QuTheatr Ensemble, a theatre project aimed at employing and empowering LGBTQ+ youth and young adults in greater Akron, is set to premiere “Through His I,” a new work developed by the company. Based on the experiences of company members and others from the local LGBTQ+ community, this intimate and provocative work will perform at the Balch Street Theatre for one weekend only. “Through His I” opens Thursday, July 18, 2019 and runs through July 21, 2019. Performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, July 18, 19, 20 at 8pm and Sunday, July 21 at 2pm. The Balch Street Theatre is located at 220 South Balch Street, Akron 44302. Tickets are $15 general admission; $10 for students and youth under age 22; or pay-what-you-can for rush tickets at the door. Tickets are available online at https://qutheatr.bpt.me or by calling 330-867-3299. Seating is limited. Later in the summer, QuTheatr will attend the Pride Youth Theatre Alliance Conference in Pittsburgh and participate in Akron Pride 2019. In the fall, QuTheatr plans to present scenes from the production at several area schools.
QuTheatr’s “Through His I” tells the story of a young trans male who daily confronts discrimination and bullying as he encounters those who challenge his identity. Through a variety of theatre and storytelling techniques, the young actors of QuTheatr lead the audience towards acceptance and understanding. The play aims to generate conversations about identity and gender while educating people on several LGBTQ+ topics.
QuTheatr is a project of Akron’s New World Performance Laboratory (NWPL) and the recipient of a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its 2017 Akron Knight Arts Challenge. The Knight Arts Challenge funds the best ideas for engaging and enriching Akron through the arts. “Through His I” is directed by NWPL’s co-artistic director, Jairo Cuesta. Local theatre artist Josy Jones guides the writing and dramaturgy of the production and NWPL company member Rosilyn Jentner serves as assistant director. Current QuTheatr company members include: Jaxx Cheline, Kaitlyn Meese, Lysander Mills, Fennel Morrison, and guest artist Justin Miller. The design and technical production team for QuTheatr includes Inda Blatch-Geib, Dred Geib, Chris Hariasz, Kix, and youth intern Viola Cranendonk.
QuTheatr members receive a scholarship for their work in the company. QuTheatr Founding Director, JT Buck, says: “This project will empower and ultimately employ our local queer youth at a very challenging time in their lives. We’ll set the expectation that young artists deserve to be paid, and that the voices of LGBTQ+ artists deserve to be heard, nurtured and respected.” Funding for the project comes from numerous supporters and foundations, including the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation, Gay Community Endowment Fund, Akron Community Foundation, GAR Foundation, Peg’s Foundation, and Ohio Arts Council.