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N2N Highlight: Theatre Battery Connects Contemporary Theater with Social Issues

The theater will use their grant to help provide no-cost admission


June 07, 2017

By Elaine Chu, philanthropic advisor

If any organization demonstrates the power of the arts to provide an outlet and safe environment for individuals, families and community members to share thoughts around current social issues, it’s Theatre Battery. This dynamic theater company is just one of the grantees of Seattle Foundation’s Neighbor to Neighbor program.

Founded in 2011 by seven students who graduated from the Kent School District, Theatre Battery is Kent’s only theater group outside of traditional school institutions. The company produces contemporary works in nontraditional settings, transforming vacant storefronts and warehouses into a pop-up theater. To date, the company has produced six full productions, three workshop series and four short play festivals.

Mindful of large disparities in access to arts and culture and a desire to reach more audiences, Theatre Battery offers no-cost admission to all of their productions. They celebrate diversity and raise awareness of social needs in the Kent and South King County neighborhoods, sparking dialogue on social justice issues between parents, students, schools, artists, activists, leaders and organizations.

One notable success was their 2016 production, HOODED or Being Black for Dummies, which focuses on two 14-year-old African American boys from different backgrounds and their contrasting views on the social and political climate. After one of the performances in a four-week run, the cast and crew hosted an open-ended conversation with the audience to hear their thoughts and reactions.  

The N2N grant will assist Theatre Battery in continuing to provide no-cost admission in 2017, fostering an environment for creative self-expression, community and experimentation. To learn more about their programs and production, please visit them at http://www.theatrebattery.org.

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