Tag: LGBTQ

Plan-B In Its 25th Season

Since their establishment in 1991, Plan-B has created “unique and socially conscious theatre” for Salt Lake City, Utah residents and its visitors.

The original Plan-B founders, Tobin Atkinson and Cheryl Ann Cluff, started out as theatre students at Southern Utah State College (now Southern Utah University), but opening their own theatre was actually their “Plan B.” As they describe, “Plan A” was for them to make it big in New York City as famous actors. “Plan B” was to create a place for more diverse, socially conscious theatre they rarely saw performed in Salt Lake City. They ended up going with Plan-B.

They have always wanted to focus on new plays by Utah playwrights to give their pieces a local point-of-view, and when they began their journey, they started out producing original works by Atkinson himself. But when Atkinson decided to join the Army back in 2000, Jerry Rapier came on in his place.

A year later, the company found huge success with their production of The Laramie Project, a play about the murder of a gay University of Wyoming student in 1998. That success is what reaffirmed their understanding that there was indeed a huge need for socially conscious theatre, while solidifying their commitment to producing at least one LGBT-focused play each season (which the company has done ever since.)

Their overall mission and greatest challenge now with each piece they produce is to create a conversation with their audience, to provide an opportunity for patrons to consider new points-of-view, and to help their viewers reflect deeply on the lives of others.

All in all, Plan-B has produced 83 world premieres. Of these premieres, they were proud to produce Utah’s first play by both an African American playwright as well as an Asian American playwright. Nationally, five of their plays have been nominated for the American Theatre Critics Association/Steinberg Award for Best New American Play Produced Outside New York and three have gone on to be performed in New York.

This year, they were honored with the Utah’s Governor’s Leadership in the Arts Award and Salt Lake City’s Mayor’s Artist Award for Service to the Arts by an Organization. But they have also been the proud recipients of many awards over the years, including:

  • Utah Governor’s Organization Leadership in the Arts Award (2015)
  • Salt Lake City’s Mayor’s Artist Award for Service to the Arts by an Organization (2015)
  • Best Drama, United Solo Theatre Festival, New York (ERIC(A) by Matthew Ivan Bennett, 2013)
  • Transgender Education Advocates of Utah’s Organization of the Year (2013)
  • Human Rights Campaign’s Equality Award – Organization (2011)
  • Transgender Education Advocates of Utah’s Organization of the Year (2010)
  • Equality Utah’s Allies for Equality Award – Organization (2007)
  • 20 QSaltLake Fabby Awards (2005-present), including ‘Best Local Theatre Company’ all 11 years the award has existed
  • 50 City Weekly Slammy/Arty Awards (2000-present), including ‘Best Local Theatre Production’ 13 of the past 14 seasons

Plan B’s 25th Season has been full of incredible actors, playwrights, directors, and important social issues. And we are especially looking forward to Kingdom of Heaven by Jenifer Nii and David Evanoff which will run March 31 – April 10, 2016. This piece is supported in part by the Peace & Possibility Project.

This production explores our universal quest for self-acceptance complicated by our culture of perfection through the life of one Mormon housewife’s affinity for drag. When Mary Jane (Jeanette Puhich) discovers her true calling (as a drag king), she must traverse the landscape of impactful affects on her family, marriage, friendships, and faith.

As our conversation on LGBTQ matters grows and evolves nationwide, this play will explore the important roles (especially within religion) that we assign to women and how they can differ in huge and often harmful ways from who women truly are and want to be. Locally, this speaks very true to Utah’s large Mormon population.

The play will be directed by Jerry Rapier himself, and as he told QSaltLake Magazine, “It’s very universal in its approach to what it means to be a woman who doesn’t fit into the faith that she loves.”

Written from the author of Wallace (co-written with Debora Threedy), The Scarlet Letter, Suffrage and Ruff!, and the musical director of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and the composer of six Radio Hour episodes.

Plan-B has told so many powerful stories through theater, and it is through productions like this that we can come together as a community to understand both our differences and similarities and hopefully create a more empathetic and understanding place to live.

Jane Marquardt and Tami are proud to support Plan-B and their ongoing efforts to bringing awareness and understanding to important social issues.

The Community Foundation of Utah Hosts LGBT Community Endowment Fund Grant Award Reception

Logo for Community Foundation of UtahLast month, the Community Foundation of Utah hosted a celebration of Utah not-for-profit organizations that support and empower the LGBTQ community, as well as the collective good that has been accomplished by all allies who contribute to the LGBT Community Endowment Fund. The event was held on September 16 at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. Grant check which ranged in size from $1,000 to $5,000 were awarded to a dozen different nonprofits, totaling as much as $40,000 awarded overall. Held to honor the incredible work accomplished by all nonprofit organizations in attendance, the event will highlight the successes of each group in the preceding year, as well as their upcoming projects to continue working for the betterment of Utah’s LGBTQ community members.

Representatives from each nonprofit grantee offered a one-minute pitch of their project or organization which at times resulted in as much as an additional $1,500 in funding. Jane Marquardt was proud to serve on the board of select judges in attendance who weighed in on these pitches, along with fellow selection committee members that included Jim Dabakis and Michelle Turpin (among other donors and supporters).

The nonprofit grantees who sent representatives included:

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah
  • Equality Utah
  • J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah
  • Office of Inclusion and Outreach, University of Utah
  • OUTreach Resource Centers
  • Pioneer Craft House
  • Senior Charity Care Foundation
  • UMOCA Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Utah Film Center
  • Utah Pride Center
  • Westminster College
  • Youth Futures

The LGBT Community Endowment Fund is just one of more than two hundred different philanthropic funds that the Community Foundation of Utah oversees. This specific endowment represents a united effort to support the LGBT community be creating space to receive and direct the largest, most meaningful contribution of donors willing to fund positive change and progress within the state of Utah. Since its establishment in 2011, the LGBT Community Fund has granted $243,600 to 20 nonprofit organizations.

Grants typically range from $1,000 to $5,000 in size and have been allocated to a dizzying variety of efforts. These include arts performance, youth mentoring, education, legal aid, anti-bullying, aid to rural organizations focused on the LGBT community, college internships, and more. This collective action illustrates the power of LGBT philanthropy and the community’s dedication to the safety, health, and happiness of all Utah’s citizens, regardless of sexual or gender identity.