MissionCornerstone Theater Company collaborates with communities. Our work reflects complexity, disrupts assumptions, welcomes difference, and amplifies joy. By combining the artistry of people with many levels of theatrical experience, we act upon the conviction that artistic expression is civic engagement and that access to a creative forum is essential to the wellness and health of every individual and community.
What We DoOur ensemble of theater artists and cultural workers includes writers, directors, performers, designers and organizers with a commitment to advance a more compassionate, equitable and just world. We accomplish our mission and act on our vision primarily through these programs:
Community Collaborations are the core of our work as a theater company. Using an engagement methodology honed over thirty five years, members of the community share their stories, their civic concerns and voice their opinions on issues affecting their communities. Our professional playwrights then weave together a play from these narratives. The final product of this 12- to 24-month process is a professional production with community members -- as actors, stagehands, front of house, and in other capacities -- which reflects the histories and perspectives of the larger community. Our plays are staged in traditional and non-traditional performance spaces, but always in a location significant to our collaborating communities: factories, schools, community centers, service organizations, and adjacent to sacred land. Cornerstone strives to include people who have never been on stage or have never seen theater; our plays celebrate many voices. Audiences and playmaking participants work alongside professional theater artists, and see themselves, their stories, and their aspirations represented on stage.
Cornerstone's Institute offers multidisciplinary professional training in community-based theater using our unique collaborative methodology through two programs: Intensives and the month-long Summer Residency. The Summer Residency returns to Cornerstone's original process of living in and with a collaborating community. Participants receive training and experience on a Cornerstone production from story circles and auditions through performance. Our 2-Day Intensive (2DI), adapted during COVID to a five session online experience, provides working professionals, non-profit organizations, schools, and corporations with a condensed overview of our practices. Designed for up to 30 participants, this workshop relies on the participants' input and creativity over 11-13 hours of activities and conversations.