The history of Beacon Theatre Productions begins in 2011 with Georgina Bard – a theatre artist in the Philadelphia area who saw the need for theatre that not only educates, inspires, and challenges, but is accessible to communities and individuals who may not have the means to experience it otherwise. With this desire, she incorporated the company in 2011, sought out board members and other professionals, and by July of 2012, Beacon Theatre Productions became an official 501(c)3 organization.
Since 2011, Beacon Theatre Productions has found a place in the Philadelphia community: producing theatre that spotlights critical moments of the past to show the way to a better future. Shows are often free to the public or offered at affordable ticket prices. Since 2011, BTP has brought plays to a variety of venues including schools, community centers, historical sites, senior living communities, churches and more. We have produced plays about the enslavement of people of color and those who worked for abolition, the mistreatment of employees before the establishment of labor unions, deductive reasoning and personal confidence and empowerment, the struggle to obtain woman's suffrage, the unjust treatment of soldiers of color during the American Civil War, and a deeper compassion for those experiencing trauma and grief. We have produced plays with the characters of: O. Henry, Arthur Conan Doyle, Frederick Douglass, Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, C.S. Lewis, Sigmund Freud, Harriet Forten Purvis, Charlotte Forten Grimké, and Susan B. Anthony, and have hosted other theatre artists' portrayal of historical characters such as Mrs. Deborah Franklin, Harriet Tubman, Richard Allen, Dorothy Day, Sojourner Truth and more.
In January 2014, we partnered with Olivet Covenant Church at 608 N. 22nd Street, Philadelphia, to use their theatre space as a long term performing venue. We were grateful for this partnership that provided a multi-use space for our needs. However, due to unforeseen changes at Olivet Covenant Church we have now relocated to 2nd Baptist Church of Germantown where we staged Freud's Last Session by Mark St. Germain in April, 2018, an enhanced staged reading of The Trial of Susan B. Anthony by Mary Walton and previewed our touring production Letters to Aunt Hattie by Gigi McGraw in November, 2018. In February, 2019 we participated in Philadelphia Theatre Week and presented: The Spirit of Sojourner Truth: Ain't I a Woman in partnership with Dr. Daisy Century and 2nd Baptist Church of Germantown.
In our 8 year history we have produced: Bonhoeffer's Cost by Mary Ruth Clark, Young Frederick Douglass by Walt Vail, Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure by Steven Dietz, and Freud's Last Session by Mark St. Germain. Bonhoeffer's Cost and Young Frederick Douglass were Philadelphia Premiers. BTP also presented I Will Speak for Myself performed by Kimberley Fairbanks and directed by Valerie Joyce. We have produced two fall showcases which featured multiple one act and solo pieces, written, designed and performed by Philadelphia theatre artists. We have formed relationships with organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Men of C.O.U.R.A.G.E and VetTix and have offered free tickets to these organizations for our Mentor Matinees and select shows.
We have toured Mr. President, I'm Frederick Douglass by Georgina Bard and Richard Hadley, Mary Todd Lincoln: the Woman You Thought You Knew by Georgina Bard, O. Henry Live! Ransoms and Gifts! adapted by Jen Jaynes, The Red Letter Locker by Randy Petersen, and Letters to Aunt Hattie by Gigi McGraw throughout the Philadelphia region. Each of these new plays was developed by BTP and were World Premiers. We are currently developing a new touring production, UNDER THE BONNET by Shelli Pentimall Bookler, based on the life and work of human rights activist Lucretia Mott. The World Premier performance will be on February 16, 2020 at 2nd Baptist Church of Germantown.
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