Spotlight on Theater Nonprofits

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The holiday season is a time for pageants, recitals, and the annual performance of The Nutcracker. However, for several charities in the Chicago area, its theater season all year long! These organizations are providing valuable drama experience and a safe place to spend time after school for children and youth.

What they do: Some theater organizations focus on developing children’s artistic talents. Mudlark Theater Company, a nonprofit Chicago-based children’s theater group, hosts after school classes, productions, and free creative writing workshops. Barrel of Monkeys is an ensemble theater group that works with Chicago Public School children and develops their stories into plays performed by professional actors. They expose the children to the world of theater and the arts and show them that they have a voice!

Why they do it: For many theater-related nonprofits, working with artists and providing a space for them to hone their talents is incredibly rewarding. Mudlark Theater Company prides itself on offering professional level training. Their educational director tells us, “Mudlark actors put in hours of their time every week in preparation for a show, taking their work, and each other, seriously and respectfully. Their energy and enthusiasm is a constant reminder of the power that youth possess, as they bring innovative points of view to stories old and new.”

How we got involved: These nonprofits have also been the recipients of some of our more unusual donations. The Zealous Good team had a tough time trying to figure out what a charity could possibly do with an inlaid globe or a rococo drawing room chair and so we were thrilled to find that these theater groups can put curious items to use as props or set design!

Theater nonprofits are doing great work and enhancing the lives of their actors as well as everyone who gets to see their performances. These charities often rely on parent support and aid if they work with children or on the generosity of those in the community. This holiday season you can support a theater nonprofit by attending their plays and events or simply by donating items!

Lauren Anderson is a 2013 fall project management intern at Zealous Good, an in-kind donations marketplace in Chicago. You can find Lauren on Google+ or Zealous Good on Facebook and Zealous Good on Twitter at  @ZealousGood.

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