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Subscriber Spotlight: Helen Barrett

If you’ve been to a Court Theatre Spotlight Reading Series event, chances are you’ve probably seen Helen Barrett. A retired Chicago Police detective, Helen has been a Court subscriber for over two decades. She’s also attended all but one of Court’s Spotlight Readings. Supported by The Joyce Foundation, the Spotlight Reading Series consists of five public readings of rarely produced plays written by artists of color, held annually at locations throughout the city. 

“Every time I attend a reading, I shake my head that it’s a free event,” says Helen. “These readings take me all over the city, introduce me to new neighborhoods, and provide me with an interactive theatrical experience.” 

Helen particularly appreciates the program’s focus on lesser known works, and the audience talkbacks with artists that take place after every Spotlight reading. “Ron OJ Parson [Court Resident Artist and Director of the Spotlight Reading Series] interacts with all the patrons, and the artists provide such interesting commentary on the plays and how they connect to the world today.” 

As a subscriber to Court’s mainstage productions, Helen loves the range of plays that Court produces each year, from musicals to dramas to comedies. “I go to the theatre to get to know different groups and types of people through the stories onstage. Court’s productions include everyone, and the intimate setting makes you feel engaged with everything that’s happening. It creates a different sense of empathy, a new way of looking at the world. The world is always changing, and we have to change with it.”

Court is grateful for Helen’s longstanding commitment as a subscriber, and for her passionate support of the Spotlight Reading Series. The Spotlight Reading Series is just one of Court’s Education and Community Engagement initiatives that bring theatre to new audiences across the city. These programs are offered at no- or significantly reduced-cost to individuals, and rely on the support of generous patrons and donors to continue. ■

Make your gift today to ensure that your community continues to experience the unique moments of theatre provided by Court’s Community Engagement programs.

Above: Helen Barret with Court Theatre Community Programs Manager Aaron Mays at the Spotlight Reading of Trouble in Mind (Photo by Jake Newell).

Posted on January 16, 2018 in Donor Stories, Support