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A Theatre Company in Good Company

Posted by Danielle Iwata
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A Theatre Company in Good Company

Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company

 

The Tony Award-winning director founded the eponymous organization in 2002 with a mission “to celebrate the rich tradition of black storytelling while giving voice to bold new artists of all cultures.” Since its founding, the theatre company has not only produced remarkable shows, but it has become an integral part of Atlanta’s community. True Colors has partnered with businesses throughout the city, including past BCA 10 honoree Turner Broadcasting, Coca-Cola, and State Farm.

 

Turner Broadcasting Systems

Turner Broadcasting has been a sponsor of Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company since 2007. Through the Turner Voices Program, that “strategically invests in community arts and culture and youth development,” the company has become a vital part in “developing a pipeline of future storytellers and talent.”

 

Turner’s engagement with True Colors Theatre Company extends far beyond one hallmark program.  Three Turner employees sit on the Board of Directors, including the Board President. These connections inspire deeper involvement within the arts and the community. In addition to board leadership, the company promotes performances to their employee base through digital e-boards and a corporate responsibility newsletter, who then receive discounts to shows. True Colors even produces programming specifically for Turner Broadcasting: for one performance each season, they can invite up to 300 employees to attend a dress rehearsal. This is not only a way for the company to show gratitude to its staff by providing an opportunity to attend the rehearsal, but it helps promote the performance by word of mouth. Employees who see the show in previews spread the word among the office and the community.

 

The theatre company also partners with Business Resource Groups (BRG), particularly with Black Professionals at Turner (BP@T) to bring together local actors and directors with Turner Broadcasting Systems employees. By exposing the Turner creative teams to other creatives in the community, everyone can learn from each other’s experiences.

 

With an abundance of opportunities for the Atlanta staff to interact with artists, employees in the New York City office wanted a piece of the fun. This past spring, Kenny Leon directed the revival of Children of a Lesser God, which ran at Studio 54 from March-May 2018. Leon hosted a lunch and learn for the New York City Office, an exciting opportunity for employees to meet a Tony Award-winning director and a chance for Leon to spread the word about the production.

 

Turner Broadcasting Systems will receive the Abundance Award at True Colors Applauds Awards Brunch in 2019, given to a corporation for its outstanding support of the arts community.

 

Corporate BRGs

True Colors has also partnered with other companies like Coca-Cola to celebrate Black History Month. It presented a scene from August Wilson’s King Hedley II to the African American Resource Group at a gathering with foods celebrating the African American experience.

 

Jamil Jude, Associate Artistic Director, introducing the cast of King Hedley II at Coca-Cola. Photo by LaTeshia Ellerson, courtesy Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company

 

Community Engagement

Though not a sponsor, State Farm has been active in ensuring their employees are engaged in the local community. Director of Education, Nikki Toombs, will be directing a montage performance featuring some of our students from the August Wilson Monologue Competition. There will be singing, monologues and movement in the montage.

 

Main photo: Nina Simone: Four Women by Christiana Ham & Directed by Michele Shay. L-R: Wendy Fox Williams, Regina Marie Williams, Adrienne Reynolds, and Jordan Frazier. Photo by Greg Mooney, courtesy Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre

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