City Theatre program aims to unite, enrich through art and partnership


Last updated 2/6/2017 at 5:29pm

City Theatre has announced a new community partnership initiative called City Connects. The program builds on the organization’s long-standing commitment to encouraging discussion and engagement beyond the work seen on stage and celebrates City Theatre’s core standing as an institution dedicated to inclusion and building a positive and enlightened world through theater.

To advance this goal, City Theatre identified local and national nonprofit partners who have specialized expertise in addressing the topics and issues inherent in City productions

“For over 40 years, City Theatre has been presenting theater that affirms the power of live performance to bring people together for a shared experience and cultivate a deeper understanding of our similarities and differences. As artists, we strive to reflect the world we live in and imagine a better future,” stated Artistic Director Tracy Brigden. “I am proud of the goals of City Connects—to use theater as a force for positive change, deeper understanding, and active engagement—and to work closely with these dynamic and critical nonprofits.”

City Connects will highlight four distinct values—Equality, Unity, Love, and Opportunity—which strongly resonate in the remaining shows of the 2016/17 season. With each production, City Theatre has partnered with a different local group to encourage an in-depth exploration of how these values intersect on stage and in the world today.

These partnerships will take form through historic and contemporary context and scholarship, panels, curated presentations, and other ways for audiences to delve deeper into the issues at hand, as well as learn more about these vital partners. In the coming months, City Theatre will work closely with the local chapter of the NAACP, the Thomas Merton Center, Proud Haven, YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Center for Race and Gender Equity, and the Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Pittsburgh, amongst others, to advance these goals.

Partnering organizations will coordinate with City staff to provide a real-world perspective on the plays, while encouraging their own constituents to experience the powerful impact of theatrical storytelling. City Theatre will provide custom-made support for each organization which includes complimentary tickets, lobby and program visibility, and post-show discussion events to generate dialogue amongst a large cross-section of local residents, and provide actionable engagement opportunities for patrons.

Further, much of the programming will be affiliated with City’s “Pay-What-You-Want” ticket outreach effort, which allows audiences to literally pay any amount to see a show. With this logical tie-in, City Connects seeks to ensure no barrier prevents the community from being enriched and entertained by City Theatre programming, and experience the positive impact of its partners.

Current City Connects partnerships include:

The Royale: EQUALITY.

Inspired by the trailblazing boxer Jack Johnson, The Royale tackles themes of racial equity and justice in the face of discrimination and fear. In partnership with the Pittsburgh Branch of the NAACP, City Connects: EQUALITY took place on Saturday, Feb. 4, following the 1 p.m. matinee.

The Guard: UNITY.

Examining the effects of love and grief, The Guard honors the power of art to heal, unify, and evoke compassion throughout history. In partnership with The Thomas Merton Center, City Connects: UNITY will take place on Saturday, April 1, following the 1 p.m. matinee.

Wild With Happy: LOVE.

Investigating the complex identity of being gay in the Black church community, Wild with Happy celebrates the need for love and diversity in our world. In partnership with Proud Haven, City Connects: LOVE will take place on Saturday, April 22, following the 1 p.m. performance.


Depicting the life of a Polish immigrant woman, Ironbound is a contemporary exploration of the American Dream and existence on the economic margins of society. In partnership with Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Pittsburgh, City Connects: OPPORTUNITY will take place on Sunday, May 21 before and after the 2 p.m. show.

Season Long Partner: YWCA Greater Pittsburgh’s Center for Race & Gender Equity promotes awareness of equality issues, educates individuals, and advocates for change in communities throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. The center supports and promotes the YW’s national advocacy agenda and identifies legislative action (federal, state and local) that advances YWCA’s focus areas of Eliminating Racism and Empowering Women.

The YWCA partnership will be season long and feature a post-performance discussion on Saturday, February 11th following the 1 p.m. performance with YWCA CEO Magdeline (Maggie) Jensen.


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