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Who is Catalyst Arts Atlanta?

Catalyst Arts Atlanta recently evolved from Grassroots Theatre Company after developing a new mission focused around social and civic engagement through the art-making process. Early on a Sunday morning, but not too early of course, eight Atlanta theatre artists gathered around a large table at a local coffee establishment. We spoke from the heart about what we loved about theatre specifically and the arts more generally. Words like “challenging” and “disruptive” passed from our lips. Maybe it was the caffeine talking, but as one member articulated so beautifully,

“I want theatre to ask the scary questions.”

Without a hint of trepidation, however, we rolled on. Waxing philosophical, the conversation turned to non-traditional storytelling, infusing theatre with other media, and utilizing the arts to address local issues and problems. What a bunch of idealists!

Exactly. “We want to do theatre that matters,” we decried.

Wonderful. Now what?

Fast forward.

A month later, our ambitions got the best of us, and the mission for Catalyst Arts Atlanta emerged.

Catalyst develops artistic works that incite moments of discovery, community dialogue, and collective action.

Our vision is to:

  • create provocative theatrical productions that both challenge and connect audiences

  • build relationships with other theatrical, performative, or artistic entities

  • provide opportunities for show-specific outreach, directly impacting human lives in the Atlanta community

  • opens up a safe space for artists and audiences, exploring stories that are at once familiar and strange

Naomi Wallace’s The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek will be the first show to foster Catalyst’s mission as it raises awareness around unemployment and the needs of low income families. This provocative story about a sixteen year old boy accused of murder confronts its audience with the query: How far can we go on our own? Whose hands do we allow to pull us up? Scary questions indeed.

Juxtaposing the past and the present, inhabiting spaces between the mind and the body, intertwining the real and the imaginary, Wallace’s work challenges our very notions of storytelling. It forces us to question not just what we know, but how we know it. As much as The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek shifts our collective lens, it equally encourages us to refocus, discovering new ways of connecting with each other and our communities.

Therefore, for this production we have asked for community support and encouraged the collective at large to support the community. Catalyst will be partnering with Wholesome Wave Ga and donating 10% of all ticket sales to their mission. Additionally, C4 Atlanta is now our fiscal sponsor for all donations, the Downtown Players Club is hosting our first fundraiser, and The Arts Exchange will be our location for The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek.

Catalyst values the Atlanta artistic community and the direct connection that art can have in raising awareness around social and civic change. The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek is a starting point for Catalyst Arts Atlanta and we hope that the Atlanta community will find our vision as important as we do.

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