There is an article online today, by a CNN reporter, that gave me a good name for a fascinating thing about growing a community theatre from the grassroots.
The name is “Frugal Innovation.” The article speaks of people in India who are meeting the twin forces of poverty and earthquakes with ideas that result in inexpensively created products making life better for the community. DFT doesn’t deal with earthquakes, thank goodness, but the financial resources of any start-up not-for profit are particularly challenging these days.
Reading the article, I thought of our first Children’s Acting Camp of the summer and of the exuberant innovations of 26-young actors, 7 teen interns and countless family supporters, who have given their all for nearly two-weeks to create a play that will make our audiences laugh this Friday and Saturday nights (6/28 & 6/29 at 7:00 pm, Trinity Ave. Presbyterian Church, 927 Trinity Ave., Durham, NC (Park in the Gregson Street lot and enter beside the church playground.) Free and open to the public.
At DFT we are passionate about human potential. Our meager material resources are opportunities to fulfill our mission to support creative potential inclusive of race, ethnicity, age and financial resources. Our institutional policy states that, as long as we are able to open our doors, no child or adult will be turned away from a DFT program for financial reasons.
Our lack of a home theatre encourages us to build positive community partnerships with other not-for-profits like Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church where our summer theatre camps are being hosted for the third year.
Lacking a theatre of our own, complete with scene shop, our summer camp students have the chance to design, paint and construct their own sets. Moms and dads pitch in with costumes when our (GROWING!) costume shop can’t fulfill the young designer’s vision.
“Frugal Innovation” is turning the gorgeous fellowship hall at Trinity Ave. Presbyterian Church into a theatre that will welcome our audiences and support our actors this weekend.
And the best thing is, it turns out that “frugal innovation” creates exciting, moving, imaginative, involved and honest theatre – the best kind – the kind that invites the audience to believe along with us – the kind that brings every story to life with the best resource of all – the resource we have in abundance – human’s fulfilling our potential to create something wonderful.
I hope that – once DFT is grown to financial maturity, with a home theatre and a reasonably stable financial base – we will continue to value and nurture frugal innovation as a great way to create exciting theatre while supporting human potential.
Warmly, Jenny Justice