Stories and entertainment directly from the Warwick community will be on center stage, free for the public to enjoy throughout the next year as part of a series put on by the Sandra Feinstein Gamm Theatre.
The Rhode Island Foundation is funding the initiative through a $10,000 contribution from its Community Grants program, and the Gamm is putting its own spin with the money by creating a “Community Stage” program that will open up the theater’s main lobby to various organizations in the city to showcase their unique stories and missions through imaginative ways.
“Community Stage is an opportunity for us to share our space and provide a gathering place for residents to use their own creative tools to make connections, build relationships and for all of us to get to know at a deeper level the individuals and organizations that make our neighborhoods thrive,” said Tony Estrella, Gamm artistic director. “The evenings will highlight local stories and are sure to spark creativity and conversation, engaging the community and enhancing the interconnectedness of cultural life in Warwick.”
First up on the docket is Mentor Rhode Island, that will be putting on an event on Monday, Sept. 23 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. that will tell the story of mentors and mentees and the beneficial role that relationship plays for students across the state who participate in the program.
“We're hoping between five and six people will tell 5-7 minute stories and get up and talk about the power of mentoring and talk about how mentoring is rewarding and mentoring is fun and about how important showing up and being consistent is, and having stories that reflect all of those things about mentoring,” said Christopher Margadonna, who is organizing the event for Mentor RI.
Margadonna is hopeful at least 80 people from the mentoring community, and those who don’t know anything about mentoring, will show up to share their experience and learn more about the program.
“The more people who don't know about us who show up, the better,” Margadonna added. “If I get two people to sign up to be a mentor that night, I'm happy.”
The series will continue on Oct. 7 from 7:30 to 9:30 with the Warwick Symphony Orchestra, whose programming has yet to be determined, and then Wethersfield Commons Condominiums will be putting on a full-fledged talent show on Nov. 4. Gamm marketing and sales associate Lauryn Sasso said that the Gamm hopes to have seven other organizations booked sometime soon, for a total of 10 performances.
“It's giving us a chance to connect with the community in the way we don't normally get to because we're offering the space as a place and a platform to tell their stories,” she said.
All events will be free and open to the public.