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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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BCA 10 Spotlight: Turner Broadcasting System in Atlanta, Georgia

Posted by Mariama Holman
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BCA 10 Spotlight: Turner Broadcasting System in Atlanta, Georgia

Turner Voices, our company’s signature corporate philanthropy program, marries our deep ties to our Atlanta hometown with our commitment to next-generation storytellers and their power to impact our community in profoundly positive ways.”

-Phil Kent, CEO and Chairman, Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc.

 

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. believes that a community filled with the arts fosters creativity in the workplace and drives business. With creativity and innovation at the forefront of the company’s focus, Turner Broadcasting makes the arts a top priority. The company is working to make Atlanta, home to Turner Broadcasting headquarters, a creative city by supporting a wide range of nonprofit organizations that involve emerging works, artists, and programming. The company received a 2013 BCA 10 Award, nominated by the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs.

 

Dedicating 50% of its philanthropic support to the arts, Turner Broadcasting has made more than $25 million in financial contributions over the last 19 years, and regularly gives back through volunteerism, in-kind gifts, and promotions.  Recognizing the skills of its employees as major assets for both the company and the community, Turner Broadcasting strategically utilizes its personnel to work with area arts organizations with the goal of creating change and making a difference. As an example, Turner Studios has partnered with arts organizations to create public service announcements, helping with fundraising and promotions on local television networks. Turner also promotes its nonprofit partner organizations’ upcoming shows and offers discounts to its thousands of employees.

 

Turner Broadcasting invests significant time, effort, and resources to help employees interact with the arts. The company consistently brings the arts to its main campus for employees’ enjoyment.  Turner has hosted performances from the Atlanta Symphony, guest speakers from the “Atlanta Celebrates Photography” exhibit, and an annual holiday performance by local theatre groups.  Turner also holds employee events and outings at area arts organizations and uses artwork from VSA Arts of Georgia to line the hallways of its headquarters. For the past four years, Turner has held a holiday art fair for VSA Arts, selling artwork from disabled or economically disadvantaged artists. The company has also contracted with arts organizations for skills-based trainings that improve team building and creativity among employees.

 

Volunteerism is a large focus in the Turner Broadcasting culture. Each employee receives 40 hours paid time off annually to volunteer. The company actively seeks volunteer opportunities with its arts partners, promoting them to employees through daily e-mails. Through a board placement program, the company offers training in nonprofit board service and matches each participant with an area organization. Once an employee has given 30 hours of volunteer service to an arts organization, Turner will provide up to $500 from its Volunteer Grants Program. The company also has a Matching Grants Program, matching each employee’s contribution to arts organizations and other qualified nonprofits.

 

Turner creates true partnerships with arts organizations, meeting with them regularly to review the most strategic ways in which they can help each other. The company is proactive in supporting and creating arts-related activities and focuses a great deal on innovation, experimental art and programs that help area youth.

 

Photo: Students from Atlanta Public Schools enjoying the Turner-supported City of Atlanta’s Cultural Experience Project

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