Proud Theater: Decade

By Proud Theater

Directed by Callen Harty/Sol Kelley-Jones

Broom Street Theater, in conjunction with Proud Theater, is pleased to announce a one weekend only production of Proud Theater: Decade, the tenth anniversary show of Madison's award-winning lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) youth theater group, July 23-25 at Broom Street Theater.

In late 1999 then thirteen year old Sol Kelley-Jones decided she wanted a theater group that would explore queer issues from the perspective of youth. She wanted a group that would combine art, heart, and activism to change the world. She saw an article about Callen Harty, currently Broom Street Theater's Artistic Director, and contacted him to ask if he would be willing to help her get the group going. Combining his passions for theater and queer politics he agreed and together they formed Proud Theater. They started with no money, three members, and a lot of hope.

Just half a year later, in July of 2000, the fledgling group had its first-ever public performance, a short skit featuring four actors that was performed at the M.A.G.I.C. picnic as part of Madison's pride activities. Proud Theater: Decade celebrates ten years of continuous performances at schools, churches, senior centers, pride events, and more. The group has grown exponentially, performing at venues all over Madison and the surrounding area and places as distant as Platteville, Wisconsin and Minneapolis, Minnesota. It also produces a year-end show that typically has sellout or near sellout houses for four performances in larger Madison venues such as the Frederic March Play Circle and the Bartell Theater. From the handful of youth at the beginning the group has grown to 20-30 members each year. It is currently a project of OutReach, Madison's LGBT Community Center and over the years has received free rehearsal space from James Reeb Unitarian Universalist Church, First Congregational Church, and Bethany United Methodist Church.

Proud Theater: Decade will present selections from each of the ten years of its performances, with selections that represent key moments in that history. Featured will be original theatrical pieces, music, and poetry. One new song will be unveiled. All of the theater pieces are written collaboratively by the youth in the group with guidance from adult mentors. All the former members who could be found were contacted and asked if they could be involved in the production. Three dozen Proud Theater alumni will appear on the Broom Street Theater stage for this special event.

Proud Theater has won many awards and honors in its ten-year history. It was awarded OutReach's Organization of the Year award in 2002. Co-founder and first Artistic Director Callen Harty received OutReach's Man of the Year award in 2003. Current Artistic Director Brian Wild was named the OutReach Man of the Year in 2008. They are the only couple to have both won that award. Co-founder Sol Kelley-Jones had been named the OutReach Ally of the Year award winner before the group was founded as a result of her activist work on behalf of the LGBT community that started when she was ten. She has won too many other awards to list and in 2001 was named by Teen People as one of the ten youth most likely to change the world. In 2000 she spoke before a crowd of half a million people at the Millennium March on Washington. In addition to the recognition in awards Proud Theater has also received funding awards from the New Harvest Foundation and other groups including, most recently, a $10,000.00 grant from the Mukti Fund in May of this year.

Proud Theater: Decade runs one weekend only, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from July 23 through July 25, 2010 at Broom Street Theater, 1119 Williamson Street, Madison, Wisconsin. Curtain is 8:00 p.m. for the Friday and Saturday performances. Sunday's curtain is at 2:00 p.m. Doors open 15 minutes prior to performance time. Tickets are $9.00 on the weekend nights and $6.00 for the Sunday matinee. Individual show tickets are available at the door. Reservations are strongly recommended for this production due to the limited number of performances and seats. For more information or to make reservations call 608-244-8338 or visit the website at

Produced by Broom Street Theater at Broom Street Theater, 1119 Williamson Street, Madison

Performances: July 23-25, 2010

Performance Times: Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m., Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $9.00 on Friday and Saturday, $6.00 on Sunday.

Call 608-244-8338 for reservations or more information.

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