United Colours of Arizona Theatre (UCAT), in collaboration with Seth Tucker, the Artistic Producer of Acting Up Series, is producing NOW., a virtual showcase of poetry, musical selections, dramatic scenes, and more performed and written by National and local BIPOC Artists. This event will be a different take on a fundraiser as the group is looking to engage volunteers with experience in certain areas such as Education, accounting, litigation, marketing, etc. that are willing to lend their expertise over dollars. UCAT will officially produce its first show Summer of 2021 in a new partnership with Scottsdale Center for the Arts.The “FRIENDraiser” event celebrates the unique, thoughtful, and impactful works of our diverse communities and the allies that want to help. For those interested in donating the old fashion way, all proceeds will go directly to producing for the budding company.
“We don’t want to follow any theatre model that has existed before,” said UCAT Co-Founder Chanel Bragg. “We want to create a space not only in our theatre but in the greater AZ community for BIPOC artists to design, produce, and show their own stories. We are hopeful that by investing in the BIPOC artist community now, we won’t need UCAT in 5 years.”
Performers will include valley favorites such as Alyssa Chiarello, Matravius Avent, Miguel Jackson, Alexandra Ncube, Rhetta Mykeal Kampel, Damon Bolling, Johanna Carlisle-Zepeda, Vaibu Mohan, Racquel McKenzie, DeAngelus Grisby, Alma Schofield, Eddie Maldonaldo, and special guest Mason Reeves who is an Arizona local who is currently playing Kristoff in the North American Tour of Frozen.
They will perform works written by Douglas Lyons, national recognized musical director for the first tour of Hamilton Jesse Sanchez, two-time Jeff Award winner Brian Quijada, Vaibu Mohan, Cris Blak, Alma Schofield, Christopher Oscar Peña, and a special appearance by the Soul of Broadway cabaret troupe.
Founded in 2016, Chanel Bragg and Jacqueline Castillo created a Facebook group in an attempt to create a safe space for BIPOC individuals to convene, network, learn and thrive within our fine arts community. For the last 5 years, UCAT has been committed to serving multigenerational BIPOC artists no matter their experience level within the Arizona Fine Arts Theatre/Film community. Our initiative wants to narrow the gap between access and opportunity that has been and continues to be granted and centered on whiteness. From the lack of stories, artistic directors, to the lack of proper materials, and products for BIPOC costume and makeup needs, there isn't an area of theatre itself that does not hinder the experience of the BIPOC artist.
We want BIPOC creatives to feel prepared in and out of the audition room. Whether performing Shakespeare or contemporary, dancing, singing, this is bigger than just who’s on stage. We need to hold long-standing theatre companies in AZ, and indeed the world, to actively plan for succession and promote BIPOC artists within their theatres.
UCAT was awarded the 2020 AriZoni Award recipient for the Kyle Lawson Outstanding Contribution Award, an award that is given to an individual or organization within the theatre community who has served in a profound way through the personal investment of time, energy, vision, and talent.
NOW. will premiere on Facebook and YouTube on March 8th at 7 pm AZ Time. A full list of performers and written works will be announced in the first week of March.
UCAT Co-Presidents are Chanel Bragg and Jacqueline Castillo. Fellow UCAT Board and team members are Chief Development Officer Seth Tucker, Chief Communications Officer JT Turner, Administrative Manager Aleks Hollis, and Marketing & Promotions Manager Bethany Baca.
For more information about United Colours of Arizona Theatre, visit unitedcoloursaz.org