Founded by SENIOR COMPANY Josie Weinberg, AHA: ARTISTS HELPING ALLIANCE was created to give young people a voice in a world where they’re not often heard. It’s an essential part of OVATIONS THEATRE where young people are given the opportunity to make a difference in this world, right here in their backyard.

In response to recent tragic events in Charlottesville, and the culture of hate given voice around the country, OVATIONS THEATRE introduced AHA with a staged reading of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK.  The performance featured student performers alongside professional actors, including several Helen Hayes Award-winning actors, as mentors in the creative process.

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“I feel compelled to create opportunities for young artist to do work that sparks conversation and, hopefully, change,” says Ovations Theatre Artistic Director Darnell Patrick Morris.

OVATIONS THEATRE has a history of using its performances to speak back to current events, and encourage social change. The company staged RENT following the Pulse nightclub shooting and paired a performance of SPRING AWAKENING with awareness and fundraising for suicide prevention. In December, Ovations will mount a production of PARADE, a true story that led to the formation of the Anti-Defamation League.

“One of the great things about theater is the opportunities it gives us to have ‘aha’ EVP_6495_forum_watermarkedmoments: when something we see on stage connects to something in our own lives, thoughts or emotions. I had one when I played Ilse in OVATIONS production of SPRING AWAKENING. The show resonated with me and the experience of having lost classmates to suicide. I helped connect our program to umttr, a local suicide prevention group. We raised nearly 2000 dollars umttr from donations collected during one weekend of performance.

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“That experience inspired me to work with our Artistic Director, Darnell Patrick Morris to create the OVATIONS student outreach program AHA–so that we can help our audiences learn more and contribute to causes that help heal the world (the Jewish imperative of tikkun olam.) Future planned fundraising partnerships include organizations that fight bigotry, injustice, and promote inclusion.”
Members of AHA! Will participate in the following:

  • Identify two non-profits or charities to partner with during each season, complementing shows in our season,  to help fundraise for their cause(s)
  • Promote and act as liaisons for various public events speaking about the AHA! Initiative
  • Lead fundraising efforts prior to and during performances for two shows a season
  • Create and produce two student cabarets (one in the winter and one in late spring) where all proceeds go to student tuition scholarships

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Anyone interested in joining AHA should email our Director of Education and AHA Facilitator, Theresa Cunningham, at ovationstheatre@gmail.com 

PHOTO CREDIT: Michael A. Thomas