Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alum Preston Max Allen ’13 — a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Acting who also took courses in the Theatre Department’s Musical Theatre and Comedy programs — is spearheading A Place for Us: Celebrating Trans and Nonbinary Artists in Musical Theatre, a June (Pride Month) series of free virtual programs in support of The Gender & Family Project (GFP), an organization that empowers youth, families and communities by providing gender affirmative services, training and research.
The programming includes panel discussions and workshops aimed at both students and educators, dance and voice classes, and a June 30 concert amplifying trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming artists in the theatre community from Broadway to the UK. A Place for Us aims to provide education and resources for continued structural change and a brighter future for trans and nonbinary young people in theatre. All registration information for the events can be found here.
The series kicks off Wednesday, June 16, at 5 PM Eastern Daylight Time with a panel for educators on creating safe, inclusive spaces for trans and nonbinary artists in partnership with RE:THEATRE, an online theatre and education consulting company whose goal is to inspire educators and theatremakers to use theatre as a tool for community engagement and healing. The panel includes Allen, a performer, composer, and lyricist whose musical We Are the Tigers had an Off-Broadway run in 2019.
The programming concludes with A Place for Us: Celebrating Trans and Nonbinary Artists in Musical Theatre, a free virtual performance supporting and amplifying trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming artists in the theatre community from Broadway to the UK. The concert will stream on YouTube on Wednesday, June 30, at 7 PM EDT. To register for the concert, click here.
The concert features 15 new pieces written and performed by trans and nonbinary artists and is in support of The Gender & Family Project. The concert lineup includes composers César Alvarez (Futurity), Preston Max Allen (We Are the Tigers), Truth Bachman (Shapeshifters), Ty Defoe and Tidtaya Sinutoke, Jessye DeSilva, Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, Bree Lowdermilk (The Mad Ones), Anessa Marie, Shakina Nayfack with Dan G. Sells and Ashley Robinson, AriDy Nox and Brandon Webster (Metropolis), Robin da Silva and Tabby Lamb, Will Shishmanian (The Regulars), Storm Thomas, and Kit Yan and Melissa Li (Interstate). Featured performers include Shakina Nayfack (Transparent), L Morgan Lee (The Danish Girl), Ezra Menas (Jagged Little Pill), Sis (Our Offering), and others to be announced soon, with music direction by Anessa Marie and direction by Madsie Flynn. The producing team is led by Preston Max Allen.
The project’s Instagram account will also be highlighting trans and nonbinary composers from all over the world, featuring dozens of new songs, musicals, and talent to watch out for.
A Place for Us aims to provide education and resources for continued structural change and a brighter future for trans and nonbinary young people in theatre. The Gender & Family Project (GFP) promotes gender inclusivity as a form of social justice in all the systems involved in the life of the family. Working directly with transgender and gender expansive young people, their families and their communities, GFP offers a variety of programs and services aimed to build community, decrease isolation, and foster hope and resiliency. Through community and clinical services, research, training and education, GFP provides comprehensive and customized advocacy, regardless of a family’s financial situation or ability to pay.