Anti-racism coalition to host theater-based virtual allyship workshop

Rochester Anti-Racism Action Coalition will team with Impact Interactive LLC to host a theater-based virtual workshop on allyship next month.

“Uncomfortable Conversations: Confronting Privilege, Bias & Racism” is designed to help white people become better allies and accomplices, and develop effective tactics to face racism head-on. The innovative virtual workshop will present realistic scenes that illustrate the challenges of speaking up for racial justice at home and at work.

When tensions heighten the scenes will freeze and facilitators will invite participants to interact with the characters to learn more about their thoughts, feelings and motivations. Together, attendees will confront and identify some subtle and not so subtle expressions of privilege, bias and racism, while exploring strategies to overcome common challenges so that constructive conversations can be held, officials said.

Impact Interactive is a theater-based training company that uses interactive theater techniques and trained performance educators to simulate dialogue, challenge assumptions, engage groups in collaborative problem-solving and explore practical strategies for change.

RARAC’s mission is to collaborate with like-minded organizations and individuals to foster effective communications, elevate social consciousness and develop actionable and sustainable steps to dismantle systemic racism through education, advocacy and community organizing.

The $45 event will be held via Zoom on Nov. 8. Registration is available on Eventbrite.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

OFC Creations to open Brighton performing arts center

While many of us wrap our heads around this new era of social distancing, one local theatre has continued with plans to open its new performing arts center in Brighton this summer.

OFC Creations will open the OFC Creations Theatre Center at Winton Place Plaza, in space formerly used by Downstairs Cabaret and Comix Café. The new center is a multi-purpose arts center that will focus on youth theater education and performances, mounting professional plays and musicals, hosting community events, presenting out-of-town entertainers and providing performance space to local arts groups.

OFC Creations will open the OFC Creations Theatre Center at Winton Place Plaza, in space formerly used by Downstairs Cabaret and Comix Café. (Drawing provided)
OFC Creations will open the OFC Creations Theatre Center at Winton Place Plaza, in space formerly used by Downstairs Cabaret and Comix Café. (Drawing provided)

The center will offer classes in acting, singing and dancing; school field trips and tours; community events; and theater camps during summer and school. OFC currently offers the largest summer theater camp program in Upstate New York, officials said.

“This new center is exactly what our students, artists and audiences need right now,” said Eric Johnson, OFC founder and executive director. “The center is ideal for expanding our already growing programming and allows for us to connect and partner with many more community arts organizations.”

The theater will have seating for 260, with newly-installed and raked theater seats, as well as new stage curtains and drapes and a redesigned lobby for community receptions and events. The center is air-conditioned, ADA accessible and has parking for 700 vehicles.

“We are thrilled when the arts expand and grow, especially for organizations as important as OFC Creations, which flourished while in residence at the Lyric Theatre,” said Sue Cotroneo, artistic director of the Lyric. “We anticipate more growth and success for Eric and the OFC team. What Eric has accomplished at a young age is commendable and impressive. We look forward to future OFC and Lyric collaborations.”

OFC was founded in 2005 and has offered a number of opportunities for theatergoers, performers and students while continuing to expand programs to meet student and audience needs. OFC was founded to give adults and students an opportunity to push their creative limits.

Before having its own home, OFC productions were at Kodak Center, Nazareth College of Rochester, East End Theatre and most recently in residence at the Lyric. Current programs and summer camps will take place in their previously announced locations, including Kodak Center and the Lyric Theatre.

Hunter Ekberg will serve as OFC’s operations manager. He has appeared in numerous OFC productions, as well as behind-the-scenes directing youth and teen productions and summer camps. Ekberg also serves as director of Hands-In Entertainment, a local nonprofit focused on event and performance interpreting for deaf and hard-of-hearing community members.

OFC’s summer series includes “A Chorus Line,” which is scheduled to run from July 10 through July 19; “A Midsummer Night’s Drag,” scheduled for July 24 through Aug. 2; “Frank’s Rat Pack,” which will run Aug. 7 and 8; “Remembering Elvis,” a concert of songs performed by Elvis tribute artist Patrick Johnson on Aug. 15 and 16; and “Charlotte’s Web,” scheduled for Aug. 22 and 30.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer