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The Huntington and The Front Porch Announce New Partnership

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The Porch will embed with The Huntington for multidirectional growth and mutual benefit starting September 1, 2021.

The Huntington and The Front Porch Announce New Partnership

The Huntington and The Front Porch Arts Collective announce a multi-year strategic partnership beginning September 1, 2021. The Porch will be in residence with The Huntington, and the two companies will provide each other mutually beneficial support and services, as well as opportunities for multidirectional learning and growth.

Founded in 2016 and now an integral part of the Boston theatre community, The Front Porch Arts Collective is a Black theatre company dedicated to giving voice to the stories of diasporic communities. Celebrating its 40th season this coming year, The Huntington is Boston's leading professional theatre, committed to amplifying a wide variety of artistic voices and serving the larger theatre community.

Through a strategic planning process funded by The Boston Foundation, The Porch determined that being in residence at a larger company was a tenable path of success to becoming a self-sustaining theatre company. Embedding with The Huntington will allow The Porch to focus on their artistic goals and institutional priorities so they can build capacity and emerge as an independent organization with a distinct artistic point of view, more highly developed structure and leadership, and robust relationships with donors and audience members. Huntington staff will provide administrative, fundraising, and marketing support, as well as mentorship and expertise around board development, financial management, and organizational structure.

In addition to the leadership and staff of both companies being longstanding colleagues with deep connections and relationships, The Huntington and The Porch share a number of core values: a commitment to presenting a wide range of narratives and perspectives from artists of color and to being anti-racist organizations, a desire to foster opportunities for BIPOC theatre artists and arts professionals, and dedication to making Boston theatre welcoming and inclusive to all audiences.

The Porch leadership team - Co-Producing Artistic Directors Dawn M. Simmons and Maurice Emmanuel Parent, and Education Director Pascale Florestal - will be embedded in The Huntington's administrative offices, serving as part of The Huntington's staff and providing an important voice in Huntington initiatives and artistic decision making, enhancing The Huntington's ability to produce shows featuring Black voices with greater depth and authenticity. While The Huntington and The Porch may collaborate on future theatrical projects, no specific plans are on the horizon at this time. (The Porch has two previously announced co-productions for the 21/22 season: Queens Girl in the World with The Hangar Theatre and The Nora at Central Square Theater and Ain't Misbehavin' with The Nora at Central Square Theater and Greater Boston Stage Company.)

"The Porch is building a producing model that allows us to live our values," says Simmons. "The Huntington, with its resources and national reputation, will give us the time to put those values into place as we ascend to the next level of producing excellence where we authentically tell the stories of the diaspora. It's an exciting step in our artistic evolution."

"The Porch and The Huntington share core values of artistic excellence and a commitment to Boston artists and audiences," says Parent. "We are looking forward to using this opportunity with The Huntington to strengthen our connections to Boston's Black community and continue to create opportunities for BIPOC artists. We are grateful for the continued support of The Boston Foundation whose substantial investment makes this residency possible."

With this partnership, The Huntington expands upon its long track record of nurturing and supporting small and mid-size theatre companies in Boston, from the sharing of resources such as rehearsal space and expertise, to subsidizing beautiful theatrical spaces and professional services at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA for dozens of smaller companies each year.

"The Huntington's service to the Greater Boston theatre community is a fundamental part of our work, and this residency of The Porch is an exciting opportunity to deepen that service," says Huntington Managing Director Michael Maso. "While the primary purpose of the residency is to build the capacity of The Porch as an independent organization, our shared goal is to teach and learn from one another, and in the end, for both companies to be stronger because of our work together."

From 2016 through 2021, The Porch was the resident theatre company at Central Square Theater, which served as their fiscal sponsor and provided infrastructure support, space, fundraising, and mentorship. In April 2019 their co-production of Marcus Gardley's black odyssey boston (co-produced with Underground Railway at Central Square Theater), was awarded the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Ensemble, Midsize Theater.

"It has been a gift to work so closely with Dawn and Maurice over the past five years," says Central Square Theater Executive Director Catherine Carr Kelly. "Both organizations have learned so much about how to create a truly equitable mentorship and, more importantly, partnership. We're thrilled about The Porch's next step with The Huntington and look forward to seeing them emerge as an independent, sustainable, Black Boston arts organization."


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