Fund the Arts

Dallas producer launches fund to aid 16 local performing arts organizations

Dallas producer launches fund to aid 16 local arts organizations

Imprint Theatreworks presents The Revolutionists
Imprint Theatreworks is one of the organizations included in the campaign. Photo by Jessie Wallace

Thirty days. That's how long theater supporters have to raise $24,000 for 16 Dallas-Fort Worth performing arts organizations through Bren Rapp's GoFundMe, Small Change-Big Help.

The local producer has spent much of her career helping DFW theaters and their makers do bigger and better things, so it only makes sense that during the time of COVID-19 she'd lend her skills, pro bono, to raise relief funding.

The idea and the premise behind Small Change-Big Help are simple: The specific niches these 16 independent arts organizations serve, combined, make up a larger base to reach out to for funding than each could contact on their own.

"This is really a campaign tailor-made for smaller donations because of its collective nature," says Rapp. "If everyone in the social media reach of each of these organizations gave $5, we would blow past the goal. If everyone gave $2, we'd be darn close. Larger donations would be amazing, but with many people suffering financially and with great need everywhere, this campaign is designed for people to feel like they can do something that will have impact, even if their contribution is small."

The groups involved in the campaign represent a range of disciplines, types of content, and reach. From Shakespeare to dance, devised work to classic theater, black theater to cabaret entertainment, LGBTQ theater to youth theater/arts education, movement theater and even the circus arts, there is a cross section of the area's rich cultural landscape represented by:

  • Altered Shakespeare
  • Danielle Georgiou Dance Group
  • Dead White Zombies
  • Denise Lee Onstage Dallas Cabaret Series
  • Flexible Grey Theatre Company
  • Giant Entertainment
  • Imprint Theatreworks
  • Laughter League
  • LIP Service
  • Open Classical
  • Outcry Youth Theatre
  • Proper Hijinx Productions
  • Shakespeare Everywhere
  • Soul Rep Theatre Company
  • The Classics Theatre Project

The baseline goal of Small Change-Big Help is to raise $24,000 ($1,500 for each organization). DFW can expect to see content from the groups, learn more about them, and maybe even get to take advantage of a perk or two as the campaign unfolds across social media.

"Without a lot of overhead, facility concerns, or layers of infrastructure, even the smallest donations can go directly to the very core of the missions of these groups: sharing their work with audiences," says Rapp. "The money will end up on stage".

For eight years Rapp, alongside Jeff Swearingen, ran one of the area's most highly acclaimed and awarded independent theaters of the last decade, Fun House Theatre and Film, and as a producer she is also known for garnering attention for independent projects.

Over the last few years, Rapp has worked with veteran actor/writer/director/producer Ronnie Marmo, whose Theatre 68 is an anchor of the arts in Los Angeles. As co-producer of Marmo's blockbuster, nine-month Off Broadway run of I'm Not a Comedian...I'm Lenny Bruce, Rapp also worked with its director, Tony-winning star of stage, film, and TV Joe Mantegna.

Rapp brought the original Dallas play Self-Injurious Behavior, written by and starring Jessica Cavanagh, to Off Broadway in the spring of 2019, then signed on with Marmo and Mantagna to take it to Los Angeles later that year. There, the show picked up a special partnership with the nonprofit Autism Works Now.

"No matter the size of the contribution, donations will go to getting our local creatives back to doing what they do, with a variety of places to do it at and audiences to do it for," says Rapp.

To learn about the criteria applied for inclusion, more about each organization it benefits, and to donate, visit Small Change-Big Help on GoFundMe.