Stand Up For… Theatre is a young company that, along with Erase Hate For Art, makes up How Do You Like Me Now Productions. The two programs work to promote acceptance and equality with the production of theatrical performances and fine art exhibitions which focus on the harmful effects of hate crime and bullying.
Stand Up For… Theatre launched in 2014 with a production of “The Laramie Project.” After mounting one show per year for its first four seasons, the company produced two shows — “Breaking the Code” and “La Cage aux Folles” — in 2018.
The current season is Stand Up For… Theatre’s most ambitious yet. The winter production of “The Addams Family” will be followed up with “A Few Good Men,” which opens May 31 at the Chesapeake Arts Center in Brooklyn Park. The show will run through June 15. “Carrie” comes just in time for Halloween, followed by “9 to 5” next January.
While Stand Up For… Theatre is relatively new, Executive President Grant Myers says it has been quick to find an audience. Most performances average 80 to 90 audience members, and a venue that seats 126 has sold out for some performances. “The Addams Family” sold out the majority of its shows.
“By relying on the strength of our mission and the selection of productions that promote our cause we are creating a niche that audiences find attractive,” Myers said. “Attracting an audience and engaging them is a challenge for all community theaters. Stand Up For… Theatre sets itself apart from the competition with our mission statement. We are often contacted by cast members past and present with references to incidents of bullying and hate crimes that have touched their lives.”
“Our mission is the heart of our theatre. It is more than words, it is our passion,” Myers added. “We don’t do this because it is easy; we do this because it is important to share the message of acceptance over tolerance.”
In fact, he said, past audience members have reached out with their own stories of bullying and hate. One credited Stand Up For… Theatre with improving his relationship with his father.
Several of Stand Up For… Theatre’s actors have returned for multiple productions, but the company strives to include at least one first-time performer in each show. They have “consistently proven that it is will, not skill, that gives life to a performance,” Myers said. “This aspect of our productions creates an environment in which new actor learn stagecraft and the veterans take pause to remember why they fell in love with theater in the first place.”
To learn more about Stand Up For… Theatre and Erase Hate Through Art, click here.