I started Plowshares Theatre Company in March 1989. The mission is pretty simple: producing plays and programs developed by African American artists with the unique perspective that comes from being a person of color in America. Although we hadn’t participated in the past, at the beginning of this year I pledged to create a #GivingTuesday campaign as a part of our overall fundraising efforts. Considering my background in performance, arts marketing, and social media, paired with my role as Artistic Director, this was an exciting task to take on. Immediately I knew that I wanted to use quotes from famous people on the topic of giving. I wanted to create a video, knowing that personal stories are most successful. Unfortunately, time got away from us so that will have to be a strategy we use next year.
Instead, I asked permission from my pastor to make a request to the congregation at my church on Sunday during both services. I asked participants to answer two questions: What does a racially equitable theatre community in Michigan look like? Why should you invest in theatre, specifically Black Theatre, in Michigan? I took some portraits of people for the #UNselfie portion of our campaign. With one day to go we are preparing a very quick, social media friendly video, which will premiere on #GivingTuesday. We’ve been posting the wonderful images from past productions, enlisted the support of patrons and friends to participate. At the very least, our expectations are that we are increasing awareness and visibility of our organization. At the most, we are hoping to attract new donors who believe in our mission to create a culturally diverse and equitable Michigan in a fun and interactive way. This is our first campaign, and I’m personally excited with anticipation not knowing what the outcome will look like, but the process has been really engaging. Feel free to post your own #UNselfie about self-definition, racial equity or Black Theatre where you live and tag us @PlowsharesThrCo