Civic Ensemble's ReEntry Theatre Program Presents STREETS LIKE THIS

By: Feb. 18, 2020

Civic Ensemble's ReEntry Theatre Program brings back their 2018 production, Streets Like This, with a ten performance run opening Thursday, March 12 and running through March 22 at The Cherry Artspace, in Ithaca, NY. Streets Like This is a full-length play written collaboratively by Thom Dunn and A.C. Sidle with members of the ReEntry Theatre Program. Material comes from the real lives and imaginations of participants of the program.

Streets Like This introduces us to Deon and Denis. Deon is black, Dennis is white; both are worn out from past convictions, dysfunctional institutions, and the preventable deaths of loved ones. From their stoop, they watch Crystal, Abby, and Brian struggle with their diverse obstacles and mistakes while stuck in the United States' broken criminal justice system. Deon and Dennis narrate the stories of these three and other characters navigating the perils of real life and their own demons while dealing with the consequences of probation, incarceration, parole, and court-ordered rehabilitation. Streets Like This travels from the Meadow Street Mobil to Social Services offices and from the curb outside Day Reporting, to workplaces and homes.

When asked why the group is remounting the show, Director Sarah K. Chalmers, one of the founders of Civic Ensemble, said, "The response to Streets Like This in 2018 was overwhelmingly positive. Many people gave us feedback that the show should reach as many people as possible, because it would increase understanding of the life situations and resilience of people who are often misrepresented in popular culture." The first run of Streets Like This had three performances at Kitchen Theatre Company and one at GIAC. This 2020 remount will have ten performances over two weekends. Chalmers again, "We hope this extended run will allow everyone to have a chance to see the show."

Civic Ensemble is also collaborating with the Ultimate ReEntry Opportunity (URO) to make sure that lawmakers, service providers, and government officials are able to attend the play and participate in discussions about policy changes that the themes in the play point to. A meeting coordinated and hosted by Civic and URO took place in January of 2019. and was attended by a broad range of stakeholders including, Tompkins County Government agencies; Opportunities, Alternatives, and Resources; the Multicultural Resource Center; the Department of Social Services; Southern Tier AIDS Program (STAP); Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce; Cornell University; Ithaca College; and Tompkins Cortland Community College. "My hope is that those with the power to push for - and implement - policy change will attend this powerful production, stay for the discussion, and continue the conversations long after the production has ended," shared URO Director Taili Mugambe.

Civic Ensemble launched the ReEntry Theatre Program in 2015. It is an opportunity for members of the community who have experienced incarceration - prison, jail, or drug rehabilitation - to learn storytelling skills, create theatre work, and build community together, regardless of arts experience, criminal record, or income. The group has previously presented A Setback Ain't Nothing but a Setup for a Comeback in March 2015 and Dreams and Nightmares: Do What You Always Did, Get What You Always Got in April 2016. As of October 2017, the ReEntry Theatre Program meets every Monday 9am-11am at Day Reporting, to provide a consistent meeting for returning participants and give individuals sentenced to attend Day Reporting a creative outlet.

The cast and crew consists of new and returning members of the ReEntry Theatre Program as well as actors from the community who have not experienced incarceration. Leroy Barrett, Abdullah Khalil Bey, Brian Briggs, Sherron Brown, Suzanne Burnham, Melissa Cady, Terrell Dickson, Heather Duke, Jo-Louis Hallback, Casandra Ponton, Edwin Santiago, Elizabeth Seldin, and A.C. Sidle, will act. At the helm of the ensemble are director, Sarah K. Chalmers, assistant directors Carley Robinson and Amy Heffron, stage manager Jackie Scheiner, and assistant stage managers Heather Duke and Dan Zannella. The production is designed by Elizabeth Kitney (costumes & props), Lea Davis (lighting), and Rudy Gerson (sound), with scenic consultation from Norm Johnson. Off stage, support comes from Civic Ensemble staff Sage Alia Clemenco, Julia Taylor, and Marketing and Box Office Associate Francesca Infante-Meehan. Carrie T. Chalmers provided graphic design.

Performances of "Streets Like This" runs Thursdays through Sundays from March 12-22, with 7:30 p.m. evening performances Thursday-Saturday, 2pm matinee performances on Saturdays, and 3 p.m. performances on Sundays. General admission tickets are $15 and groups of at least ten people have access to $10 tickets, that can be purchased on Brown Paper Tickets. No cost Community Tickets are available with a discount code that can be acquired by sending an email to asking for the code or by leaving a message at 607-241-0195.

The Cherry ArtSpace is handicap accessible with ample free street parking nearby. Transportation assistance and carpooling coordination is available with advance notice. For these accommodations, please contact or call 607-241-0195.

The ReEntry Theatre Program is currently funded by a grant from the Park Foundation, Community Arts Partnership, the Community Foundation, and private donors. Performances of Streets Like This are sponsored by the Greater Ithaca Activities Center and The Cherry Artspace.