guest post: Clue into Cleveland on PlayhouseSquare Partners

When I agreed to be a PlayhouseSquare Jump Back Ball blogger earlier this year, I expected to learn more about PlayhouseSquare Partners while attending one of Cleveland’s hottest fundraisers. What I didn’t expect was to develop a great friendship with a fellow CLE blogger.

Amanda from Clue into Cleveland moved to our fine town about four years ago and in that short time has become one of Cleveland’s biggest fans. She shares my love of theater so we naturally connected. We’ve even had the chance to support one of our favorite arts organizations together on several occasions. Today, she’s here to share her experiences with Partners through a fun volunteering opportunity this past weekend. Thanks again Amanda for sharing this experience with PIP!

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Happy Monday, Poise in Parma readers! My name’s Amanda from Clue Into Cleveland and I’m thrilled to kick off my week by guest posting for Alicia.

One of the things I love about blogging in Cleveland (besides meeting blends like Alicia, of course!) is discovering opportunities that allow me to go beyond writing about the community and to get involved.

Last August, I stumbled on one of these opportunities when I attended PlayhouseSquare’s Cinema at the Square. At Back to the Future night, I stopped by a young professionals happy hour where I was introduced to PlayhouseSquare Partners.

Partners is the YP group at the theatre.  Although it’s a donors program, it’s about more than making a tax-deductible donation. It also allows members to support the country’s largest performance arts center outside New York City with their time and abilities.  Starting at a donation level of $100, Partners have the option to volunteer for a committee.

The Jump Back Ball committee, for instance, is responsible for planning the annual black tie costume gala in the PlayhouseSquare theatres. Education committee members help introduce children to live theatre. And the other committees – Membership, Social, and Fundraising – organize events for Partners and prospective members and secure additional support for PlayhouseSquare.

Partners were most recently invited to volunteer at the 2nd Annual International Children’s Festival presented by Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital and PlayhouseSquare. When I found out about it, I jumped at the opportunity.

“Celebrating the world we share” was the theme for this year’s event which ran May 2nd through 7th. An assortment of performances and free Festival activities encouraged children to engage not just with Cleveland, but also the global community.

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Additionally, the Children’s Hospital Wellness Walk got kids moving by having them complete exercises such as High Jumps, Toe Touches, and Jumping Jacks for a chance to win a Nintendo Wii & Wii Fit Package.

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On Saturday, Partners helped out with the free workshops. I was excited to stop by the Idea Center Classrooms to assist children and their parents as they made take-home crafts such as sail boats, felt cupcakes, paper bag pets, and juggling balls.

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The rooms were filled with families’ lively conversations about the shows they had just come from or were about to see.  As they picked up their art supplies, I heard about some children’s first experiences seeing live theatre.

However, my favorite part of the experience was lending a hand with the Juggling Circus workshop. We helped turn rice, a plastic bag, and 2 balloon halves into juggling balls. Then members from the St. Ignatius High School Circus Company led demonstrations and showed the children how to juggle.

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After volunteering, I checked out the rest of the Festival – catching a performance at the 14th Street World Stage of the Italian Sound Orchestra and visiting the OM interactive art installation.

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Combining art and audio technology, artist Melissa Daubert created 1839 sculptural figures standing on the seven continents of the world. Each figure represented 1 million children under age 15.

Members of the School of Rock contributed vocals so that the voices of children could be heard singing OM on each continent.  As I moved across the installation, a sound rose up of each child in harmony.

The installation did an amazing job of embracing the Festival’s "Celebrating the world we share" theme by creating a sense of one-ness and a path towards a world at peace.

It was a beautiful way to end my day at the Festival and I’m really happy that Partners provided me an opportunity to contribute.

If you’d like to learn more about Partners, contact Molly Franz at 216-348-5265 or franzm@playhousesquare.org. Or you can RSVP for one of our upcoming events:

  • Mini Golf Par-Tee on May 17
  • May Committee Meeting on May 23
  • June PlayhouseSquare Tour
  • July Dine Around

I’m particularly excited to play putt-putt in the Palace Theatre on May 17th. Tickets, which include golf, food and beer, cost $30 ($20 if you join Partners). You can also try to win a pair through my giveaway on Clue Into Cleveland.

I can’t wait to show off my lack of mini golf skills and hope to see Poise in Parma readers there!

Head over to Amanda’s blog (http://clueintocleveland.wordpress.com) and follow her on Twitter (@ADHicken) as she clues into all that this wonderful town has to offer!

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