Hey everybody: we hit our $10,000 goal. Thank you to everyone that has supported us in hitting this ambitious target. We have two days to go, and we're announcing a STRETCH GOAL of $12,000. If we hit this goal, the additional funds will be used between this summer and next to help establish the Williams Project as a 501c3 non-profit. Please help out if you can!
What is the Williams Project?
My father grew up in the small town of Longview, Washington. As a child and young man, I spent a lot of time in this town. It provided a wonderful community for me: kind, friendly, peaceful. It was full of tradition and stability. It felt safe. Theatre provided a different kind of community: passionate, diverse, and experimental. It was full of weird people willing to try new things in hopes of finding a better way.
Small towns and theatres offer us very different ideas of what a community is, and I've always found it easiest to keep them separate. There’s less friction that way. But I realize now that ease was a kind of cowardice. Theatre and small towns need each other more than ever right now precisely to foster this tension, to remind us that both kinds of community are alive and struggling inside us, to push us to expand our view of ourselves and one another. To challenge us to love more fully.
This summer, I’m bringing eight of the best actors I’ve worked with in my decade as a theatre artist to Longview to work on Orpheus Descending by Tennessee Williams and Henry VI by William Shakespeare. Both Tennessee and Shakespeare came from small towns. Both of these plays go right at the heart of the tension between towns and outsiders, stability and agitation, tradition and renewal. Both examine how love, or the lack of it, shape our various communities.
Living together, we will build two full pieces in two weeks. We will share our progress on each piece at the Intiman Studios in Seattle, and finally we will share the pieces we build with the people of Longview.
What is the money being used for?
To create great theatre in a small town or anywhere else requires great actors. It’s my belief that great artists should be working class people. The actors who have accepted my invitation to participate in this project are not famous or rich. They are craftsmen and craftswomen. They work incredibly hard, sacrifice their bodies, open themselves up to showing strangers very painful and personal things. And in exchange, I think they deserve to make enough money to pay their rent.
I'm trying to raise money to pay these actors a living wage of $500/week.
These are the wonderful people your donations will be supporting:
Grant Chapman, Becky Gibel, Tangela Large, Elise LeBreton
Chinasa Obuagu, Richard Prioleau, Max Rosenak, Charlie Thurston
What happens if you raise more than your goal?
If you believe, like I do, that actors should be paid fairly for their time, the simple answer is that more money will give us more time. We will use any additional money to lay the groundwork for extending this project into the future, continuing a relationship with Longview and Seattle, and more fully developing the pieces we're building. In the long term, I'm hoping that this project will become the foundation for a sustainable, working-class theatre company that continues to build populist, excellent work and share it with a diverse community. Any money we receive beyond our goal will help that cause.
Please, think about giving if you can. Your contribution means the world to me and my colleagues -- and we also curated some special rewards to show our appreciation.
Ryan Guzzo Purcell
Risks and challenges
We're building a professional company but operating outside of a traditional model. This opens us to challenging producing issues with no prior framework to build upon. I've already overcome unexpected issues in working with Actor's Equity Associaton (the professional Actors Union), regarding paying into my actor's pension funds. I'm sure there will be other unexpected problems that arise in bringing my actors together. I will try to solve them the same way I worked with the Union, by being upfront about my goals, establishing personal relationships, and asking for help from someone in the network of colleagues I've built during my years as a theatre artist.
The other challenge may be around dispersing our prizes. We're relying on generosity of sponsors and friends to create many of our materials, and while all of our supporters are reliable, when people are doing things out of generosity they sometimes take longer than expected. We will work incredibly hard to make sure that all of our contributors receive what we promise them as quickly as we can. Your support is what makes all of this possible, and we want to show our gratitude as fully as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)