Theatre Action Project: Something tells me this fundraiser will be cool

Theater Action Project photo

Photo from TAP’s student program “Courage to Stand”

Theatre Action Project will hold its very first fundraising event – after being in the community for 10 years – on Wednesday, February 27 at the Design Center of Austin. If you’ve ever heard of this group, you’ll have high expectations for this event.

TAP may be about combining theater and education to help children and teens cope with self-esteem and other issues, but from what I’ve seen, the group is all about helping groups lose their inhibitions through easy and fun interactions. You don’t really “see” TAP perform … you watch them take over a crowd, as I did at MLK Day of Service last month.

The fundraiser is called “Big Kid Birthday Bash,” with the birthday being TAP’s. There will be food and a cash bar, of course, as well as the requisite band (ragtime jazz group The White Ghost Shivers) and silent auction (vacation packages, local arts, jewelry). And the whole night takes on a carnival theme with a cake walk featuring baked goodies from the best bakeries in Austin, a ring toss featuring unopened bottles of wine to win, fortune tellers featuring you, and lots more.

Pretty fun for a Wednesday night, huh? And the whole thing is just $30 a person – so bring a couple friends along and feel good about dropping about $100 each on a good cause, and walking out with a cake, a couple bottles of wine, and your future all worked out.

I spoke with Karen LaShelle, the executive and artisitc director of TAP, for more information about the event and what they do.

1. This is TAP’s first fundraising event – so from where else does TAP get its funding?
We have funding from a variety of sources–federal, state and local city grants, family foundations, individual donors and corporations.  We are really trying to increase our gifts from corporations and individuals as to create a nice stable funding base.

2. People hear “theater and education,” and maybe they think TAP offers acting classes for kids. But the goal is not to make actors out of children…. what’s the goal of your programs?

We want to improve the lives of young people ad we use theatre and the createive arts as tools to engage, inspire and educate them on a variety of social issues including bullying, conflict resolution, dating violence, and community pride.

3. So when people donate money to TAP, what exactly do you spend the money on?

We spend nearly our entire budget on our amazing pool of talented and dedicated teaching artists – local artists and educators who are trained to deliver our innovative and unique blend of theatre and creative arts programs. Right now, the vast majority of funding we seek will help to sustain our very large after school program in which we deliver over 280 hours of meaningful and enriching after school to 30 area campuses.

4. Congratulations on 10 years in the community. What’s up for the future of TAP?

My dream is for TAP to be a part of every school community in the area and someday reach beyond Central Texas.   We think our way of engaging young people and providing them with fun opportunities to gain skills, knowledge and self-confidence is something every child no matter where they live can benefit from.  I also would love to see a TAP Community Arts Center someday at which people could gather to be a part of a variety of creative arts programs. 

I want to create a space that connects people and provides a fun and beautiful way to build community. Imagine art classes, theatre performances, community gardens, murals, community discussions, potlucks, parades and more!

Here’s the details:

Theatre Action Project Big Kid Birthday Bash
When: February 27, 2008
Time:  6:30-9:30pm
Place: The Design Center of Austin, 3601 South Congress at Penn Field, Bldg. C, Austin, Texas 78704

Musical entertainment: The White Ghost Shivers
Emcees: Improv actors Jodi and Owen Egerton
Silent and Live Auction including incredible vacation packages, local arts, and jewelry
Delicious food, wine and beer cash bar

Tickets: $30 individual
Tables: $500 for 10 people, includes premiere seating, valet, drink tickets, and take-away goodie bags
Recommended for guests 21 yrs. old and older

For more information, please contact Karen LaShelle, 442-8773


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