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Our work. Our mission. Our voices.

The Front Porch Presents: The Gina Chavez Trio & Rain Collectors in Concert to Benefit Conspire Theatre

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September 24th Fundraiser

On September 24th, The Front Porch will host Conspire Theatre, the Gina Chavez Trio, and Rain Collectors for an evening of performance and discussion. Proceeds will benefit Conspire Theatre’s work with formerly incarcerated women. When: Thursday, September 24th from 7 to 9 p.m. Where: All Saints’ Episcopal Church 209 W. 27th Street Austin, TX 78705 What: The Front Porch will present an evening of fun, music, and performance benefitting Conspire Theatre’s ongoing work with formerly incarcerated women.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m., so come early to grab a drink and mingle, then enjoy music from The Gina Chavez Trio and Rain Collectors, an excerpt from Conspire Theatre’s new play, “Mothers & Daughters,” and a discussion with the artists. Why: All proceeds support the development of Conspire Theatre’s 2016 production of their new play, “Mothers & Daughters.” Created and performed by an ensemble of Austin women who have experienced jail or … Continue reading

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My weekend as a workshop volunteer/coordinator/go-to-go-fer girl

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Everybody else got started on Friday. I helped out on Saturday and Sunday by running errands and generally making myself available for the actors’ and directors’ various needs. KLRU filmed every minute! And Jada documented everything with her skilled photographic eye. The hours that follow only signify actually being there at the theatre. Kat and Michelle boggled the mind by cranking out new and improved script revisions nightly – well into the wee-morning hours. Volunteers, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, designers, strangers, facilitators and sponsors and one of the best damn babysitters in town, all worked around the clock to make Performing Possibilites run like a dream! 8 am Whole Foods generously donated breakfast tacos all weekend for the actors, facilitators, documentarians and volunteers. 9 am Ate breakfast, chatted, woke up with a cup of coffee. Group expressed hopes to meet every week – it’s important to maintain a connection, and that’s … Continue reading

Lauren Johnson writes about Performing Possibilities

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girl bowing on stage

Cast Aways?! Performing Possibilities is a vision that has been a long time in coming. A vision that was realized last night! I remember Kat telling me about her inspiration for it. And the full dream of creating an ensemble created from group of formerly incarcerated women – those that society often deems disposable. We hope that our performance will start to change that perception. At first I imagined it would be a huge production. I couldn’t picture how it was going to be pulled together. The bigger vision, is this will be a long running show. And provide an employment opportunity for the participants to make it easier to participate. The population of ex-offenders is often too busy trying to make ends meet and face their own demons of stigma to devote their free time to extracurricular activities. Even more so for women who are often coming home to care for children and … Continue reading

Celebrating 2013 ~ Looking ahead to 2014!

Performing Possibilities backstage!

A brand-new ensemble theatre program, a documentary film, on-going in-jail classes — 2013 gave Conspire Theatre much to celebrate!

Here are some of the voices from participants and audience members this year:

“This is one of the most moving performances I’ve ever seen on incarceration. These women made compelling, honest, artful work that every person should see. Take this to high schools, to detention centers, to the Capitol – and THANK YOU.” Continue reading

Pisces

by Javier Martinez

*Author’s name withheld A fish born into a world like porn it’s an open sea I swim daily to escape the hook’s fee surrounded, wanted by every crab school to rise above is to also break away from their pull humans not only cast out their hook even love, followed by money, has lies that turns one into a crook A fish born into a world like porn it’s an open sea I swim daily to escape the hook’s fee I once was hooked – intoxicated, addicted to drugs jails, prison, mental institutions I was lying at the bottom of the shore screwed too many times, left like a sea whore A fish born into a world like porn it’s an open sea I swim daily to escape the hook’s fee Each hook fought differently, I’ve been able to escape I am a survivor – I no longer see myself as … Continue reading

Me

Self-love

*Author’s name withheld Caring Loving Intelligent, strong, cute and sharing Notice how I have written from caring to sharing – how the words are sittin’ one word next line, one word next line, five words (115 – my weight, I know I’m a nerd) My sins have been washed, Jesus tossed. Notice the outlay again? Just another silly way my friend (5’2″ – telling of my height) I know now you’re beginning to think, how tight I have a point I’ll keep this small or even short It is another silly way of me to report Not my height nor my weight life giving to all how any day the Lord could take me.

Lock Down

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*Author’s name withheld Is where I be surrounded in steel, they captivate me behind these doors a system’s hidden way to ignore you, me – has no limits to anyone Some old, others young I’ve come across many new faces all playing the same game races Once these words to me were wisely said – (at that time these words were too wise for my head) “A money maker winner never gets caught” I’d choose a different game I’ve now finally got the message in that if you don’t get it, you’ll be back yelling out these same cell cages all built up, surrounded with different rages It’s never too late to change – no doubt I’m so sick of this same prison route If changes aren’t made then I am bound to continue to see where I am now lock down

Another Day

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*Class participant’s poetry submission – author’s name withheld To live another day to live a different way I’ve learned so much I am grateful for God’s touch I have been humbled as well as my mouth from rumbled rumbling on about life’s sad songs no matter where I may be it is my God who will set me free I can stand alone in me He will make Himself known I can smile and still love obviously my higher power I serve is above I’ve learned how to be still within within me Jesus is in I do not have to live – it is my God who chose me to give another day

Another poetry submission from class participant!

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*Author’s name withheld SLICE I’m spinning my wheels… Racking my brain… The word ‘slice’ only has me think of meals…yet That be expected and a challenge is my game… Have you ever thought of life this way… How if we weren’t given bits at a time… As from a second to a full 24 hour day… How confusing the world would combine… Just imagine all of us awake… Awake at the same hour… I believe not even God could take… Take us all at once – shoot – even I’d give up that power… So there’s that peice… What if we all lived alike… To all be the President with the same feast… What an awful sight… Thank goodness we are divided on that… What about sports – to all play on the same team… What good is a trophy, along with the same hug and pat… what would even a … Continue reading

Do-Si-Do

www.bostonglobe.com

Lauren Johnson takes another spin in the legislative process and learns these dangerous moves can knock you down – but you have to keep getting up and try again! It often feels like one step forward, two steps back, lather, rinse, repeat. This past year I’ve been working behind the scenes, and it’s been more than a little frustrating. The day after I went to the Capitol to testify about bills that were filed – that would’ve changed the struggle for those who come behind me on this journey – I woke up to an Internet headline that read, “Texas House passes bill on drug testing for welfare benefits”. That took the wind out of my sails. I was exhilarated the night before. I thought we’d been making progress, changing the perspective of the system and people! I was crestfallen. I used to think, people have to pass drug tests every day to get … Continue reading