on 15 yards in13 California State prisons, 3 youth detention centers, and 2 reentry facilities. The more than 1,600incarcerated women, men, and teenagers we’ve been able to serve were given tools to cope with the violent in-prison environment and prepare for a successful return to their communities. California statistics say that 50% of citizens exiting the justice system will return to prison within three years of being released. Statistics change for participants in our Reentry Program. According to a preliminary study, the recidivism rate dropped to 10% and in-prison disciplinary infractions decreased by 89%.
Over the last nineteen months, we continued our programming with distance learning packets, virtual classes, and trainings. We’re happy to say we recently returned to in-person programming in several facilities and look forward to returning to more.
Through our Reentry Program, many of our alumni teach in year-round, weekly rehabilitative programs in 2 Reentry facilities. This program has served over 500 returning citizens. Participation in the Reentry Program leads to interviews for well-paying union jobs. A preliminary study with our participants at Walden House showed a77% employment rate, an important factor in reducing recidivism.
Work with justice-impacted youth is another important component of the Prison Project’s offerings. We expanded our Youth Projectto include our first program for justice-impacted youthoutside of Los Angeles County Probation. We piloted the program with BehavioralHealth Services in Lincoln Heights and will be returning for a second session this Fall.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Even the smallest donation will go a long way!
$125 brings an incarcerated child of age 12 to 18 out of juvenile camp for one day to experience live theater for the first time in their life
$480 provides specialized training for 4 Teaching Artists working with incarcerated women, men and children
$990 pays for one Teaching Artist to lead a 1-week program in a Continuation High School
$1,200 provides an in-prison class with supplies for the entire year
$2,160 pays for one Alumni Teaching Artist to lead a one 8-week session in a Reentry facility
Please consider supporting us with a fully tax-deductible donation to help offset the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visit Facebook.com/fundraisers, click “Raise Money” and select The Actors’ Gang nonprofit for your fundraiser. You can also create a post and tag The Actors’ Gang. You’ll see a prompt to add a donate button after your post.
Many employers offer a matching gift program that allows you to increase your giving to your favorite organization. This can double or even triple your gift to The Actors’ Gang, giving you the increased benefits and visibility that comes with your new level of giving. Inquire with your company’s human resources department to see if your gift to The Actors’ Gang qualifies for a matching gift.
A special thanks to all of our Foundation and Government Supporters!