Greater Reading ACT aims to strengthen local theatre collaboration

Performers, organizations, artists, and audience members all gathered at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Reading Saturday morning to discuss new ways to build the performing arts community through the Greater Reading Alliance of Community Theatres.

Founded in 2011, the mission of the Greater Reading Alliance of Community Theatres is to serve the needs of Reading-based theatre groups by identifying, growing, and sharing the resources that each needs to be successful.

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President Patricia Perfect began the meeting by addressing organizational updates and new strategic initiatives. “I hope this meeting educates and informs everyone on what we hope to accomplish. We hope to be more of a resource, eventually working towards a community theatre space open to everyone.”

Currently, only two local theater groups are members of the Alliance, Genesius Theatre and Reading Community Players. Perfect hope that by revising the bylaws to be more inclusive and changing the fee structure of the organization, not only will more theaters join, but also local performing arts groups.

With their new plan, Greater Reading ACT hopes to strengthen a collaborative culture within regional performing arts groups, with an emphasis on resource sharing. In addition, the organization plans to leading the development in building an engaged local audience for a performing arts.

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“In the beginning there were more people involved, and because things didn’t happen fast enough, we fell into a rut. We are out of the rut now, we are writing grants now that help the community and we want to continue to do that to support our members” Said Perfect.

Proposed benefits of joining include access to professional services, legal, accounting, ticketing, and data analytics. Looking to the future, Greater Reading ACT plans to build a clearinghouse of assets, props, sets, costumes, for groups to share.

One of the announcements during the meeting was the recent hiring of a grant-funded business-development consultant, Lori B. Donofrio-Galley of The Right Angle Strategic Storytelling, LLC.

This past summer, Berks County Community Foundation awarded grants to local nonprofits through three special programs in an effort to ease them through the pandemic. Through this program, Greater Reading Alliance of Community Theatres was awarded a $10,000 grant for the consultant position.

“The alliance has been around for a number of years and has always tried to be a service organization to theater groups. As we have evolved, I think we have an opportunity to expand to performing arts, not just theater groups” said Advisor Santo D. Marabella.

Marabella said it was encouraging to see so many Berks performing arts groups attend the meeting. “I’m proud to say we had representatives from all the main players in the community, from Yocum to Berks Arts. We want to be a planner, a resource, a councilor. Our focus now is sharing resources and to get things they can’t afford by themselves.”

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