The IRT is proud of our ongoing partnership with Printing Partners. The commitment of corporate partners makes a significant impact on the work that the IRT is able to achieve each season. Michael O'Brien, one of the owners of Printing Partners, shares below why Printing Partners' ongoing commitment to the IRT has been important to him and his organization.
Our relationship with the Indiana Repertory Theatre goes back almost three decades. They are, first and foremost, a valued customer. And, as their needs expanded, it helped us justify expanding our capabilities.
Over time, we recognized that our association with IRT helped raise our profile in the community. Being recognized as a corporate printing partner introduces us to all of IRT's corporate partners, which has helped us build business. We can identify new business that is a direct result of our sponsorship.
A significant part of our partnership is a commitment to fill seats. When asked how IRT could help Printing Partners achieve its marketing objectives, we developed the concept for Partners Nights. The Theatre had previously given Printing Partners vouchers that could be redeemed for tickets. We had no way to track whether they were used, so IRT created a promotion code that could be used for designated performances that we refer to as Partners Nights. They are early in the production run when there is generally good availability, and people who might not otherwise attend can purchase a discounted ticket. And we can both track who attends the Partners Night performances.
Great theatre is a cultural amenity that contributes to a great community. And IRT does an excellent job both on the stage and in the classroom with its educational programs. Students from all over the state can take advantage of its student matinees and in-class programming.
We feel that is an important learning experience for students. And it is clearly evidenced when an employees granddaughter announces, "that's the best movie I have ever seen," after seeing her first performance of A Christmas Carol.
David Alan Anderson began his association with the IRT in 1990, and his stunning work in such productions as Fences, The Mountaintop, and Looking Over the President's Shoulder has made him a favorite with IRT audiences. David sat down with us to share a little bit about his work and more.
What has been your favorite role to play, so far?
Often for actors, the favorite role is the current role. It means we're working! I'd have to say Alonzo Fields from Looking Over the President's Shoulder. Not just because he's current, but since my first meeting with him back in 2001, thru my first portrayal in 2003, thru this past season, his journey has left an impression on me that I doubt I'll ever forget.
Other favorites would include Troy from Fences, by August Wilson, and Walter Lee from A Raisin in the Sun. Both are classic roles that require and demand soul searching.
If you weren't an actor, what would you be doing?
I'm not sure...A dear friend, who is also a giant in the field of acting, once said that if she weren't acting she'd probably be an ax murderer. I understood.
If you could eat dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
I would have dinner with my late maternal grandmother. I never had the opportunity to meet her. There are many unanswered questions about her journey I'd have the chance to ask. She also gave me my Mom. I could thank her.
What are you reading/watching for artistic inspiration these days?
I'm currently reading The Witch of Edmonton by John Ford, Thomas Dekker, and William Rowley. It's been adapted into a play that I will be working on in the fall. (Editor's note: The Witch of Edmonton will be produced by Writers Theatre in Chicago.)
What super power do you most wish you had?
As a kid I always dreamed of stepping out of my house, leaping into the air and flying... Soaring high above the trees, the clouds. So breezy and quiet.
Emily and her late husband, Bruce, (above) started giving to the IRT 20 years ago. So we asked Emily: Why support live theatre?
It all began with Miss Ruth Sullivan, Bruce's American and English literature teacher at Herrin High School in Herrin, Illinois in the late 1960s. Miss Sullivan managed to bring literature alive for every single student. She was masterful at inspiring students to read on their own, recite literature in class, and attend plays as a group from her list of local opportunities.
Flash forward ten years, and here we were, new to the city of Indianapolis and new to Indiana! My first full day of work at St. Vincent Hospital was January 25, 1978 when Indianapolis was paralyzed by the Blizzard of 1978. After we dug ourselves out, we started exploring Indianapolis: history, culture, architecture, industry, the arts, and sports. We saw a few plays when the IRT was housed at the Athenaeum, and by the time the new location was completely refurbished, we were hooked.
We became season subscribers in IRT's 9th season, 1980-81. In the early years, Bruce and I gave gifts to the IRT both yearly and sporadically. We made our first gift to the IRT during an awareness campaign that informed us about the cost of the production versus the cost of the ticket. I continue to give for that same reason and many, many more. We became more purposeful about our gifts by using an automatic payment plan or by our employer's payroll deduction.
