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By Jackie Rivera, The Project [theatre]

At just past the one year mark of being awarded with the challenge of matching the generous $25,000 from The Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge we stand humbled by our successes and grateful to the foundation for allowing us the funds to grow and achieve the progress in storytelling we have accomplished this year.

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For the three-man band structure of The Project [theatre] we’ve certainly made much headway and have already increased our producing capacity from years past at a lofty 3 productions for the 2013 season, beginning last March with The Arsht Center’s commission of Extended Stay for The Riviera Hotel on South Beach, POP ART! The gallery series pop up performance at The (something) gallery and the inaugural Miami Design District PerformanceWalk event with help from Bakehouse Art Complex. And rounding out the year with our most successful endeavor yet, URBAN APPAREL, also co-presented by The Adrienne Arsht Center.

For those of you who missed the pop up hipster boutique experience URBAN APPAREL,  luckily by the pattern we’re setting you’ll have the opportunity to see our next improvement on the immersive theater model in our upcoming 2014 season, but you should know you’ve certainly missed an entertaining step on our climb. Let me start with our own personal accomplishments, URBAN APPAREL is our first full length, fully devised, original play. We spent 3 and a half weeks with 4 actor/writers and a director/writer (and for a fleeting moment, an adorable street puppy) discussing character, story, environment and world while improvising the scenes that would become landmarks in a preliminary outline, and finally processed into documented script format. And that was just after 5pm. Our morning/afternoons were spent seeking storefront leases downtown, then building out the interior shop and scouring the internet marketplace for merchandise to stock in our fictional store. Every step of the way in creating the world of URBAN APPAREL, we were met with complete enthusiasm and cooperation from the entire community. A truly beautiful sight for these 6 sore theater-making-eyes.

The other new component that came with URBAN APPAREL was The Adrienne Arsht Center’s interest in co-presenting the show with us, and offering their marketing team up for use on promoting the show. They were of great help to us getting our sexy little show-experiments into the inboxes of their audiences, (with no added help from gmail’s new sorting system) and we were delighted to find great support amongst our audience crossovers. Its just extremely motivating and encouraging to have a producing organization like The Arsht Center behind us. We are hoping an example this grand can encourage the entire arts community of Miami to collaborate and unite in support of each other’s really amazing projects toward the explosion of Miami’s Art community to ignite on a national stage.

Excuse my cryptic language in the following, but if I leak what we have in store for the 2014 season, I’d have to kill you. And Im not sure I can track who reads this specifically, so lets play it safe, shall we? Great! There are a few rights pending in the fire for some exciting new published plays and a classic old musical (what?!)  “but you just produced a great original devised play!” We know, we know…that muscle is coming in quite nicely, but if we are hoping to get a well rounded work out, we gotta tend to other muscles like creating the world of the experience; how to immerse our audiences from ticket purchase all the way to the bows. God is in the details, as they say…and we intend to catch him AND his lucky charms!

But the most exciting project we hope to incorporate is a truly immersive rehearsal and production program that could get some curious donors a peek under our skirts during rehearsals and construction, especially for our newest devised piece we are hoping to take abroad in the summer in rep with an old tiny-suited, bespectacled favorite. Ok, if we tell you any more we will be entitled to your first born, Im sure of it. So…have a superb start to the new year and we look forward to adventuring with you in 2014. Look alive!

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