JAG Productions Wins NETC Regional Award for Outstanding Achievement in the American Theatre
JAG Productions closed its inaugural season with an enormous honor: as the 2017 recipient of the New England Theatre Conference's (NETC) Regional Award for Outstanding Achievement in the American Theatre. The award is given once a year in recognition of regional theaters that have perpetuated theatrical excellence.
As Kerri Cooper, NETC's Awards Chairperson & Chair of Secondary Education Division, explains, the award seeks "to honor regional theaters who have ties to New England and have made outstanding contributions to the arts."
The New England Theatre Conference is a not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to support and recognize excellence in the practice of theatre across New England at all levels: universities, secondary schools, youth programs, community theaters, and professional companies. The organization operates an annual audition, convention, publishes The New England Theatre Journal, and offers multiple regional theater awards. A diverse community of artists, scholars, teachers, students and practitioners, it is the premier industry group for theater activists of the Northeast.
JAG Productions is led by Producing Artistic Director, Jarvis Antonio Green. Founded in 2016, JAG Productions' mission is to produce classic and contemporary theatre and serve as an incubator of new work that excites broad intellectual engagement and catalyzes a shift to more compassion, empathy, and awareness through the lens of the African-American experience. Having successfully brought leading Broadway and TV actors and world-class designers to Upper Valley stages, JAG Productions has a bright future ahead.
The theatre company is celebrating its inaugural season, which has been met with rave reviews for its three Vermont premieres! The first production, Tarell Alvin McCraney's Choir Boy, a music-filled coming of age story set in an elite prep school for young black men, was called "moving, exceptionally beautiful, vivid, and complex." (American author Ellen Miles) The show was staged at Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, VT. The second production was Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical, a show inspired by Civil Rights pioneers Ruby Bridges and The Little Rock Nine. The inaugural season concluded with August Wilson's Fences, the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Drama exploring the evolving African-American experience on the brink of the Civil Rights Movement. Of Fences, the Rutland Herald's Jim Lowe wrote, "excellent production, powerful storytelling, potent, and beautifully directed." As Troy, Brian Anthony Wilson "summons majesty from his voice and fire from his presence." (Seven Days) Both shows from the second half of the season were produced at Woodstock Town Hall Theatre.
Beyond these mainstage productions, JAG was able to expand its activism within its Vermont community through varied outreach programs. One such program was a student matinee program, which provided local middle and high school students with the opportunity to see JAG's productions for free. Over 600 students from around the region attended our performances. The company also launched JAGFest, an annual festival of new works celebrating the talents of African-American Playwrights. The festival was presented in multiple venues around Woodstock and Pomfret, VT. Finally, JAG has hosted talkbacks after performances with guest speakers from Cornell University and Dartmouth College, offering theatergoers a unique and intimate level of accessibility and intellectual exchange.
JAG Productions sees itself as playing a key role in bringing diverse actors and stories to the stage and to the Upper Valley, among the most racially homogeneous regions of the United States, via powerful art, artfully staged. Fences inaugurated JAG's 10-year commitment to staging The American Century Cycle, August Wilson's series of ten plays charting the African American experience through the twentieth century.
Additionally, as has been previously announced, JAG is fundraising for the 2017-2018 theatrical season and has exceeded their fundraising goal for the first campaign!
$21,456 has been pledged of $100,000 goal for Season Two! The next part of the campaign aims to raise $45,000 by the end of the year, all toward the goal of sustaining Vermont's first black theatre company. To learn more about the campaigns and to donate, visit www.jagproductionsvt.com/donate.