Alaska Grantee Gives Artistic Voice to People in the Margins

Grantee: Revive the Red Tent Productions

Project: “As Sure As God Made Little Green Apples”

Location: Fairbanks, Alaska

Grant amount: $2,000

Purpose: Highlighting and celebrating the stories of the lesbian community in Fairbanks

Revive the Red Tent Productions (RTRT) is a small performing arts group dedicated to “the creation of art which gives voice to those who otherwise would not have one.” They seek not only to entertain the community, but to “nurture growth and dialogue” through their artistic undertakings.

Last year, noticing that the stories of Fairbanks’s LGBTQ community were not being represented in local theatre productions, RTRT President Anna Gagne-Hawes and fellow cast member Fiona Zachel embarked upon a project to record and transcribe the stories of lesbians coming out and coming of age in Fairbanks and to turn those stories into a performance of movement and dialogue. Their grant from Pride Foundation enabled them to rehearse and perform in the Empress Theater, where the 45-minute show was attended by approximately 92 people over three days.

Unexpected Victories:

Every show was followed up by a “talk back,” where Anna and Fiona invited the audience to share thoughts and feedback about the production and stories shared and it became very clear during these discussions that the community was interested and invested in seeing more from RTRT. It helped them to identify a more diverse group of women who were more ready and willing to share their stories now that they understood the project’s intention.

“We got to connect to an age group—over 30—that had eluded us through the initial production and begin to build bridges there,” Anna said. “We got great feedback from both the Fairbanks community and specifically the LGBTQ community, and there seemed to be general excitement about us expanding this project and making it longer and more complex.”

What’s Next for RTRT?

Here are some highlights:

  • November – a holiday-themed two-woman improve show
  • January – a movement project about fear
  • April –  A production of Naomi Wallace’s “One Flea Spare”
  • Next Summer – a collaboration with Fairbanks Youth Advocates to do a play about youth homelessness in conjunction with the opening of a new youth shelter
  • Following Season – Revisiting “As Sure As God Made Little Green Apples,” and making it a longer and more complex piece.

To stay up-to-date with RTRT visit their Facebook page.

If you missed a chance to see “As Sure As God Made Little Green Apples” and don’t want to wait another year, you can get a little taste of the show at the upcoming benefit for Pride Foundation in Fairbanks, Saturday, August 11, 4:00-6:30 PM. For directions and more information, visit the Facebook event page  or email Tiffany:

Tiffany is Pride Foundation’s Regional Development Organizer in Alaska. Email Tiffany.

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