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CO/LAB Theater Group to Celebrate 10th Anniversary With Virtual Festival and Benefit

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The benefit will be hosted by award-winning journalist Liz Plank and The Book of Mormon actor and activist Dimitri Moise.

CO/LAB Theater Group to Celebrate 10th Anniversary With Virtual Festival and Benefit

CO/LAB Theater Group, a non-profit organization dedicated to offering individuals with developmental disabilities a creative and social outlet through theater arts, will celebrate their 10th Anniversary with a virtual festival with both pre-recorded and live events from June 17-June 20 and a live virtual benefit on their 10th Anniversary, June 21. The benefit will be hosted by award-winning journalist Liz Plank and The Book of Mormon actor and activist Dimitri Moise.

CO/LAB's June Festival, Beyond the Horizon, will feature four consecutive evenings of original content created by their neurodiverse ensemble of Actors, Teaching Artists, and Supporting Artists. Included in the festival is an SNL-inspired evening of comedy; a live play reading of work written by their Playwriting class; and the premiere of PLOOTO: A Space Oddity, a new musical inspired by the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act with guest appearance by disability rights activist Judy Heumann.

"This festival is the first of its kind for CO/LAB. Creating in this virtual space provided an opportunity for us to present such varied work and showcase all of our actors from the semester over one weekend. Our ensembles blew us away with their innovation and dedication and we can't wait to share their work!" said Abby Schreer, CO/LAB's Director of Programs and Operations.

The festival weekend culminates in CO/LAB's 10th Birthday Party, a live virtual benefit celebrating a decade of collaboration, community, and creativity. Attendees can explore different virtual rooms, engage with members of the CO/LAB community, and enter to win exciting raffle prizes. This year's benefit honorees are co-founders and Teaching Artists Laura Borgwardt and Arielle Lever, and NYC arts service organization ART/NY, which has been a longtime partner of CO/LAB's work.

Becky Leifman, CO/LAB's Executive Director said, "We're so excited to be able to present a benefit in this virtual way. Even though we won't be in the same physical space, there are so many ways for guests to interact with each other throughout the event, and for supporters from all over the country to celebrate our inclusive community's work. This benefit-and the whole festival weekend-is a testament to the creativity and collaboration that has built CO/LAB over the last decade."

The event is produced in association with Broadway Unlocked, with the digital venue powered by All Together Now.

For tickets to the festival and benefit, please visit www.colabtheatergroup.com. Tickets are $15 per show at the festival, $20-75 for the benefit, and ticket packages range from $30-115 and include tickets to one show + benefit, two shows + benefit, or an all-access pass to all five events are also available.


CO/LAB was founded in 2011 by Laura Borgwardt, Becky Leifman, Arielle Lever, and Sarah Olbrantz. In the 10 years since its creation, CO/LAB has partnered with over 30 organizations and has provided creative opportunities without limits and boundaries for thousands of actors with development disabilities. Through their programming, they create a safe, judgement-free, neuro-diverse environment that encourages participants to collaborate as an ensemble and discover their individual voices.

CO/LAB offers free weekly classes and low-cost single workshops through CO/LAB:core, with a curriculum structured to accommodate many types of learning styles. Through CO/LAB:connect, organizations in and around the NYC area can partner with CO/LAB for single workshops or longer-term residencies. They have created enriching programs with organizations such as City Access New York, Lincoln Center, TDF, and JCC Manhattan. Through the CO/LAB:leaders program, actors are trained to become artistic mentors, model positive leadership, and ambassadors for the organization. Finally, Sharing the Stage is a professional development program led by CO/LAB Teaching Artists and actors, for organizations interested in fostering more inclusive and equitable workplace practices.

Donations can be made by visiting: secure.givelively.org/donate/co-lab-theater-group-inc/imwithcolab-crowdfunding-2021.


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