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Founding The Initiative

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

The idea for The Initiative came from a post-Half-Groundhog-Day Sunday brunch. With my brother, huddled over pancakes, racked by the amount of homework due the next day, it was a quiet breakfast party.


Apropos of nothing, Charlie said “You know the genius of the Avengers was the contact list. All Nick Fury did was put together a file of people who were the most talented at saving the world, and then made sure he had a way to get in touch with all of them. That way whenever the world needed saving, he could just make a call.”


A contact list.


As a budding producer and director, whose main claim to fame was that I kept calling myself a producer and director, that idea stuck with me. At that point I had put together various Shakespearian readings, short self-written plays, and my fair share of Bible skits, but I was getting the feeling that my long-suffering friends of the Biology and Chemistry departments were growing tired of my frequent requests for their acting talents. It had gotten to the point where I heard an incoming freshman say “I did Phantom of the Opera in Highschool,” and I pounced on him to demand his contact information for the live nativity I was helping Student Government put up. The poor freshman tried to defend himself with the words “I meant I did crew…” but alas for him, I needed crew as well. For the next two years I saw him duck into the library, cafeteria or a near by bush whenever he saw me coming. Something was starting to tell me I needed a contact list of those not only able, but also willing to save the world.

That contact list really started coming together when I heard that Nicholas Moore, one of the best actors I knew, was interested in playing Algernon for The Importance of Being Earnest. Viola, someone both willing and able! I accosted Nick in the student center, and asked him who else was talented and should be in the play. He laughed, but named some talented folk, including professors, whom I promptly hunted down on campus.


By the end of the day, I had my cast, but lacked funding. I knew – from previous experience – that plays with food are far more popular than plays without food, so funding was absolutely necessary. I went to Belle, a student who ran most of the activities on campus, and she suggested we apply to be a part of Wine Down Wednesday. I had food, wine, and actors. The Importance of Being Earnest was a hit.


After that, the contact list started to grow, and with each play a new kind of talent was required. With Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are DEAD! we needed a full band of live musicians, The Second Shepherd’s Play required both animal acquirers and animal wranglers, Much A Brew About Nothing required off-site management, and a series of Shakespearian skits we did in the woods required the expertise of a lighting designer.



Our capstone project at our alma mater was going to be Twelfth Night in Madonna Pond, with rafts and swimsuits and water guns, but the pandemic had other plans. We were sent home in March with the rest of the world, and even Broadway turned out her lights.


I came back to my contact list. Who on here could help make theater in a time when no theater was happening? That’s when the alumni answered the call. We did a zoom reading of Twelfth Night, and we’ve been making internet theater ever since.


If you are looking for theater artists of any kind, let us know! We are a talented, willing, and able group of everyone from performers to animal wranglers. The requirement: all project submissions must be good, true, and beautiful, and at least have the potential to save the world.

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