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Road To Reopening: True Colors Theatre On Streaming, Returning To Performances, & More!

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Chandra Stephens-Albright on seeing the real-time engagement on digital content.

Road To Reopening: True Colors Theatre On Streaming, Returning To Performances, & More!

BroadwayWorld is checking in with theaters around the country as they prepare to reopen this summer. Next in our series we check in with True Colors Theatre's Managing Director Chandra Stephens-Albright.

Chandra Stephens-Albright is the Managing Director of True Colors Theatre Company, where she co-leads the theatre with Artistic Director Jamil Jude. She brings an incredible depth of collaborative leadership and a successful track record of innovative fund development to her role as financial ambassador for the theatre. She is known for her acumen in defining strategy, executing priorities, converting insights into initiatives, and managing diverse groups of stakeholders.

Chandra comes to True Colors Theatre Company from C5 Georgia, where she served as Executive Director from 2014 to 2017. There, Ms. Stephens-Albright led efforts to achieve financial sustainability, raise community awareness, optimize operational effectiveness and increase alumni engagement.

Previously, Chandra led customer marketing and innovation efforts at The Coca-Cola Company. Over her 22-year career there - from 1991 until 2013 - she built a reputation for directing productive teams, tackling tough challenges, and leading strategic initiatives. Specifically, she guided the development of the Coca-Cola Freestyle® brand name, user interface design and visual identity. Before joining Coca-Cola, she was a Product Manager at Clairol. Her career began at Bristol-Myers Squibb in the Bristol Myers International Group.


As a dynamic and seasoned leader, Chandra models and inspires high levels of integrity, collaboration and transparency with colleagues, donors, corporate partners, community groups and leaders. Deeply passionate about her community, Ms. Stephens-Albright currently serves on the boards of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership and The Alliance Theatre. She is a past board member of the Emory Alumni Board, the Emory Annual Giving Board, the Emory College Alumni Board, Girls Inc. of Greater Atlanta, and the Multi-Cultural Foodservice and Hospitality Alliance.

Chandra is a member of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2005. A native Atlantan, Chandra graduated from Emory University with a Chemistry degree. She was a Consortium for Graduate Studies in Management Fellow at the The Olin School of Business in St. Louis, Missouri, where she earned her MBA. She is married to Warren Albright.

How has the pandemic most affected your company?

As with our colleagues, we have been unable to produce. Our responses were to increase our community events, launch a podcast and initiate commissioning programs to increase visibility of the work of early- and mid-career Black artists.

Have you done any streaming theatre/events?

Yes, we have continued streaming events throughout the pandemic, primarily through our Community Conversations series, all of which were presented in partnership with partner organizations. We also produced a number of virtual readings, including a reading of "Before It Hits Home," presented in partnership with The Counter Narrative Project, an Atlanta LGBTQ-serving organization, in honor of National Black HIV Awareness Day.

What have the audience reactions to any digital performances been like?

While we did not charge for virtual performances, we were very pleased to see a smattering of donations come in via social media platforms. Jamil's weekly podcasts have brought in as much as $400 in a week, The upside of virtual programming is being able to see engagement and positive reactions in real time in the chat. It's fun to see what people would normally be whispering to each other in the theatre.

What have you got coming up you're most excited to share with audiences?

Our first big event of the season will be a Community Conversation: "In the Continuum: the Foundation, Funding, and Future of Black Theatre." An essential conversation in the true spirit of Sankofa, as we look back to our roots of Black theatre in America and glean from the many lessons learned to create a vision for our future, this Community Conversation will feature leading voices and scholars, presented in partnership with Generator and Hammonds House Museum.The event will be streamed live via our True Colors' YouTube channel, and more information can be found on our website at www.truecolorstheatre.org.http://www.truecolorstheatre.org.

How did your venue come up with a reopening plan/covid safety plan?

Back in the summer of 2020, we worked with a cohort of metro Atlanta arts organizations and the Emory University School of Nursing to build a set of safety procedures for audience, artist and production crew areas of the theatre. The end result was documented protocols that informed our plans, even as requirements and recommendations shifted with new information. We have all worked together to be as consistent in our approaches to safety as possible, so that theatre patrons can focus on the performances and not worry about different rules at different venues.

What are you most looking forward to?

The vibe at True Colors' productions is very familial and welcoming. We had an outdoor event at the end of July to celebrate the season that had just ended, and it was great to feel that vibe again. Even though people were spread out in the parking lot, the feeling of connection was palpable. People danced, waved to one another, socialized in their "pods" and responded with enthusiasm to the production. We look forward to greeting our loyal patrons with a "welcome back", meeting new patrons, and hearing the audience reactions to the work on stage. There is nothing like the collective gasp, the burst of laughter or the spontaneous exclamations of the house. It's magic and we can't wait to feel it again.

How can audience members learn more and stay up to date?

Follow us on our social media platforms: Facebook (Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company), Instagram (@truecolorstheatre), Twitter (@kltruecolors).


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