|What do we know about the lives of those who came before us in the struggle for acceptance and civil rights?
This Many People, an original production by OutLook Theater Project, follows the lives of a diverse group of LGBTQ senior citizens in San Francisco. The play is set in February 2004. While same-sex weddings are happening at City Hall, our story begins across the quad in the main branch of the Public Library with a song. From there, it weaves a tale of hope, love, connection and community amongst and across generations. Ultimately, it is a story of pride.
The creation of this play was a true act of love. Stories and inspiration were collected through a combination of 1-on-1 interviews with elders, a series of community Speak Outs, and theater workshops with both elders and youth. Working with this material, playwright and company member Kevin Rolston then wrote This Many People. It is directed by company member Rebecca Schultz and choreographed by company member Lynn Johnson.
Creation of This Many People is made possible by the generous cooperation of community partners New Leaf Outreach to Elders and Lavender Seniors of the East Bay. Financial support is provided by the San Francisco Arts Commission Cultural Equity Grants Program, the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, the Zellerbach Family Foundation, California Story Fund, Horizons Foundation and the Clorox Foundation.
OutLook Theater Project is a professional community-based company that explores social issues from the LGBTQ perspective and is a member of the Intersection Incubator, a program of Intersection for the Arts providing fiscal sponsorship, incubation and consulting services to artists.
Rebecca Schultz (Co-Founder, Artistic Director), an artist and educator dedicated to using theater as a tool for community dialogue and development. She has spent the last fifteen years creating original performance pieces about social issues as a performer, director, teacher and facilitator. Rebecca developed several solo performance pieces exploring issues of gender and identity, including the evening length “Passages” which was performed at several Bay Area venues and festivals, and has directed a number of community-based theater projects, including the Play it LOUD! project with LGBT youth, and Identified Queer Objects (a diverse group of LGBT writer-performers who created “Safer to Name”, a piece about gender dynamics in the queer community) which has appeared in several festivals, including the Queer Arts Festival. Rebecca co-founded Bay Area Theater of the Oppressed in 2003 and has facilitated a number of Theater of Oppressed workshops for diverse groups in the Bay Area and internationally since that time. She holds an MA in Education with a concentration in Community-Based Theater Education from San Francisco State University, and has studied theater with the San Francisco Mime Troupe, Headlines Theater, the Siti Company, Michael Rohd, Augusto Boal, FoolsFury, Leigh Fondakowski and Deborah Slater Dance Theater. With funding from Theater Communications Group, Rebecca traveled to Burkina Faso and South Africa in February and March 2008 to engage in an international exchange with colleagues using interactive theater to address social issues, and returned to Africa in July 2008 to teach a forum theater workshop for Réseau Arts Vivants, a network of theater companies in Niamey, Niger.
Lynn Johnson (Co-Founder and Movement Director) an African American lesbian who has spent her entire life living in communities where she is identified as “other”, has shaped a career dedicated to using the art of theater to celebrate difference while building strong, diverse communities. Her work as a director, actor, and teacher started in Chicago where, after attaining a BFA in theater from Northwestern University, she co-founded TurnStyle Teen Theater, a multicultural teen ensemble using the process of creating original productions to explore themes central to the lives of its members such as transition and identity. After eight years of working in Chicago, she moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina where she created and designed many educational and community-based programs. Most notably, she produced and directed a work entitled “Wave When You Pass,” an investigation of notions of home amidst rapidly changing social demographics in collaboration with students from the University of North Carolina, professional artists from the StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance, and intergenerational residents of the neighboring rural Chatham County. Lynn moved to San Francisco in 2002 and in 2003, with her partner, Allison Kenny, founded Glitter & Razz Productions, a company based on her philosophy of and aesthetic for theater to support the creativity and learning of the modern family.
Kevin Rolston (Founding Ensemble Member and Lead Writer) recently appeared in Marin Theatre Co.’s production of What The Butler Saw. In addition to playing Father Flynn in Timothy Near’s production of Doubt at CenterRep, Kevin has appeared in three world premieres at Magic Theatre, including Rebecca Gilman’s The Crowd You’re In With (voted best play of 2007 by Chad Jones). Kevin has also toured with the San Francisco Mime Troupe in Making a Killing and Godfellas. Other theater work includes credits with A.C.T. (‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore), the SF Playhouse, PCPA Theaterfest, foolsFury and Word for Word. As a company member of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey from 2000 to 2003, he appeared in The Glass Menagerie, Enrico IV, Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra, The Comedy of Errors, and Twelfth Night. While still in New York, he made his off-Broadway debut in Whose Family Values, directed by Philip Rose, the Broadway pioneer behind the original production of A Raisin in the Sun. His play Crystal Christian (which he is co-writing with his partner, Ronald Palmer) had its first workshop production at Magic Theatre in August 2008. dent, William Penn College.
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