Back to All Events

Civic Ensemble Rolls out New Monthly Community Gathering

Civic Ensemble Rolls out New Monthly Community Gathering


Storytelling Toward the Beloved Community

What: FREE Monthly Dinner and Story Circles to Connect and Build Community

When: First Mondays - 6pm-8:30pm

Monday, October 1

Monday, November 5

Monday, December 3

Where: Lehman Alternative Community School, 111 Chestnut Street, Ithaca

Contact: Sarah K. Chalmers  at 917.603.0621 or

ITHACA, NY - Civic Ensemble will be hosting a free monthly gathering on the First Monday of each month, beginning October 1, 2018 at the Lehman Alternative Community School, 111 Chestnut Street in Ithaca from 6pm-8:30pm. Titled Community Soup: Storytelling Toward the Beloved Community, the evening will consist of a free meal and time to chat informally, followed by structured story circles facilitated by Civic Ensemble artists.

“The idea for a regularly community sharing of stories has been brewing for some time,” noted Artistic Director Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr., “but we knew we had to do it when, this summer, at a post-show discussion for Bee Trapped Inside The Window, part of the new Civic Acts Festival, we asked participants to identify what themes spoke to them most from the play. Many of the groups who discussed this came up with isolation as a theme, and proposed community gathering and storytelling as an antidote to that isolation.”

Story circles are an integral part of Civic Ensemble’s playbuilding and program development processes but Artistic Director Sarah K. Chalmers shares that, “unlike many of our story circles, the goal of Community Soup is to simply connect with each other.” Chalmers continues, “We know that story circles reduce isolation, generate ideas, engage participants in problem-solving, bring people together who might not otherwise meet, and give people a sense of home and community.”

The Beloved Community refers to a global vision that all people should share in the wealth of the earth. Poverty and homelessness, racism and all forms of discrimination will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency won't allow it. Simmons concludes, “Community Soup ties together everything Civic Ensemble has been working toward, and brings our diverse constituents together to break bread and tell stories. Together we can define what our beloved community looks like, and what actions we need to take to make it a reality.”

Civic Ensemble is a non-profit theatre company serving Ithaca and Tompkins County that produces new plays by or about women and people of color, re-imaginings of classics, and community-based plays that explore and explode the social, political, and cultural issues of our time. Through the production of plays, after-school and in-school education programs for young people, and civic engagement programs with Ithaca community members, the company works to bring audiences of different races, classes, and experiences together in a public forum on the American experiment. Civic Ensemble is committed to employing Ithaca-based theatre artists whenever possible. It is our vision that theatre be accessible to all people, onstage and off. “Theatre is Everyone’s Birthright.”