ArtsEmerson has a series of initiatives aimed at realizing our core belief that the arts belong to everyone, that art is a common right, and that overcoming the exclusionary tendencies of art requires building institutions where civic engagement isn’t a program but is the DNA of the organizational infrastructure. These initiatives include:
PLAY READING BOOK CLUB
The Play Reading Book Club (PRBC) is a dynamic theatre literacy and community education program that provides unique and radical access to scripts, artists, and conversations within the theatre. It offers participants pre and post show opportunities to deepen and expand their experience as audience members through stimulating conversations about the literary, artistic and technical attributes of a play while meeting new people and broadening their cultural network.
Presented in partnership with libraries and community organizations in Roxbury, Cambridge, Newton, South End and Hyde Park, PRBC provides the opportunity for participants to read, discuss, and analyze plays in our season prior to seeing them live on our stage. After seeing the play participants share their experience with their friends and family via a community showcase. The program is facilitated by trained teaching artists from the Emerson College Masters in Theatre Education program. Learn more.
PRE AND POST SHOW ACTIVITIES
ArtsEmerson continually experiments with new ways to start conversations among theatregoers before and after the show through lobby engagement activities, social media, post-show discussions, and opening night toasts with the artists where audiences are always invited.
WELCOME TO BOSTON
A tradition of visionary arts leader, humanist and Emerson college alumna, Ms. Elma Lewis, Welcome to Boston events are cast parties co-hosted by ArtsEmerson and community partners that celebrate the arrival of national and international artists to Boston. While being feted by performances from Boston’s finest poets, vocalists, dancers, actors and entertainers, this warm and vibrant event presents our artists to the community before seeing them perform on stage. Learn more.
Our free public dialogues are in service to our organizational mission—to foster civic transformation through the shared experience of art and public dialogue. The series is aimed at connecting the work on our stages, our artists, our community partners and our audiences through conversations that address the concerns and challenges of our contemporary moment.
PAST ENGAGEMENT PROGRAMS
Craig Bailey, Perspective Photo
I DREAM: BOSTON
I Dream is a nationally recognized youth leadership & social justice initiative that uses the tools of arts, immersive group exercises, and trauma recovery to support young people in rewriting the story of race & class inequity in America, and in creating social justice projects to make that new story reality. Launched in 2014, I Dream: Boston was a three-year, multifaceted civic engagement program and artist-in-residency with award-winning writer, performer and community activist Daniel Beaty. Learn more.
Citizen Read was a series of dynamic events co-produced by ArtsEmerson and American Repertory Theater to activate a public dialogue on race and identity in America. Learn More.
Cambodian Culture, Art and History
Cambodian Culture, Art and History was a month-long series of free and ticketed community engagement events in Boston and Lowell that included films, conversations and workshops; and culminated with the community screening of the film First They Killed My Father, produced by Oscar-nominated Rithy Pahn and Angelina Jolie, and ArtsEmerson’s presentation of Bangsokol: A Requiem for Cambodia, the first major symphonic work created by Panh and composer Him Sophy - survivors of the Khmer Rouge. Other events included a Rithy Panh film retrospective, Cambodian classical music workshop and the Welcome to Boston Cast Party for Bangsokol: A Requiem for Cambodia. Learn More.