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Book-It Repertory Theatre 

Description

Book-It began as an artists' collective in 1987 dedicated to narrative theatre,adapting short stories for performance and touring throughout the Northwest. From its origins as a dedicated group of volunteer artists, the company has matured into an innovative professional performing arts organization with a budget of $1.8 million, a home at the Center Theatre on the Seattle Center campus, a staff of 13, and a flourishing Arts and Education program.

Book-It creates world-premiere adaptations of classic and contemporary literature for the stage, preserving the narrative text as it is written, spoken not by a single “narrator” but as dialogue by the characters in the production. This technique was developed and continues to be honed by Book-It artists led by Founding Co-Artistic Directors Jane Jones and Myra Platt.  Performing books instead of plays allows the Book-It theatre experience to spark the audience’s interest in reading and to challenge the audience to participate by using their imaginations. Book-It’s unique style of acting and adapting books is known as the Book-It Style®.

Mission Statement
Book-It Repertory Theatre's mission is to transform great literature into great theatre through simple and sensitive production and to inspire our audiences to read.
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Book-It Repertory Theatre
Seattle Center House 
Seattle 
WA
98109-4623 
(206) 216-0877 

Daniel Y. Mayer 
Managing Director 

Programs

Book-It Repertory Theatre Programs

Mainstage Subscription Season
Every season, Book-It produces four-five world-premiere adaptations of great literature - both contemporary and classic - each title carefully selected for its unique voice, exceptional literary accomplishment and for its potential to inspire a love of reading in our audience. Our audience is invited to take a journey through diverse worlds, to see other points of view and other experiences in ways that enhance understanding, broaden knowledge and increase empathy.

Book-It's 25th Silver Jubilee Season includes I Am of Ireland: A Collection of Stories, Song, and Dance; Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice; the comic road trip story The Dog of the South; the runaway bestseller and 2011 Seattle Reads book Little Bee; and Slaughterhouse-Five by legendary American writer Kurt Vonnegut.

Book-It Arts and Education
Book-It's Arts and Education Program is a unique model of arts education designed to enhance reading and comprehension skills while engaging youth with great stories and professional live theatre. One of the largest arts education programs in Seattle, we serve  60,000 students and educators each year through curriculum-based touring performances with workshops, classroom residencies, student matinees, professional development for teachers, and a literacy program that integrates theatre and the Book-It Style with classroom reading instruction. 

Stories being toured include the bi-lingual story of a Mexican migrant worker's son starting first grade in a new school and a new country, La Mariposa by Francisco Jimenez; STAT Standing Tall and Talented: Home Court, written and based on the life of All-Star NBA player Amar'e Stoudemire; and the Lewis Carroll classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Recent Successes and Current Challenges

In 2014 Book-It received the Gregory Award for Outstanding Production of the Year for Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, adapted and directed by Co-Artistic Director Myra Platt. This 4-hour theatrical event utilized a team of experts (magician, graphic novel artist, visual artist, choreographer, and composer),  and 14 actors plus three musicians who played 88 characters to tell a story of WWII, the Nazi occupation, the Golem, and Jewish mysticism amidst the birth of American comic-book superheroes. Seattle Times said the "note-perfect cast unlock the heart of Chabon's saga in one of Book-It's most ambitious and best productions..."

One challenge has been responding to the increased demand for our work and building operation capacity in order to support this growth. The impact of Book-It’s artistry and social relevance is only just beginning. Since 2007, we have doubled our budget, carefully balancing artistic risk with a conservative fiscal philosophy. We know it is critical that we maintain artistic excellence and prioritize artistic capacity. As a result, we are exploring ways to build capacity in order to support and manage our expanded operations and artistic development.

We are excited about the opportunity for growth and transformation in the years ahead and invite community support of our current initiatives.

Evaluation


Book-It Repertory Theatre (Book-It) is the only theatre in our region, and one of few nationally, to transform literature into theatre with the primary mission of inspiring audiences to read. Using their trademarked Book-It Style, the Theatre offers mainstage adaptations of a wide variety of pieces of literature, as well as educational opportunities in-school and out.

Best Practices
Book-It launched a new, comprehensive assessment system that evaluates the impact of their work on audiences, particularly the impact of their program on student audiences’ reading behaviors and skills. The data they collect is shaping future program design. This work is guided by a Literacy Advisory Committee made up of specialists and educators in the field.

Book-It is one of the only theatre companies in Seattle to invest exclusively in local talent and offer mentorships/internships to young professional artists just starting out.

Proven Success
Book-It celebrated its 20th Anniversary Season in 2010. Since its founding, Book-It has over 60 world-premiere adaptations to its credit, and its trademarked Book-It Style is widely respected for the consistent artistic quality of its work.

Collaboration
The theatre has a strong reputation of partnering with a variety of community organizations with complementary missions to enhance literacy instruction, build awareness on specific issues and reach communities that are unlikely to see their work at their home theatre. Partnerships have included the Seattle and King County Library Systems, Literacy Source, Frye Art Museum, Treehouse, ACLU, Town Hall and Save Darfur Washington, among others. Book-It also develops adaptations of a variety of smaller, non-mainstage pieces for organizations looking for another way to engage individuals.

Additionally, their teacher development program, Bringing Theatre into the Classroom is a partnership with Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Company and Seattle Repertory Theatre.

Grant History with The Seattle Foundation:

Grants Awarded through The Seattle Foundation Grantmaking Program:

DateAmountPurpose
9/10/2012 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
9/10/2011 $10,000.00support general operating expenses.
12/10/2008 $15,000.00support general operating expenses.
12/14/2006 $30,000.00support general operating expenses.

Financials

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