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Shared Experience: Northern Stage

By David Boegaard

"Theater brings people together in a way nothing else does," says Irene Green, Northern Stage's Director of Sales and Marketing. That's because theater remains one of the handful of public events where "people come together for shared, meaningful experiences," Green suggests. And even after the audience leaves, the shared experience can produce lasting effects.

Green knows the value of theater from experience. Theater "has changed the way I think about things, the way I act in my day to day life toward other people, introduced new big ideas to my life, made me laugh," effuses Green. And she has felt the community that theater can form. "I have bonded with other people over a play we have both seen."

Recent productions at Northern Stage have included a wide variety of plays and musicals. Green particularly enjoyed a recent production of Songs for a New World, a work by Jason Robert Brown. The work collects a song cycle around the idea of moments of decision. Not only did Northern Stage have a fresh take on this piece, suggests Green, but "we had really great singers in the cast, and the whole show gave me a feeling of really strong personal optimism."

In addition to the theater performances, Northern Stage also hosts a variety of additional activities. All year round, the theater holds summer camps and classes for kids. For adults, it hosts a number of classes. And Northern Stage also collaborates with Dartmouth College theater students, giving students a chance to participate in a fully professional environment.

Of course, none of this would be possible without help from the audience and community. Green's advice for supporting the arts? "Attend. Go to theaters and museums and art galleries. Tell other people about the shows/installations/arts experiences you love."

If you really have the means and a love of art, "donate to nonprofit arts organizations," says Green. "Your dollars not only support the art, they support the economy of the community where the art organization is located." That's especially true if you want to experience the beautiful new theater that Northern Stage is in the process of trying to build.

Northern Stage allows for people to come together and discover new ways of feeling and living. That's something valuable in itself, notes Green, and something Northern Stage is grateful to be able to provide. "I have understood myself as a human more clearly through my theater experiences. I can't think of something more worthwhile than bringing these sorts of experiences to others."

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