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ArtsEmerson Announces 2019/20 Play Reading Book Clubs


ArtsEmerson Announces 2019/20 Play Reading Book Clubs

ArtsEmerson, Boston's leading presenter of contemporary world theatre, proudly announces that registration is now open for its wildly popular, Play Reading Book Club (PRBC). This pioneering theatre literacy and community education program deepens the theater-going experience by offering unique and radical access to scripts, artists, and conversations featured at ArtsEmerson, while expanding the social networks of its participants. Part of ArtsEmerson's neighborhood-based community engagement initiatives, the PRBC is presented in partnership with the Boston Public Library, Boston Centers for Youth and Families, Public Library of Brookline, Hosteling International and UMass Boston's Osher Life Long Learning Institute throughout the neighborhoods of Allston, Brookline, Dorchester, Roxbury and the Theater District.

Participation in the program is free and registration is now open to the public for plays in the FALL season, Triptych (Eyes of One on Another) and An Iliad at or by calling 617-824-8400. Registration for the Spring PRBCs for Detroit Red and Metamorphosis will go live on November 4th. Tickets to see the play must be purchased separately and PRBC members receive a discounted rate.

Since 2014, ArtsEmerson's PRBC has gathered and formed a theater-going community throughout several Greater Boston neighborhoods to read, discuss, and analyze plays in the ArtsEmerson season prior to seeing them live on stage and then sharing their experience in a community showcase. The program allows participants to explore a play over 4-5 sessions over the course of a month at a location they choose, and is facilitated by trained teaching artists from the Emerson College Masters in Theatre Education program and professional Boston theater artists. Participants not only study and see the play together, but are offered the opportunity to meet and discuss it with the visiting artists.

"The Play Reading Book Club has grown into one of our most energizing and effective tools for creating the type of engaged, diverse audience we're after," says ArtsEmerson Artistic Director David Dower. "And not just for ArtsEmerson. We are working to build this audience for the entire city. We see that audience as a key asset to larger effort in this city to transcend our history of racial and economic segregation. The PRBC gives us ways to connect deeply across differences, in different settings all over Greater Boston. The emergent result is a growing community of people from many backgrounds and neighborhoods all unlocking the capacity of shared experiences of art to lead to both personal and civic transformation."

"At ArtsEmerson we realize that people are always looking for ways to connect and engage in conversations that expand what they know about themselves and each other," says Akiba Abaka, creator and producer of the Play Reading Book Club. "We often say here that the play is a prompt for the conversations. The Play Reading Book Club exemplifies this by allowing audiences to face each other as they face the stage. Another benefit of the program is learning all the theater-going hacks that makes a night out at the theater more accessible and this allows people to go more often."

"As a PRBC teaching artist, I love when the conversation in the room goes to unexpected places, places that are challenging, richly rewarding, and fruitful," shares John Thiel, a MFA candidate in the Emerson College Master in Theatre Education and Applied Theatre program. "PRBC is an experience of enthusiasm for listening to each other, sharing with each other, and I believe, growing together, which in my view is what theatre is all about and what community is all about."

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