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Front Porch Arts Collective and Huntington Theatre Co. launch partnership

Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Front Porch Arts Collective and Huntington Theatre Co. launch partnership
Front Porch Arts has been bringing Black stories to Boston stages for years, such as their production of “Pass Over” (above) with Speakeasy Stage in January 2020. PHOTO: NILE SCOTT STUDIOS

The Huntington Theatre Company and the Front Porch Arts Collective will launch a multi-year strategic partnership on Sept. 1. The Porch will be in residence at the Huntington, and the two theater companies will utilize the close connection to foster learning and growth opportunities and impactful theater experiences.

“The Porch is building a producing model that allows us to live our values,” says Co-Producing Artistic Director Dawn M. Simmons. “The Huntington, with its resources and national reputation, will give us the time to put those values into place as we ascend to the next level of producing excellence where we authentically tell the stories of the diaspora. It’s an exciting step in our artistic evolution.”

The Front Porch Arts Collective is a Black theatre company that has spent five years giving voice to diasporic communities through theater. The Huntington will launch its 40th season this fall and has committed to amplifying a more inclusive roster of artistic voices. The collaboration will allow the Porch the time, space and resources to grow into a sustainable and independent organization.

“While the primary purpose of the residency is to build the capacity of the Porch as an independent organization, our shared goal is to teach and learn from one another, and in the end, for both companies to be stronger because of our work together,” says Huntington Managing Director Michael Maso.

Previously, the Porch was in residency with Central Square Theater, during which CST provided fiscal support as well as space, fundraising and mentorship. Though that residency collaboration has ended, the two organizations will continue to work together. This season, the Porch will produce two pieces with the Central Square Theater: “Queens Girl in the World” by Caleen Sinnette Jennings and the Fats Waller musical “Ain’t Misbehavin,’” co-produced also with Greater Boston Stage.

The collaboration between the Porch and the Huntington will run deeper than just the exchange of physical resources and industry connections. The Porch leadership team, Simmons and Co-Producing Artistic Director Maurice Emmanuel Parent, and Education Director Pascale Florestal, will be integrated into the Huntington offices and staff to allow for an ongoing exchange of ideas and dialogue about a more inclusive Boston theater scene.

“The Porch and the Huntington share core values of artistic excellence and a commitment to Boston artists and audiences,” says Parent. “We are looking forward to using this opportunity with the Huntington to strengthen our connections to Boston’s Black community and continue to create opportunities for BIPOC artists.”