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The Rep Commissions Voter Education Videos To Inform And Empower Voters

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Art, civic engagement meet in professionally produced election resources.

In an effort to support voter education and participation on November 3, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is developing videos to inform and empower voters.

In partnership with the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition (MOVPC), a non-partisan statewide network of voter advocates, The Rep commissioned professional artmakers to create short, entertaining videos designed to educate voters.

"As one of the largest performing arts nonprofits in the state of Missouri, The Rep is more than a venue for great plays - we also exist as a town hall in service of the St. Louis region and beyond," said Hana S. Sharif, Augustin Family Artistic Director at The Rep. "We are grateful to MOVPC for their advocacy for voters' rights and are proud to join them in that work."

The Missouri Absentee Voting Video, written by artist, community organizer and award-winning theatre maker Annalisa Dias, explains all voting options available to Missourians who are unable to vote in person or feel unsafe with in-person voting due to the pandemic.

"I feel very grateful to have been invited to use storytelling to help catalyze civic processes," said Dias. "It's exciting to contribute to helping people understand how to exercise their rights."

The National Voter Protection Video will be available soon. It examines the Election Protection Hotline, which connects voters with trained lawyers who can answer questions on overcoming obstacles to voting and combating voter intimidation. This video was written by award-winning playwright, film/television writer and educator Steph del Rosso. (del Rosso's play The Gradient was slated for production in The Rep's 2020-21 season which was shortened by the pandemic.)

"So often, #Vote campaigns ignore the reality of voter disenfranchisement," said del Rosso, "blithely demanding participation without recognizing how fraught the process is for many communities. I'm so excited that The Rep is partnering with the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, since fighting voter suppression and connecting voters to tangible resources is a powerful and shame-free organizing strategy."

"Our goal is to ensure that all eligible voters are able to cast a ballot," said Denise Lieberman, director and general counsel of the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, which coordinates nonpartisan 866-OUR-VOTE Election Protection efforts in the state. "We are grateful to The Rep for commissioning these videos so that voters are armed with the information they need to vote. We must continue to work to ensure every voter is able to access their right to vote freely and without fear."

The Missouri Absentee Voting Video is animated by video artist, VJ and designer Kassie M. Sanders, and the National Voter Protection Video is illustrated by Elle Powell.

The Rep believes institutions of creative expression can be uplifting spaces that encourage and engage the community. To further model this renewed commitment to civic engagement, The Rep is making November 3 a paid holiday for its staff, to encourage voting and volunteerism on election day. The Rep has also created a Voter Resources Webpage of Missouri and Illinois voter information.

Additionally, The Rep is hosting a panel discussion to empower individuals to exercise their fundamental right to vote titled "Breaking Down the Ballot". This roundtable discussion, moderated by Hana S. Sharif and featuring a bipartisan group of thought leaders, political experts and voting rights advocates, will allow community members to ask questions about critical ballot measures affecting our region. The virtual roundtable is free and open to the public. Visit The Rep's Facebook page or YouTube channel on October 26 from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. to participate. No pre-registration is required.

For more information, visit repstl.org. Receive assistance through the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR VOTE.


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