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The Grapevine Theatre Project receives grant in support of the first play of the City of Wine cycle

Salon Theatre Productions, doing business as The Grapevine Theatre Project, has received a $15,000 grant from the Ruth and Stu Barton Community Fund of the Community Foundation for Kingston & Area (CFKA).

A performance of SEVEN, of the City of Wine’s seven plays, which took place last summer as the City of Wine: Kingston group of thespians, who’d only performed together virtually via Zoom until then, come together in City Park. Submitted photo.

According to a release from The Grapevine Theatre Project, these funds will support the production of HARMONIA, the first play of the City of Wine Cycle, at The Spire, in March 2023.

“HARMONIA is a story of liberation,” the organization stated. “It tells of forbidden love between a goddess and a mortal and, by implication supported by intentional casting, will confront racism on an elemental level. Outreach for both participants and audiences will include and accommodate people experiencing barriers to theatre activities, such as youth at risk or parents with young children. Preparations for the production, including but not limited to rehearsals, will include workshops in which experienced members of the ensemble will offer mentorships and training to others.”

More than a thousand individuals, including youth at risk and youth theatre group members, will be able to participate and/or attend a local professional theatre production, providing a unique learning opportunity, according to the release.

“Just over a year ago we invited the people of Kingston/Katarokwi to gather in Zoom and read the plays of the City of Wine cycle,” said Artistic Producer Ned Dickens. “The response was overwhelming, and we began to dream into existence a way to stage the whole series, a way that enriches our local arts community and gives more to our city than we ask of it.

“We did ask the CFKA for help, and they, in their generous wisdom, have given us a grant of $15,000, which is the cornerstone of our planning to present, at The Spire, in March of next year, the first of the plays, HARMONIA,” Dickens continued. “By doing so, CFKA has invested not only a lot of money, but their belief in a shared vision for a major cultural and community initiative that will resonate in our city for years to come.”

The grand vision of the whole City of Wine project is to turn the massive scale of nine plays, and more than 120 characters to advantage by engaging as wide a range of artists as the organization can find, according to the release, including but not limited to, professionals, community theatre artists, and students, including individuals from under-represented communities, so that the project becomes a kind of machine for building capacity in and for our community.

“We are The Grapevine Theatre Project, and we welcome you to join us in this adventure, whether by tending the vines, picking the fruit, or tasting the wines.”

The Community Foundation for Kingston & Area awards annual grants through a competitive application and review process. Since 1995, the Foundation has granted more than $12.5 million to a wide variety of charities, according to the release. It runs a Community Grants program to which all local charities are invited to apply. Over 355 local charities have been supported through this program to date. Two granting rounds are held each year, with applications due October 15 and March 15. For more information visit www.cfka.org.

“As we all come out of pandemic isolation, it is so heartening to see the Salon Theatre back on its feet with this stimulating new production,” said CFKA Board Chair Rob Wood. “We appreciate the opportunity to support quality theatre and this City of Wine cycle, especially with its artistic perspectives on access, inclusion and mentoring. It is very much in line with the Community Foundation’s commitment to works that are For Good. For Ever. For All.

The Grapevine Project’s City of Wine initiative hopes to help create a virtuous circle whereby Kingston’s talent can stay, or return, home and build a thriving and self-sustaining professional theatre sector right here, to the benefit of the whole community, the organization concluded.

Find out more about The Grapevine Project on their website, or contact them via email at [email protected].

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