“The idea of the individual artist is a relatively new phenomenon in history. In the ancient world the story was a communal creation. Just as the cathedral was the work of nameless artisans, so were the ruling stories passed along anonymously without written language. Instead, they were spoken and honed and shaped from mouth to mouth until the group wisdom shone through in its clearest manifestation.” – E.L. Doctorow, Address to the Students of the Tisch School for the Arts

Civic Ensemble’s civic engagement programs bring individuals together to work towards a common goal. The journey towards that goal becomes the process of creating a new community. Each time we engage we open the door to discovery and insight.

What does it mean to “engage?” What is our responsibility to each other and our community? What is the role of theatre and more broadly, all arts, in shaping who we are and where we are going as a community? How does our personal engagement with the arts enrich our lives and allow the possibility of new perspectives? What is our collective story and how does creating and telling that story reveal a path toward new structures that benefit more people?

Civic Ensemble provides a place for participants in our programs to explore these questions. With theatre work as our structure, we engage community members in dialogue about topics of importance to them. Theatre asks us to take the risk of true engagement. The fictions we create reflect the truths we are often unable to address in other structures.


For more information about our Civic Engagement programs, click below or contact Sarah K. Chalmers, Director of Civic Engagement, at sarah@civicensemble.org