What Part Will You Play?

IMG_3454Kristen Coury is Gulfshore Playhouse’s Founder and Producing Artistic Director. She will be blogging on Saturdays throughout the 2014-2015 Season

The other day, Cody Nickell told me he thought I might like a particular film (okay, “Birdman” if you must know) because I’ve worked in commercial theatre, film, and not-for-profit theatre.

This gave me pause.  With, at this point, just about an equal amount of time in the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds of art-making, I have to say, despite the fact that you have heard me even right here in this blog say that the not-for-profit model is broken, that starting and running a charitable organization in the regions has been my favorite thing so far.

And there’s something special about doing it in Naples, Florida.  I attended a fundraiser the other day and somehow the phrase “golf and philanthropy” popped into my mind in that context: the two things that many people in Naples spend their time doing.  What a beautiful thing we’ve set up here with our not-for-profit system.  Those that can, do.  Those that can’t can still come and enjoy an incredible piece of theatre, created and performed by professionals, right in their own backyard.  We are so lucky to be in a community filled with so many generous, dedicated and involved individuals.  Southwest Florida is truly paradise for more reasons than just the weather.

Cody Nickell in JACOB MARLEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL

Cody Nickell in JACOB MARLEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL

I am grateful for the opportunity to do a STOCKINGS AND STOCKING STUFFERS drive for the kids in Immokalee, through the Immokalee Foundation.  (When you come to see the most incredible remount of JACOB MARLEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL, don’t forget your socks or school supplies…don’t worry, we’ll have some for you if you need some.)  We’re also so pleased to have the privilege of giving 100 tickets to the students in Immokalee and their families, as well as tickets to many students and families through the Collier County Public School System, and our kids at Naples Performing Arts Center as well.

If it is my belief that theatre can change the world, and it is, then who better to start with than our youth?  Sparking the imagination, inviting lively discourse and critical thinking, and filling the stage and young minds with magic and morals can only result in the greater good.    And that’s why I’ve started calling our organization, a charitable organization for the greater good.  Using the terms “for-profit” and “not-for-profit”, while currently necessary, draw a line in the sand that I don’t think need to be drawn…we aren’t exactly seeking not to make a profit.  We are seeking to benefit and serve our community.  That is where our focus should be and always has been.  And I invite you all to be a part of changing the world.  It takes an Army.  An Army for the Arts.  What part will you play??

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