Opening Up Communications Channels Through the Performing Arts

A poster depicting the JTP’s 2019 – 2020 season.

In the past, I have published a number of blogs about how the performing arts can help transport people from their daily lives to gain a better understanding of social issues and diversity. One of the organizations leading this work in my community is The Justice Theater Project (link to my introductory blog about the JTP.)

I am pleased to share that my business, Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer is supporting the Justice Theater Project by placing a full page ad in the 2019 – 2020 season program book. In addition, I serve on the JTP’s Community Engagement Committee which helps line up educational speakers and schedule area non-profits to present their organizations at the shows.

This season’s 2019 – 2020 theme is “From Monologue to Dialogue – Open Communication Opening Minds.” This theme was chosen as we head into our next Presidential election cycle at a time when the USA is facing unprecedented division along the lines of political parties, race, gender and socioeconomic status. This year’s productions demonstrate how characters falter when their minds are closed and how they rise when they approach difficult topics with open dialogue.

The season’s first production runs on the weekends from September 13 – 29, “Inherit the Wind.” This play is a dramatization of the true “Trial of the Century” when a schoolteacher is thrown into jail for teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Revisiting this trial is quite timely in today’s world when an increasing number of people are proclaiming science (such as global warming, human pollution and impact on the environment, etc.) as “fake news.” Link to the full list of 2019 – 2020 productions.

Vanessa Woods, Author of Bonobo Handshake, will be our pre-show speaker on September 28th.

At the September 28th show, I will be introducing that night’s educational speaker, Vanessa Woods speaking on “Survival of the Friendliest: Evolution and What it Means Today.” Vanessa Woods, NYT Bestselling Author of The Genius of Dogs and Bonobo Handshake, is a most fascinating speaker and often shares about her research with the Bonobo apes of the Congo. At the September 29th afternoon show, I will spotlighting Other Sheep, a non profit of which I am the board chair, that provides resources to religious leaders in third world countries to promote acceptance of LGBTQ people.

Later in the season, I plan to deliver a short educational workshop prior to one of the shows on the complexities of effective communications in an increasing complex diverse world.

Please consider ways you or your business can support the work of the Justice Theater Project. Become a season subscriber or a sponsor. Details on the JTP website. And if you are one of my blog readers from outside the area, perhaps see if there is a similar theater company in your community, or perhaps consider starting one!

The Justice Theater Project’s New Season – The Woman Empowered!

The JTP holds an annual youth camp, including raising significant funds to provide financial assistance for many children.

Last year, I got introduced to a wonderful theater group in the Raleigh – Durham, NC area, the Justice Theater Project (see my introductory blog (link) about the JTP.) The Justice Theater Project is a social justice theater company whose mission is to produce compelling theater experiences that create community dialogue and give voice to social concerns. And as a diversity consultant who often addresses these same issues, I am a big proponent of transporting people out of their daily lives through the performing arts to give them a fresh prospective on societal issues.

What is particularly unique about the Justice Theater Project is that, in addition to offering various plays, they pair that with pre-show discussions, highlight community organizations, and provide educational opportunities and outreach. It’s theater and whole lot more!

The Justice Theater project has just announced their exciting 2018 – 2019 season, focusing on women empowered, so totally timely given the state of affairs in our country the past few years. This new season is titled “S/HE IS: Becoming Whole,” and will render performances and discussions about the wholeness of women, including people identifying as women, from a positive perspective and not as the stereotypical victim.

“A Doll’s House Remodeled” features Lakeisha Coffey as Nora and Germain Choffart as Torvald

The shows this season include:

October 12 – 28, 2018. A DOLL’S HOUSE by Henrik Ibsen. Directed by JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell. A modern, multicultural, celebrity inspired, selfie-taking, reality TV and social media version of one of the most celebrated classics of female-centric theatre with its then shocking, now progressive final moments.

November 15-18, 2018. Staged Reading. I AM MY OWN WIFE by Doug Wright. Directed by Jackson Cooper. Charlotte von Mahlsdorf was an elegant and eccentric 65-year-old German transvestite, who tells the story of hiding from the Nazis in plain sight as a woman. Winner: 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Tony Award for Best Play.

December 14-18, 2018. (6 shows) JTP Annual Holiday Production: BLACK NATIVITY by Langston Hughes. Directed by JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell, Music Direction by Ray Watkins.

February 8-24, 2019. Main Stage Production. MEN ON BOATS by Jaclyn Backhaus. Directed by Duke professor Jules Odendahl-James. Based on the book THE EXPLORATION OF THE COLORADO RIVER AND ITS CANYONS by John Wesley Powell. An all-woman cast portrays Powell, a stately one-armed army major, and his 10-man 1869 expedition as it wends its way in four boats through perilous waters to create the first official map of the region.

April 5-7, 2019. Staged Reading. REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES by Josephina Lopez. Set in a tiny sewing factory in East L.A., the outrageously funny story tells of five full-figured Mexican-American women who are trying to keep their tiny factory from going under. And while they work, and hide from the INS, they talk… about their husbands and lovers, their children, their dreams for the future.

June, 7-23, 2019 JTP’s Main Stage season musical finale: CAROLINE, OR CHANGE by Jeanine Tesori and Tony Kushner. Featuring a virtuosic score by Jeanine Tesori (Shrek The Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie), it blends blues, gospel and traditional Jewish melodies. In 1963, the Gellman family and their African-American maid, Caroline, live in sleepy Lake Charles, Louisiana. Caroline is drifting through life as a single mother of four working in a service job to a white family.

More information and ticket information can be found at their website, In addition, the website will list other associated activities around the shows, like panel and book discussions.

Media Contact: Melissa Zeph, Executive Producer, (919)215-0889, [email protected]

Web information: General JTP information and online tickets:
[email protected]