Renaissance Theaterworks (RTW) is hosting a Dress for Success clothing drive during the run of their show EDUCATING RITA, a comedy by Willy Russell. Russell's play triggered a conversation that ultimately brought RTW, the YWCA and the W Girls together. The drive will run along with the production, January 18 - February 10, 2013, at the Studio Theatre, Broadway Theatre Center (Milwaukee).
This play takes the audience on Rita's comical journey towards the pursuit of knowledge and self empowerment. "One of the underlying themes of Rita's story is her desire to dress like an educated woman, all in an effort to fit in and be taken seriously. We've learned from the YWCA, that this theme affects many of our community members," says RTW's Marketing Director, Alison Carlucci. The groups will work together on gathering donations of women's business attire for Dress for Success during the entire run of the show.
Theater became the catalyst that brought the organizations together. RTW, the YWCA and the W Girls are teaming up as organizations that each work towards empowering women in the Milwaukee community.
RTW is celebrating their 20th season as Milwaukee's only women-founded, women-run theater company, with attention to roles for women on and off stage.
The YWCA Southeast Wisconsin's local vision statement is "fueling women's aspirations and opening pathways to racial justice."
The W Girls provide underprivileged women and children with support and resources necessary to achieve health, happiness and the ability to lead productive and successful adult lives.
The three groups are meeting for a special post-show talk back in early February, "to discuss the play, their organizations, and toast to the fact that we are all working toward empowering women in our community, which is pretty amazing" adds Lisa Rasmussen, the Development Director at RTW. Rachel Hughes, a member of W Girls Milwaukee, shares their enthusiasm to team-up. "We are excited to join the YWCA and Renaissance Theaterworks for an evening focused on empowering and encouraging women in the Milwaukee community to rise above their circumstances in pursuit of education, financial independence and self sufficiency through the play Educating Rita."
Jennifer de Montmollin, Chief Program Officer for YWCA Southeast Wisconsin, describes Dress for Success as "about so much more than clothing. In terms of access to opportunity, Dress for Success is an equalizer. It provides women in need the chance to effectively compete for employment by connecting them not just with professional attire, but complete image assessment and guidance. Our approach is honest and empowering. Every day, women leave us with their head held higher ready to meet the challenge."
How can you help? Are there any business professional outfits that you can donate? Please bring them to Renaissance Theaterworks at the Broadway Theatre Center, 158 N. Broadway in Milwaukee's Historic Third Ward. There will be a clothing rack in the lobby for donations before every show. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 414-273-0800 x201 to schedule a drop-off.
Box Office: (414) 291-7800
Rita, a spirited young hairdresser from Liverpool, yearns desperately for an education. Pursuing her dream, Rita enrolls at the Open University for non-traditional students. Her tutor Frank, a cynical career academic, teaches in order to pay for his drink. To his astonishment, Frank's spirit is awakened by Rita's comic honesty and passionate intellect. Together they embark on a challenging and wildly funny journey through the likes of Yeats, Ibsen and E.M. Forster. EDUCATING RITA was made into a hit film in 1983 starring Michael Caine and Julie Walters.
January 18 - February 10, 2013
Location: The Studio Theatre
158 N. Broadway, MKE, WI
Playwright: Willy Russell
Cast: Jonathan Smoots and Cristina Panfilio
Director: Jenny Wanasek
Show Times and Dates:
8 pm: Jan. 18, 19, 25, 26, Feb. 1, 2, 8, 9
7:30 pm: Jan. 24, 28, 31, Feb. 6, 7
4 pm: Jan. 19, 26, Feb. 2, 9
2 pm: Jan. 20, 27, Feb. 3, 10
Renaissance Theaterworks is a member of Theater Wisconsin and the Third Ward Arts District. Renaissance Theaterworks receives support from the Wisconsin Arts Board, Milwaukee Arts Board, CAMPAC, United Performing Arts Fund, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, private donors and foundations.