AHA (Actors’ Helping Alliance) was founded by members of our SENIOR COMPANY. AHA was created to give young people a voice in a world where they’re not often heard. At OVATIONS we strongly believe it is essential for young people to be given opportunities to make a difference in the world. Our goal is to pair thought-provoking theatre with social action, so that we can help our audiences learn more and contribute to causes that help heal the world.
“Theater has great power to move and to motivate. Knowing that we can potentially help even one young person through this partnership inspires and emboldens our whole company,” said OVATIONS Artistic Director Darnell Morris.
Each year AHA partners with different non-profits whose missions connect with the shows we produce. At OVATIONS our seasons are full of shows that are both thought-provoking as well as mature. Our students have found that partnering with these organizations is another way they are able to take art and put it into real-life practice. To date OVATIONS has donated over $8,000 to various non-profits.
The Baltimore Station
Free Minds Book Club
The House of Ruth
Additionally, AHA has responded to the call of social change through fundraising for scholarships through Warming Our Hearts; leading students to the March For Life rally where participants helped to register young voters; producing The Diary of Anne Frank in response to the tragic events that took place in Charlottesville, VA in 2017.
Want to become part of a student-run group that focuses on social change? Are you a non-profit who’d like to partner with us on a show? Send us an email at email@example.com and we will get you connected with our team!
Many thanks to our Director of Education and AHA, Liaison, Theresa Cunningham, our AHA Student members, our OVATIONS Teaching Artist and the nearly 100 audience members who helped collectively raise $1500 towards scholarships for OVATIONS students.
Becuase of AHA Student’s hard work with the original WARMING OUR HEARTS cabaret, we are able to continue to NEVER turn away any student for financial reasons! BRAVO to all who helped make this beautiful celebration of young talent a sucess!!
OVATIONS THEATRE never turns away any student due to financial reasons. We believe that the arts are imperative to helping young people become well-rounded individuals. During our 2016-2017 season OVATIONS proudly provided our community with over 20K worth of scholarships for productions, camps, and workshops! This cabaret helped to continue to make it possible for us never to turn away a student. The AHA STUDENT SCHOLARSHIP FUND is used towards scholarships towards OVATIONS productions and camps for needing families.
Testimonies from AHA Members:
The video recording of my very first musical is in a small cabinet in my living room, among various Disney princess movies and their unnecessary sequels. I was the youngest one in the cast, at eight years old; tiny, giggly, and clumsy, I could barely keep from waving to my parents in the audience in the middle of ensemble numbers. Seven tumultuous years later, a taller and slightly less awkward version of that girl finished her final performance in OVATIONS production of Parade, went home, and rewatched the DVD. For almost half of my lifetime, whether I was cocky or self-loathing, doubting my own worth or struggling to accept myself, even tempted to quit performing forever, something about theatre always brought me back. Performing is being recognized and seen in my loneliest moments. It is an escape at times when I am in desperate need of refuge. Having a community of people who believed in me even when I didn’t has given me the courage to grow into the person I am today. Being a longtime member of the OVATIONS family, I have watched the group grow with me. People come and people leave, and the program evolves and improves with every passing year. Everyone deserves a chance to find the kind of confidence and joy that this community has brought me. Support OVATIONS to make it accessible for everyone, regardless of income.
“OVATIONS has fundamentally changed me as a performer and a person. Not only have I found role models in those who teach and create alongside us, I have found a community with my peers and made lifelong friends. The opportunity to create theatre that raises awareness and changes minds is rare, especially for a young actor, and OVATIONS prides itself on its commitment to teaching us how to be a positive voice and presence in the world. I grow and learn every time I step into the rehearsal room. OVATIONS is a special program, and I am grateful for what it has offered me and for what it what will continue to offer others for years to come.”
“OVATIONS has transformed me in a way that no other experience has. The unbelievably talented artistic staff has created a welcoming, warm, and inspiring environment that fosters creativity and growth; mentoring students in the creation of thought-provoking theatre and evolving them into the artists, and people, they want to be. I could not be more grateful for the wonderful community and tutelage OVATIONS has provided me, and I feel that it is essential for everyone to be able to be exposed to such a life-changing experience.”
“When I joined OVATIONS, I had no idea the importance it would hold in my life. Every minute I spend there is a minute when I am growing as an actor and as a member of society. As well as putting on beautiful, thought-provoking theater, I have become integrated into the family dynamic which includes everyone in the company. OVATIONS is more than a company or a place to spend time; OVATIONS is a loving, nurturing environment. I wouldn’t trade my experience here for anything.”
“I don’t know how I got so lucky to end up at place like OVATIONS. It is not just a theatre company; it’s a gift that has completely changed my life, and a community of incredible, creative, intelligent, and supportive students and staff. Being surrounded by such conscientious and hard-working actors and mentors is so inspiring, and pushes me to be the best I can be as a performer and human being. OVATIONS has quickly become my home, and I can’t imagine a better place to grow as a young artist, an experience that has been truly priceless.”
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.
“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’ moments: 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.
“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:
Anyone interested in joining AHA should email our Director of Education and AHA Facilitator, Theresa Cunningham, at firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTO CREDIT: Michael A. Thomas