BOSTON, Mass. – ClimACTS! Guilty Pleasures was a smashingly successful benefit for LGBT youth in True Colors, The Theater Offensive’s youth troupe. Boston’s most fabulous came out to support the LGBT community for a night filled with enthralling entertainment, dancing, and a live fantasy auction. Proceeds from the live and online auctions, Fund-a-Future campaign and ticket sales totaled over $100K for The Theater Offensive’s community-based art-activism programs.
Guest of honor “America’s Gaysian Sweetheart” Alec Mapa (“Ugly Betty,” “Desperate Housewives”) performed outrageous stand-up comedy. Mapa and avant-garde artist Sharon Bridgforth received the 2012 Out on the Edge award, which honors artists who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to break boundaries for LGBT artists. Former Out on the Edge recipients include Alan Cummings and Paula Vogel.
ClimACTS! corporate sponsors include Fenway Health & the Borum Institute, Eastern Bank, FMC Ice Sports, Taste Catering, Boston Private Bank & Trust Company, Nixon Peabody LLP, Ameriprise Financial, GLAD and The Rainbow Times. Individual sponsors’ generous donations also played a part in ClimACTS!’ success.
A portion of the proceeds from ClimACTS! will fund a second True Colors troupe to be as inclusive as possible of at-risk LGBT youth. Due to resources, True Colors’ single troop currently must reject as many youth as it accepts. The Theater Offensive targets LGBT and allied youth in Dorchester, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain and the South End.
“There aren’t enough messages to our youth today to love themselves exactly as they are. That’s especially true with our GLBT youth, with bullying and suicide rates as high as they are. It’s important for us to be out, it’s important for us to be ourselves and to show that you can live a happy life. from the time that you know that you’re different from the time you’re brave enough to come out, you spend a huge time of your life feeling ashamed. and it’s such a waste. when you’re finally out and you have friends who love you and you’re living an authentic life, you’re like, what is the problem, why did I spent so much time feeling terrible about myself all these years? When you find out there’s no reason to hate yourself, your whole life changes.”
– –Alec Mapa, 2012 Out on the Edge Awardee, Actor/comedian
“When we started in 1989, it was rare to see an LGBT-themed show anywhere in Boston. We changed that. But 23 years later, outside the theater ghetto, in most neighborhoods, you still can’t see an LGBT-themed show. About a year ago, The Theater Offensive embarked on a bold new adventure that has impacted thousands of lives and may change everything you thought you knew about Queer Theater. Ashley, a True Colors: OUT Youth Theater troupe member from Mattapan, inspired us when she put it this way: ‘Why do I have to take two trains and bus just to be who I am? I want to be OUT in My Own Neighborhood!’ In just 12 months of our new approach, The Theater Offensive: OUT in Your Neighborhood has engaged thousands of Bostonians in over 50 theatrical activities.”
– –Abe Rybeck, Executive Artistic Director of The Theater Offensive
The Theater Offensive grew out of the seminal street theater troupe United Fruit Company in 1989, led by current Executive Artistic Director Abe Rybeck. The creation of The Theater Offensive was a response to the founders’ experiences as activist members of underserved, marginalized communities and active participants in the early years of the Rainbow Coalition. Throughout its history The Theater Offensive has furthered its mission “to form and present the diverse realities of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) lives in art so bold it breaks through personal isolation and political orthodoxy to help build a more honest, progressive community.”
True Colors: OUT Youth Theater troupe provides year-round theater programming for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth and their straight allies (LGBTQQA), ages 14 to 22. True Colors is dedicated to presenting an honest portrayal of the youth through group playwriting, production, performance and theater training intensives.