Art requires courage

Art requires courage

By Petre Motiu

The CI View recently sat down with Professor Laura Covault, a drama professor at CI,  to talk about what’s been going on in the world of drama in Ventura County and it’s very exciting news. Covault, along with her business partner Leila Perez, have recently started a theatre company called Unity Theatre Collective. “UTC strives to provide an open door for every person to experience performance pieces that inspire insight and empathy.”

The election of gender and racial fluid casting is at the core of the Unity Theatre Collective. “One of our ways of accomplishing our mission is for our casting to be open so we don’t have these parts to be played by male or these parts to be played by a white woman,” said Covault. “We want to provide a very diverse season of plays that address many groups and many issues as much as we can but still have fun.”

This freedom of choice allows the company to be less constricted with trying out new projects and putting a new spin on older performances to add a fresh perspective.

This means that the variety of genres that the company can explore are limited only by the imagination and funding for the performances ahead. “So far we have had a couple of performances that also served as fundraisers. We’re partnering with a nonprofit in downtown Ventura called Namba Arts and they have all sorts of events happening such as music and performances,” said Covault. “They’re providing this space for us. And so through them, we have put on a “Mama Mia” sing-along where many of the performers were students from CI. That was our first performance in January and it was really successful.”

To bring their mission statement into focus, the objective of the company is also to engender sensitivity and open-mindedness. “What we really want to do is to get people to think,” said Perez. “So we seek to find plays people already know about and flip it on its head. We seek to find new material that causes people to think outside the box.”

When asked about their future goals, Covault and Perez have big plans with performances lined up very soon and in the future as well as aspirations they want to achieve. “Coming up on Mar. 15, we’re doing a Vaudeville variety show which is another fundraiser and another way of bringing in the community,” said Covault. “We have comedians and singers and dancers again some CI students.”

“We’d like to become a platform for young artists in Ventura County to be able to produce and perform in ways they wouldn’t have access to otherwise,” said Perez. “We’d like to create a branch of education so we’d like to offer classes and workshops and resources so that people in the community who are interested in theatre have access. We want to create a system where people who traditionally would not be able to afford to attend theatre experiences get to attend them freely.”

That safe harbor to further the arts is essential to the purpose of Unity Theatre Collective and it is exciting to see that this effort will be an inviting environment for budding artists, writers and actors looking for opportunities in Ventura County. This is a great opportunity for enriching the lives of the audience and for them to enjoy the creative courage these upcoming performances show.

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