V-Day 2013: Raising Awareness To End Violence
Posted by in community on Jan 17, 2013
by Guest Blogger, Joi Smith of Back Alley Productions
Eighteen thousand dollars: that’s how much money was raised last year for local organizations Sexual Assault Support Services (S.A.S.S.) and A Safe Place by Back Alley Productions’ presentation of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. But for organizers Joi Smith and Danica Carlson, those numbers only fueled their desire to make an even bigger impact. This year, the company will be expanding its V-Day benefit production to two cities: Portsmouth and – for the first time – Rochester, NH.
Founded fifteen years ago as a global effort demanding an end to violence against women and girls, V-Day (www.VDay.org) raises money by way of hundreds of thousands of volunteers in 140 different countries producing benefit productions of playwright/founder Eve Ensler’s works. The cash funds educational programs that help women overcome the effects of violence, enabling them to support themselves and their families. It’s a crucial contribution in a world where one in three women will experience violence in their lifetimes.
Motivated by that staggering statistic, Smith and Carlson’s Back Alley Productions has taken part in the V-Day program for four years, helping to support both the global V-Day effort and local organizations dedicated to preventing violence against children and adults. It’s a truly community effort, with over 30 people involved in the production. All of them are volunteers, and many return to lend a hand year after year. In addition, local businesses and artists donate a wide array of treats, gift certificates, works and other products to help raise money for the cause.
As they expand their efforts to two cities this year, they’re taking a divide-and-conquer approach. Proceeds from the V-Day Portsmouth event, which takes place at Seacoast Repertory Theater on February 1, 2, and 3, will go to support S.A.S.S.’s efforts to end sexual violence by providing educational programs in Rockingham and Strafford county school systems. Meanwhile, the company’s V-Day Rochester program, taking place on Februay 22 and 23 at The Rochester Opera House, will raise cash for A Safe Place (www.ASafePlaceNH.org), helping them further their mission of providing free shelter and support services for those affected by domestic abuse.
The expansion into a new city isn’t the only change for Back Alley Production’s V-Day efforts this year. The company is also offering a compelling innovation on the traditional V-Day program by including a monologue from a male perspective. The piece, Rescue, was written by Mark Matousek for V-Day’s 10th anniversary. At first he wasn’t sure if he had anything to offer the movement. Then he realized the violence the women in his life experienced affected his life as well. The piece will be performed by CJ Lewis, who provided administrative support last year and after watching the show, wanted to get more involved.
“I think it’s great that they are getting a male voice. As I am sitting there watching the show it is clear that I am outnumbered as a male viewer. I believe that the experience is as important and powerful for men as it is for women,” explains Lewis. “The piece is a call to arms, to men especially. It is important that we raise new awareness. It’s not just a woman’s issue – it’s a human issue. I’m looking forward to being a conduit for other men to experience the piece.”
The move is part of Smith and Carlson’s desire to remind audiences that The Vagina Monologues isn’t just a “women’s show”. Hailed by The New York Times, Daily News, and Variety as funny, poignant, intelligent and courageous, the show was written and conceived for a both men and women to engage with.
V-Day Portsmouth has only three performances on Friday February 1st at 8:00 PM, Saturday February 2nd at 8:00 PM, and Sunday February 3rd at 2pm, at Seacoast Repertory Theater on Bow Street in Portsmouth, NH. The audience is encouraged to bring cash so that they can participate in the sale of artisan wares and the raffle of gift certificates and other items. Tickets are $25 general admission, $20 for students & seniors. To purchase tickets online visit www.seacoastrep.org, or contact the Box Office via phone- 603-433-4472, or email- email@example.com.
V-Day Rochester has only two performances on Friday February 22nd at 8pm and Saturday February 23rd at 8pm, at The Rochester Opera House, 31 Wakefield Street in Rochester, NH. Tickets are $20 general admission.To purchase tickets online visit www.rochesteroperahouse.com, or contact the Box Office via phone- (603) 335-1992.
The doors will open one hour before show-time at both venues for live music and cocktails. This production contains adult language and themes and may not be appropriate for all audiences.
100% of the proceeds for both productions will go to Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS), A Safe Place, and V-Day.
Back Alley Productions has been creating thought provoking, quality theater for the seacoast since 2008. It’s founders, Joi Smith and Danica Carlson, share a passion for highlighting the amazing talents in their community, as well as raising awareness to social issues through the theater medium. Their next production, after both V-Day performances, will be an original, locally written show called Love, exploring the many perspectives of such an important topic. Love will be up at The Players’ Ring in Portsmouth April 19th – May 5th.
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