November 9, 2017
As 2017 comes to a close, we want to update our community on the milestones and events at Open Door Theater. We are proud of the fact that our door opened further than ever with the production of Seussical. Our cast of approximately 100 adults, teens and children included close to 30% self-identifying as having special needs. For the first time, two actors played one of our leads concurrently; one Deaf youth actor used American Sign Language and one hearing youth used spoken English. We continued our use of Open Captioning at all seven shows and universally heard that it enhanced the experience of the show for all. We are proud that we are one of the first community theaters in Massachusetts to provide this for our audience, and we have been asked multiple times to assist other theater companies implement their own Open Captioning.
Open Door Theater is a unicorn in the community theater arena. In addition to our multi-generation casting and mission of accessibility, our organization does not charge any audition or participation fees to the members of our cast; we rely on ticket fees, grants, and donations for our income. Beyond that, volunteerism is one of the primary functions that make us tick. During Seussical, we relied on 125+ volunteers of various ability to make the production a success. Many volunteers took on multiple roles (with functions too long to fully list!), including pre-show jobs as well as day-of production crews. Our unique mission allows families to fully participate together through this volunteerism, making memories that last a lifetime. Many of our volunteers have never worked backstage before, never helped publicize a show, never worked on lighting or stage crew, or even held a screw gun. Like many of our actors that walk on stage for the first time, building confidence that will also last a lifetime, most of our volunteers take risks in functions they have never performed.
One more thing on volunteerism: for many of our volunteers, it does not stop when the show closes. Preparation for the next show always starts before the curtain goes up on the current year show. Production teams need to be recruited, shows need to be vetted, grants need to be applied for, directorial plans need to be developed, and much more. The Open Door Board of Directors is comprised of 20+ individuals meeting multiple times per year with some spending countless hours focused on making each year's production a success. We need every cast family, and others in our community, to assist. Each of you can help make our 2018 production of Cinderella a success.
Our 2018 production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, which opens March 16th and runs that weekend and the following, is the 2013 Broadway version of the show. It will be at the Dragonfly Theater at RJ Grey Junior High in Acton, MA. Auditions are the week of November 27th.
The show includes themes of being nice and fair when "Ridicule" turns into "Kindness". This is the mantra that we all hope to live by. We will continue our mission by offering 3 ASL interpreted performances, our signature Sensory Friendly/Autism Friendly Performance (AFP), and an Audio Described Performance for the Visually Impaired (ADP). In addition, we stay committed to Open Captioning our 2018 production.
Please attend our performances, donate, or consider volunteering for our organization, and take the time to give us feedback about what we as a community can do to make theater more inclusive for all our patrons, participants and performers. Thank you for all our community does to make Open Door successful, and thank you for your time and commitment to our special mission.
If you have trouble reading this via email, you can view it on opendoortheater.org.