Director and actor Jarvis Antonio Green recently began a new theater company, JAG Productions, in a partnership with ArtisTree Community Arts Center in Pomfret, which he hopes will foster more cultural awareness in the region through the uniquely deep and moving perspectives that theater brings into our lives.
Through his strong connections in the theater industry, and in local theater circles, Green has a clear cultural mission. He wants his productions to educate and inspire his audiences with cultural diversity — with the purpose of making national discussions around race and culture more locally relevant and real.
Green, a 35-year-old Woodstock resident, loves the ability of theater to entertain, but he’s looking to inspire people beyond that level.
“This is my effort to promote change,” Green said. “Theater has the special ability to change people’s hearts and minds and help them see themselves or their world in a different way, and empower people to be the change they want to see.”
Bringing his New York theater connections with him, Green came to Vermont five years ago and quickly fell in love with the region and its people.
He launched the organization BarnArts in Barnard in 2012, directing shows such as “Oliver!” and “Grease.” He went on to help form the theater program at ArtisTree in nearby Pomfret, where he continued creating local productions with help from dozens of local theater professionals and enthusiasts, young and old. His directing credits with ArtisTree Theatre Company included “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”
The opportunity to work with ArtisTree and Kathleen Dolan, founder and executive director, is an exciting one for Green, who splits his time between New York City and Vermont, he said in a press release.
“I am so grateful to be given another opportunity to share stories through theater to our community — and with a new company. This time, I’m bringing new stories written by new playwrights about people and subject matter that exist in our greater communities,” Green said in the release.
From the time he arrived in Vermont, Green felt an openness to diversity and cultural experiences among the people, which makes him confident that there is solid demand here for the productions he’s hoping to bring through his new theater venture.
It all starts with “Choir Boy,” a new play by African American playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney, a 2013 MacArthur Fellowship recipient. The show will be presented in November at Briggs Opera House in White River Junction. Green’s press release described the play as “a music-filled story of masculinity, tradition, coming of age, and speaking your truth, set in the gospel choir of an elite prep school for young black men.”
He said his productions will include the work of playwrights from many backgrounds, not just African American culture. That will bring new stories that local audiences might not have heard or seen.
For more information about JAG Productions and “Choir Boy,” visit www.JAGProductionsVT.com or call 332-3270.