JAG Productions Receives $100,000 COVID Relief Grant from The Bay & Paul Foundations and Continued Support in the Upper Valley
After having to indefinitely suspend its Off-Broadway run of Esai’s Table at Cherry Lane Theatre in New York due to the Covid-19 pandemic, JAG Productions has continued to garner support in the community and afar in order to keep Vermont and New Hampshire’s only Black theater alive. On July 28th, JAG Productions received a $100,000 unrestricted grant for operations from the Bay & Paul Foundation out of New York, NY, whose mission is to, “foster and accelerate initiatives that prepare agents of change working to strengthen our social compact and develop authentic solutions to the challenges of this pivotal century.”
In this pivotal time, The Bay & Paul Foundations gave this gift based upon JAG Productions’ proven record of developing deep connections through its art in the Upper Valley community and for the promising projects it has on the horizon. Like many in the area, The Bay & Paul Foundations see JAG Productions as innovative agents of change.
In the past season, JAG developed five new plays and nurtured five budding playwrights in its fourth annual JAGfest, kicked off its OUT HERE series with a rooftop celebration of community at The Village, held a month-long run of Nathan Yungerberg’s Esai’s Table at the Brigg’s Opera House, and in a first for JAG, transferred it Off-Broadway for a run at Cherry Lane Theatres, before being cut short by the pandemic. Yungerberg’s Esai’s Table was developed at JAGfest 2.0. In the wake of the pandemic, the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many Black people at the hands of police force, and an increased violence against the Black transgender community, JAG Productions has been a vital resource to the Upper Valley and beyond, hosting COME AS YOU ARE, a virtual space for Black healing, as well as virtual discussions with creatives in its JAG TALKS series, planning virtual LGBTQ+ open mic nights as part of Pride Center of Vermont’s Pride Week, and commissioning a new play about and developing a process for Black joy.
Despite the loss of ticket sales and potential notoriety in New York, as well as the possibility of doing live theater in Vermont and New Hampshire, JAG Productions has remained steadfast in its commitment to be an incubator for new art, change in the community, and empathy and understanding between people. Locally, the community has responded and has supported the survival and revival of JAG Productions. In September, JAG launched its new JAG Ambassadors program, in which local businesses adopt anti-racist practices and collectively promote marganilized voices in their operations, products, and services, such as being safe spaces for the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people.This program has already proven fruitful in collaboration with the cocktail bar Wolf Tree in White River Junction, VT to concoct a cocktail and with Abracadabra Coffee Company in Woodstock, VT to develop a coffee roast, both called “Justice Allows Growth,” where the proceeds benefit JAG. Inaugural members of the JAG Ambassador program are: Wolf Tree, Abracadabra Coffee, Lucky's Coffee Garage (Lebanon, NH), Stitchdown Farm (Bethel, VT), Silo Distillery (Windsor, VT), Farm Run (Bethel, VT), Vermont Glove (Randolph, VT), Dan & Whit's (Norwich, VT), and Babes Bar (Bethel, VT).
To donate visit https://www.jagproductionsvt.com/donate
ABOUT JAG PRODUCTIONS
Founded in 2016, JAG Productions was formed by Producing Artistic Director Jarvis Antonio Green with the mission to produce classic and contemporary African-American theatre; to serve as an incubator of new work that excites broad intellectual engagement; and thereby, to catalyze compassion, empathy, love, and community through shared understandings of the humankind through the lens of the African-American experience. JAG Productions sees itself as playing a role in bringing diverse actors and stories to the stage and to the Upper Valley. JAG Productions is one of the nation's leading incubators of new works by Black playwrights and in its inaugural year won the New England Theatre Conference's (NETC) Regional Award for Outstanding Achievement in the American Theatre. In 2017, the company launched JAGfest, an annual festival of new works celebrating the talents of African-American playwrights, which has already launched an Off-Broadway production.
ABOUT THE BAY & PAUL FOUNDATIONS
Vision is of vibrant communities whose skillful collaborations assure just and ecologically robust outcomes for present and future generations. Mission is to foster and accelerate initiatives that prepare agents of change working to strengthen our social compact and develop authentic solutions to the challenges of this pivotal century. As a learning community, Values patience, humility, listening for understanding, collaboration, and – above all – the courage to engage with an abundance of compelling opportunities. Focused on the areas of Pre K-12 Transformative Learning Practices, Arts & Humanities Education, Support for Indigenous Communities, Research & Initiatives for Ecosystem Integrity, and Civil Society & Human Rights