As a donor, I have participated in backstage tours, the ArtTalk series, and donor receptions. What I enjoy the most is being able to speak one-on-one with the actors, directors, the dramaturg, and the playwright. I am compelled to let each IRT company member know exactly how much I appreciate their craft and what powerful message I have taken away because of it.
This season continued to engage and entertain with riveting productions, including my favorite, The Originalist. I was completely glued to the articulate and intense dialogue between the characters as they explored their opposing views about life, the law, and basic human rights in a challenging and witty, yet thoughtful manner. And, of course, the genuine admiration that grew between the characters that embodied such different perspectives was so well-done.
In addition to an annual gift, Bruce and I chose to leave the IRT a gift from our estates. After Bruce passed away in 2012, a legacy gift from my estate remained a top priority for two reasons: 1) to thank the IRT, with a grateful heart, for the years of top-notch, life-changing theater and 2) to allow the future Miss Ruth Sullivans out there to have access to live theater and educational programs for their students.
The IRT is an essential element for the Central Indiana community: for everyday people like me and for all those who are yet to have this invigorating experience. And, of course, on behalf of our youth and all the Ruth Sullivans out there, see it live at the IRT!
During the 2017-2018 IRT season, the theatre produced nine remarkable shows full of countless characters. With your generous support, our artisans created sets, costumes, and props that brought new places to life the moment you walked through the theatre doors and took your seat. But what happens after the final curtain call of the season, when the audience leaves and the IRTís marquee lights go dark?
Of course, we welcome 70 students to our conservatory programs and prepare to send out tickets for the upcoming season. But what about our professional artisans?
During the summer, some production staff head across the country to work at summer festivals or other programs, but others stay right here at the IRT. These artisans are getting a head start on the upcoming season and upgrading theatre infrastructure and equipment, all in an effort to improve your IRT experience when you return in September.
If you saw a show at the IRT last season, you saw our previous summer work in action. Past projects have included:
So what are we doing from June to September, and how does it impact you? This coming summer, we will tackle a particularly massive project: completing the upgrade of our 15 year old hydraulic system. By investing in this new automation equipment, we can improve our overall design quality and execute production designs that are more cutting-edge than those currently achievable on our stages. This project will upgrade the sophistication of our designs, allowing us to continually raise the bar of artistic quality.
The new hydraulics involved in this upgrade will mean that we can move multiple elevators simultaneously, while we also fly in a chandelier and track walls across the stage, similar to what you might see in a Broadway production. Productions like The Great Gatsby and The Hound of the Baskervilles would have been even more spectacular if we had this ability at the time. This upgrade raises our level of production values above what is expected by our audiences and allows us to fulfill the new and clever ideas coming from our creative teams.
And you thought the IRT wasn't busy during the summer! Everything we do in the summer months enables our design teams to realize remarkable sets featuring props, projections, and sound effects that make your IRT experience even more exciting and surprising. Your support of the IRT makes all of these projects possible, resulting in the world-class theatre you expect at the IRT. Without your generosity all season long, our artists wouldn't be able to work on these projects in the off-season. Thank you for playing such a key role in our producing cast!
I first came to the IRT in order to expose my daughters to theater. We came to The Turn of the Screw in 2003. During the post-show discussion one of the cast members was kind enough to answer a question from one of my daughters, and we have been season ticket holders ever since. The ability to engage with the art and the artists is one of the opportunities we have come to enjoy. Several years ago, we had the opportunity to go on a tour with Janet Allen before a performance of The Unexpected Guest. The tour was a pretty special experience. Most recently, I had the joy of seeing one of my daughter's in a walk-on role in A Christmas Carol, which is an opportunity available in the Celebrity Radio Show silent auction.
Indianapolis is a thriving community and the city should have a quality theater. This is one of the reasons that I became a donor to the IRT — to help ensure that Indianapolis would continue to have the opportunity to see quality stage productions. Live people like live performances (at least, I do) and we want to make sure that access to the arts is always available.
The IRT's commitment to community outreach — providing the opportunity for people to see professional theater that might not otherwise have that chance — is what sparked my desire to support the IRT.
FROM THE WINGS
From the Wings is a biannual newsletter exclusively for donors to the Indiana Repertory Theatre.
Did you know that more than 7% of all charitable giving is now done online? You can support the IRT in less than five minutes!
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