Emma Palzere-Rae: Raising Representation Awareness

Theatre is a way to bring people together in a non-confrontational way. You could do theatre as a political act and say it’s a political act; you can do theatre as an art and bring people together in the room to have that experience while people are being entertained and reacting emotionally; that they react and get them thinking and hopefully move them to take action these days.

Emma Palzere-Rae is a playwright, actor, director, producer and non-profit administrator. Emma spent 15 years as part of the NYC theater community, where she began producing one-woman plays and founded the Womenkind Festival. Over its ten-year run, Womenkind presented nearly 75 different performers, mainly original works. She is the Associate Director at Artreach, Inc. (Norwich, CT), and has also held the position of Artistic Director for Plays for Living (NYC), a touring company dedicated to social change, where she also wrote and developed plays for the repertoire.

Theater has the power to heal — bringing people together for a common shared experience, to laugh, to cry, to learn and, perhaps, to have a personal revelation or catharsis. Theater provides a space for personal and social change. Through my solo plays, I create theater that is a channel for that healing. 

Be Well Productions is receiving a grant to develop a new work! Thanks to @CultureSECT for all their work in creating this funding opportunity for our local artists and organizations.

Emma’s plays include “Aunt Hattie’s House”, about what compelled Harriet Beecher Stowe to pen “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, and “Live from the Milky Way… It’s Gilda Radner!” Her current projects include “The Woodhull Project” about 1872 Presidential candidate, Victoria Woodhull; and the two-act “Finders Weepers”. Her one-woman plays tour throughout the country under the banner of Be Well Productions. Emma is passionate about nurturing theater artists and co-founded The Way of the Labyrinth Playwright’s Retreat, held every June since 2015 in southeastern Connecticut. Emma has also been an adjunct professor in the Arts Administration program in the Dramatic Arts Department at the University of Connecticut. Emma serves on the steering committee of the League of Professional Theatre Women (CT Chapter) and the boards of the CT Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, New London Arts Council, and East Lynne Theater Company. She is also a member of Actors Equity Association and the Dramatists Guild, where she serves as the regional representative for New England-West. Emma holds a B.F.A in Acting with minors in Creative Writing and Speech from Emerson College, Boston. In 2021, Emma was awarded an Artist Fellowship from the CT Office of the Arts.

An Arts & Health Agency

​Supporting mental health and wellness through the creative and performing arts since 1985!

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Instagram: @emma_be_well

@ artreachheals

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#VictoriaWoodhull 

#HarrietBeecherStowe

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Valerie David: The Pink Hulk, a One-Woman Warrior’s survival story from cancer

 

Put on your Super Hero Cape when you listen to Valerie David’s podcast: The Pink Hulk, a One-Woman Warrior’s survival story from cancer. But her show is NOT just about cancer; it is about conquering our fears, our anxieties, our despair during the pandemic and removing our metaphorical masks to voice the racial injustices of Black Lives Matter.

 

Valerie David - Headshot - pc David Perlman Photography

Photo Credit David Perlman Photography

 

Valerie David is the writer and performer of the award-winning, critically acclaimed The Pink Hulk: One Woman’s Journey to Find the Superhero Within, which chronicles her journey to become a three-time cancer survivor with a combination of humor and drama to inspire and empower her audiences.

Valerie is also an improviser, published writer, editor and motivational speaker. A graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts-Manhattan Campus and James Madison University, her credits include many productions such as the Off-Broadway musical A Stoop on Orchard Street, Rumors and Claudia Shear’s Blown Sideways Through Life. Films: How I Became that Jewish Guy and Bridges and Tunnels. Memberships: Dramatists Guild, TRU, League of Professional Theatre Women, AEA and SAG-AFTRA. With more than 20 years of experience as a writer and an editor, she also teaches improv and writing classes across the country and worldwide. Valerie is currently developing her new solo show Baggage from BaghDAD about her father and his family fleeing Iraq in 1941 from religious persecution—and how their survival shaped who she is today.

Upcoming Pink Hulk virtual performance: Excerpts with a special talkback in the Reykjavik Fringe Festival, Monday, July 6, 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm (Iceland time 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm)

Broadway World Play Review of The Pink Hulk:
https://www.broadwayworld.com/off-off-broadway/article/BWW-Review-Living-Life-to-the-Fullest-with-Valerie-Davids-THE-PINK-HULK-20191013

Valerie’s article in Broadway World regarding the coronavirus:
https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/BWW-Feature-A-Three-Time-Cancer-Survivors-Inspirational-Perspective-on-the-Coronavirus-by-Performer-Valerie-David-20200417

Website: https://pinkhulkplay.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pinkhulkplay/

Twitter: @pinkhulkplay

IG: @pinkhulkplay

 

Testimonial #33: Tara Handron, Actor/Playwright

How has your life been indelibly touched by a teacher who utilized the arts for whatever reason and acknowledge how they were instrumental in breaking the mold to allow you to become who you are today?

When I was in high school I was lucky to have the same teacher all four years for performing arts choir and the school musical productions. Sharon Greene taught me much more than just how to sing second soprano. Mrs. Greene taught me and many others how to both shine as well as how to be part of a group, a unique integral piece of a greater performance. When I was a junior, Mrs. Greene cast me as one of the three African American back up singers in Little Shop of Horrors. I am not African American, I had done just a few shows up to that point, and yet she went ahead and cast me with two extremely talented girls who were. I felt honored. She encouraged me to use all my unique gifts in any role whether it was third dancer from the left or a lead solo in a state-wide concert. She made me feel valuable and talented and that in turn helped me to take risks in performance and in life. When I was in class or rehearsals with Mrs. Greene I felt alive. I felt confident. There were other times during high school and in college when I used alcohol in unhealthy ways to feel secure or worthy. Mrs. Greene encouraged me and others to find our worth and power in creativity and hard work. Those skills and experiences have helped me in many areas of my life well beyond high school and well beyond the stage. Today I am someone who continues to create and grow and be authentic in all my roles: performer, writer, marketer, fundraiser, producer, friend, daughter, girlfriend, sister, volunteer, student…Thanks, Mrs. Greene!

How are the arts re-igniting your community and sparking innovation and creativity in your local schools?

Because of how I am using my art form (writing and performance around substance abuse, alcoholism and other disorders), I am seeing the arts take a powerful role in educating young people about all the potential harms and dangers of addictive behavior that often begin in middle school and high school. With my play, Drunk with Hope in Chicago, and its research as well as the work I do with the Student Assistance Professionals at Caron Treatment Centers in the DC area, the arts are not only enhancing education around topics that can be either boring or taboo but more importantly the arts are making them more impactful. When I portray a young woman who has been sexually assaulted while intoxicated that can have more of an impact on a young person than simply reading facts and statistics. And with programs like this, more teens are starting their own socially aware performance groups. Using the arts to educate not only transforms how we learn tough or academic topics but also inspires students to be creative in other areas of their lives. Creativity breeds more creativity! For clips of the show and more information go to: http://www.tarahandron.com