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New Hampshire Theatre Project Prepares To Go From Pandemic To Provocative Theatre

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New Hampshire Theatre Project Prepares To Go From Pandemic To Provocative Theatre

New Hampshire Theatre Project announces their NH Gives 2020 campaign with 24 hours of programming which delves into the impact of their work as they raise $10000 to support the creation of a new community-sourced play We Don't Know What This Is Yet. NH Gives, a statewide campaign that celebrates philanthropy within the state, runs from 6pm to 6pm June 9-10. To learn more about the events happening at NHTP over those days visit nhtheatreproject.org.

"The moments I love best are when there are people rehearsing on the stage, and more people working backstage, maybe a meeting is happening in the office and a class is taking place in our rehearsal room at the back of the theatre," says NHTP's founding Executive Director Genevieve Aichele as she describes the running of a theatre and how that's changed since the beginning of the Covid-19 Global Pandemic. Aichele continues "Theatre is about human interaction. It is the most personal, visceral artform that we have and we can't do it right now. And that breaks my heart." But action hasn't stopped at the thirty year old company - in fact the staff, board and company artists are hard at work, planning for the future and beginning a brand-new process of theatre-making with their new production We Don't Know What This Is Yet.

"We're using this time to look at the work we've done, and where our impact has been most felt by our audiences, collaborators, artists and partners," explains Artistic Director Catherine Stewart. "This is an ideal time to open up the reflection and evaluation that was happening behind closed doors and welcome in the wider community." Through a series of events over June 9th and 10th supporters, partners, and those who don't yet know about the work of NHTP can explore their programming, past and present. It's also a time to contemplate what the future holds for a theatre company that creates space for difficult conversations in communities all across the state.

Starting Tuesday, June 9 at 5pm, viewers can tune in to join Aichele, Stewart and NHTP's Marketing Director Janice Hastings for a conversation titled How Do The Arts Build Community. The discussion, streamed live on NHTP's Youtube channel, will look at the company's impact through programs such as the MainStage Productions accompanied by Community Connectors, the Elephant-in-the-Room Series, and Artist in Residence Programs. The festivities continue with an "Old Gang" Zoom Happy Hour at 7pm where individuals involved in the early days of New Hampshire Theatre Project, and its precursor Kitchensink Productions, will reflect, reminisce and look forward to the future. The evening concludes with a special performance from the archives - Youth Repertory Company presents Hamlet. The 2009 production of Shakespeare's tragedy will stream live on Youtube, while a live chat is facilitated by the production's director, Genevieve Aichele. This production features original music by Randy Armstrong and is a treat for any lover of the Bard.

Events on Wednesday, June 10th will reflect current programming as well as a special work-in-progress showing of We Don't Know What This Is Yet. The Elephant-in-the-Room Series is NHTP's thought-provoking program that addresses isolating issues through community dialogue. At 10am individuals can join a webinar with the program's advisory committee, to discuss what the most urgent issues are in the wake of the Covid-19 Global Pandemic. Sign-up for the What Will Our Elephants Be? webinar is available on the company's website; questions and ideas will be invited from attendees.

"Currently we have a space that we are unable to use," says Aichele. "But we wanted to think about the importance of holding space for the work we do." NHTP was a nomadic theatre company that found homes in many spaces around Portsmouth, NH. At the What's A Home? Brown Bag Lunch the public can join founder Genevieve Aichele in conversation with Catherine Stewart and Janice Hastings to discuss how that home was found and what it means to have a space now and in the future. This conversation will stream on Youtube at noon on June 10th.

Then at 5pm on June 10th the entire NHTP family will gather for their end of season shindig - The Company "Cocktail Hour". The 2019 - 2020 Season theme Can One Person Make A Difference? brought together challenging plays about race, comedies that looked at the roles of women and the future of philanthropy and a seasonal classic that opened up discussion around affordable housing. "We're bringing together our artists and audiences, supporters and staff, board and big thinkers - it's time to raise a glass to all that we have achieved in a year of provocative theatre-making," says Stewart. "We really can't do our transformational work without each and every one of these individuals - and now more than ever we need to find ways to come together, acknowledge our challenges, and celebrate our successes."

Each event hosted by NHTP during NH Gives 2020 uncovers the complex community development work that is central to the mission of the organization. It's with that community that the company seeks to think about the future while raising funds for We Don't Know What This Is Yet, a play that aims to hold space for challenges issues arising from the current moment. A special work-in-progress sharing of the play will stream live on NHTP's Youtube channel at 6pm on June 10th as the 24 hours of giving wraps up.

"There is so much work for us to do, as artists, as citizens - and it can be difficult to know what our next step should be," says Stewart. "What I do know is that we can trust in the power of theatre-making - we can invest in our artists, and we can bear witness to the stories that could go unheard as the world tries to grapple with a new reality."

To support NHTP's NH Gives 2020 Campaign or to participate in We Don't Know What This Is Yet visit nhtheatreproject.org.


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