Genesius Theatre and Reading Community Players share a vision for a more collaborative, profitable, local theater scene.
These Reading-based theatres have always believed that theatre in Reading is high-quality, community-oriented, educational, and entertaining. However, a collective voice in strengthening that vision has only been a conversation among the theatre community for at least the past twenty years. That all changed when in the final year of his administration, Former Reading Mayor Tom McMahon initiated an effort to facilitate a conversation of collaboration among the Reading theatre groups. His voice became the spark that ignited the fire under the present efforts to move years of conversation into action. McMahon, who is also a proponent of the vision for theatre in Reading, sees thriving community theatre as a significant indicator of quality of life. And, in the final year of his administration, he was determined to see each theatre’s vision strengthened through increased collaboration. In addition, these efforts are consistent with the Ricktown Arts District project that was spearheaded by the City’s Community Development Department.
After ten months of intensive planning, communicating and meeting, with significant leadership and support from the City, community partners, and Co-facilitators Pier Ignozzi-Shaffer, Crystal Edwards, and Dr. Santo D. Marabella, the three boards of Genesius, Reading Civic and Reading Community Players agreed to form an alliance, originally called the Performing Arts Alliance of Greater Reading (PAAGR). After a year the new name Greater Reading Alliance of Community Theatres – GRACT or The Alliance – was adopted. GRACT is a not-for-profit organization that will “serve the needs of the Reading–based theatre groups by identifying, growing, and sharing the resources that each needs to be successful.”
GRACT is governed by a volunteer board of directors comprised of members of the involved theatres, as well as leaders in the business, government and philanthropy communities. The Alliance will focus on creating and managing strategies to: sustain professionalism and transparency across all aspects of theatre production; promote and market community theatre; acquire and allocate financial resources; support planning; develop audiences; operate profitably and with fiscal responsibility; identify and acquire appealing performance and rehearsal venues; sustain intra-Alliance member professionalism and communications; and, enhance artistic quality among all member theatre groups.
Since the alliance began meeting in December of 2011, they have conducted surveys of their current audiences, analyzed financial data from productions occurring over the last five years to study optimal ticket pricing and profitability, developed a framework for selecting a season that balances artistic and revenue goals, and, outlined strategies for collaborating versus competing with one another.
Any non-profit 501(c)3 organizations are welcome to join our community partnership. To see the benefits we offer the requirements for joining, please visit the How to Join Us page.
GRACT bylaws are available to the public by request. Send us an email if you would like to receive a copy.
Chairman - Patricia Perfect
Vice President - Ruth Martelli
Secretary - Debbi Silas
Treasurer- Roger Levesque
Members- Larry Pisano