“I’m going to count to ten. I’m here, you’re there…You know what to do…Welcome…Welcome back.” –Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight by John Kolvenbach
Dear Friend and Vs. Ally,
I hope you had a great Holiday and this letter finds you well. I know we’re all still dealing with this pandemic, but we will get through it and come out stronger on the other side.
2021 was a tough start for Vs. We lost our theatre, our vibrant home for the last decade. (The building in which we leased space was sold to a commercial kitchen and all tenants had to exit in April.) Shutting everything down and moving equipment into storage was emotional and a difficult pill to swallow.
But I’m proud to say we didn’t let that stop us. We persevered. In August we opened a show! The West Coast Premiere of John Kolvenbach’s poignant and funny and heartwarming play, “Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight.” Originally slated to run three weeks at the Atwater Village Theatre, the show ran three months. It received some excellent press including this article in the Los Angeles Times. Most importantly, we gave audiences a great night out and reminded them of the power of live theatre and communal gathering (all the while doing it safely and responsibly). I loved seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they exited. Talking to them in the courtyard afterward brought me so much joy and affirmed why we produce theatre.
Speaking of joy, in 2021 we also launched the Vs. Studio Solo Workshop. Aligned with the mission of The Vs. Studio–helping artists find and manifest the work they’re passionate about and doing so with excellence and generosity—the Solo Workshop was another high point. Conceived and taught by Paul Stein, a world-class teacher and creative guide, it brought many artists together over Zoom. The work they created, the vulnerability they displayed and the courage they had to share their work with others was remarkable. When Paul and I first discussed launching the class, we were just thinking a single, stand-alone workshop and maybe 6-8 people would sign up. By the end of the year, we’ve had multiple workshops and levels; all because the artists wanted to keep going. The testimonials and feedback we’ve received is incredibly inspiring and I can’t wait to see what work stems from it next year and beyond.
We’ve also continued to offer weekly community through our Tuesday Night Play Readings. This is a free reading series on Zoom and all are welcome to attend. What I most love about these nights is that it’s a platform for artists to bring in the work that inspires them. They have a warm and supportive environment in which they can “sponsor” a night–you can read more about what exactly that means Here and again, it aligns perfectly with The Vs. Studio mission. One reading had nearly 200 people watching from all over the globe!
While it’s still tough to make specific live theatre plans for 2022, we will continue to offer community and support through our readings and workshops. And just like 2021–and really every year since we started–when we find the play we’re dying to do, we’ll figure out a way to produce it. No matter what. That’s been our ethos since day one and I think it’s served us well.
So now’s the fun part where I ask you for help…Please consider making a fully tax deductible (we’re a 501c3 non-profit) donation to Vs. Theatre Company.
To donate via PayPal, please click HERE. (You can also donate via Venmo. Our handle is @vstheatre. Snail mail is great too. Checks payable to “VS. Theatre Company”. Address to send is 3734 Santa Carlotta Street; La Crescenta, CA 91214)
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your financial support. Every little bit helps. Know that it means the world to Vs. as it allows us to continue making our art as well as inspire others to do the same.
Have a Happy New Year! I wish you good health, abundant joy and creative fulfillment. (And that I see you in person at the theatre!) In the meantime, please continue to take good care of yourself and others.
With Love and Gratitude,