On January 11, 2017, members of the Corporate Circle attended a Community Impact Panel at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. Leslie Johnson, Center Theatre Group’s Director of Social Strategy, Innovation and Impact, led a conversation with the three very inspiring individuals who have had multiple touch points with Center Theatre Group’s education and community programs.
At the age of 13, Katharine Lauffer was Center Theatre Group’s youngest ever Student Ambassador in 2012. In 2015, she was a regional finalist in the August Wilson Monologue Competition, where she had the opportunity to perform her monologue on the Mark Taper Forum stage. Katharine spoke of how her experiences with Center Theatre Group helped her develop as a person and define her identity. She is currently pursuing a degree in acting at CalArts.
Angelina Finau made many of us shed a tear with her stories. She had never performed onstage—aside from participating in her high school speech and debate team—when she took a risk and entered the 2013 August Wilson Monologue Competition. From a pool of approximately 300 students, she became one of 12 regional finalists onstage at the Mark Taper Forum. Angelina recalled how the process, which included free workshops and team-building activities, built her self-confidence and showed her that people like her can succeed at anything they commit to. It was a defining moment in her life. This past summer, Angelina also participated in the Internship Program at Center Theatre Group, assisting the Institutional Advancement department, where she was inspired by the passion and work ethic of the Center Theatre Group staff and learned to appreciate the behind-the-scenes work necessary to run a professional theatre company.
Alejandra Cisneros was exposed to theatre at a young age through Center Theatre Group’s Student Matinee program. She is now working at Center Theatre Group on an 18-month fellowship sponsored by Theatre Communications Group in the role of Community Partnerships Associate. Mentored by Center Theatre Group Community Partnerships Director Jesus Reyes, Alejandra is exploring various career opportunities, building leadership skills, and pursuing her passion of collaborating and connecting with community groups around theatre.
All three of these remarkable young women shared stories of change that would not have been possible without Center Theatre Group. The programs they participated in changed the way they see themselves and the world, provided experiences that created new confidence in their abilities, and built important soft skills for them to become enthusiastic citizens and effective leaders of the next generation. Through their stories, we were able to better understand the collective scale and impact of the Corporate Circle’s contributions to the important programs that Center Theatre Group offers to students and the community.