Actors' Theatre Partners with Grand Rapids Community College

Actors' Theatre Partners with Grand Rapids Community College

Actors' Theatre announced today that it will stop receiving direct financial support from Grand Rapids Community College as part of an in-kind relationship it has had with the school for 33 years.

"The time has come to relinquish our financial moorings with GRCC," said Debbie Playford, Actors' Theatre managing director. "We recognize the budget needs of GRCC and want to support its staff and students."

During the 2013-14 academic year, Actors' Theatre received $19,000 from GRCC, Playford said, adding that as the group moves forward it will increase the financial support it receives from donors and secure underwriting by local businesses to make up the difference.

"The relationship Actors' Theatre has had with GRCC helped it establish itself as a prominent theater venue in Grand Rapids and for that we are thankful," Playford said.

President of GRCC Steven C. Ender said he is grateful Actors' Theatre is stepping forward. "I appreciate that Actors' Theatre recognizes the fiscal challenges facing GRCC today and their willingness to step forward and assist us at a critical time."

Actors' Theatre was founded in 1980 by Fred Sebulske, at that time a GRCC theater professor, to showcase the talent of local actors and provide a training resource for theater students in West Michigan. Since that time, Actors' Theatre and GRCC have operated under a mutually beneficial relationship in which the college provided the theater with services and space to operate its administration and productions, and the theater provided GRCC theater students a platform to hone their skills.

Playford noted that the timing was right for Actors' Theatre to become financially independent from GRCC, while at the same time recognizing that it wants to continue to broaden its audience base by offering contemporary productions that at times may deal with controversial topics. "Our goal is to create conversations about issues that affect the entire community."

During the past 33 years, Actors' Theatre has garnered more than 100 Grand Awards for outstanding theater in Grand Rapids. Similar to the internationally known Tony Awards, the Grand Awards is an annual ceremony honoring distinguished members of the Grand Rapids theater community who have demonstrated outstanding skills in diverse areas of theater.

Upcoming productions by Actors' Theatre include God of Carnage, which runs April 17-26, and Grey Gardens, the Musical, which runs June 5-14. Actors' Theatre's annual fundraiser will be held May 1 at the new Rockford Construction headquarters in downtown Grand Rapids. Tickets for the fundraiser and shows may be purchased online at ATGR.org or by calling the box office at (616) 234-3946.

ABOUT ACTORS' THEATRE: Actors' Theatre was founded in 1980 by a group of West Michigan actors, led by Professor Fred Sebulske, then Chair of the theatre program at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC). This company chose a purpose of staging productions that were not available in West Michigan due to reasons of complexity, the controversial nature of the subjects or their limited mass appeal. Actors' Theatre has been recognized for its work, including awards from the American Association of Community Theatre, Between the Lines newspaper, On The Town - Townie Awards and over 100 Grand Awards for excellence in Grand Rapids theater. Actors' Theatre is committed to providing West Michigan with the best in entertaining, innovative, challenging, and thought-provoking theatre. We believe in the inclusion of all.

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