Inclusion, Opportunity, collaboration, Community
The United We Stand Players of New Ulm and Aktion Club Theatre of Mankato performing "The Other Side"- February 2015
1.The Benefits of Inclusive Theatre for People of All Abilities and Ages
Inclusive theatre for all provides people the opportunity to discover their gifts and talents in an environment of safety and compassion. You see this demonstrated in the productions people participate in and the confidence they exude as they find success in completion of a performance. In 2016, a graduate level class at MSU, Mankato completed a thorough evaluation of Aktion Club Theatre of Mankato. Here is the link to the condensed evaluation.
“Aktion Club Theatre is an awesome group to join if you enjoy helping other people in the community, putting on plays, and you want to try new things that you might not have the chance to do otherwise.”
— Aktion Club Theatre Participant
2. The Poet's Club
The Aktion Club Theatre Poet's Club has been a successful collaboration between the theatre group and LitReach (formerly known as Good Thunder Reading Series Community Outreach Program) at Minnesota State University, Mankato. The Poet's Club with assistance from MFA Creative Writing Students has produced three chapbooks of poetry, written and read poetry in two plays and has participated in two public readings. In 2017, Aktion Club Theatre was able to read their poetry at an event called, "An Evening with Juan Felipe Herrera and the Poet's of Aktion Club". The event held at MSU had over 300 people who attended. It was a delightful evening with Mr. Herrera, the 21st Poet Laureate of the USA. Mr. Herrera returned to Mankato in August of 2018 to perform in Aktion Club Theatre's Play, "Circus Metamorphosis".
This is the power of collaboration and community!
3. The Beauty and Benefit of Community Collaboration
One of beautiful expressions of community is our opportunity to work with each other through collaboration. Collaboration offers organizations the opportunity to share the best of who they are and to shine as a result. Aktion Club Theatre is one of the organizations in which collaboration has been successful. Aktion Clubs are a service leadership program of Kiwanis International. Aktion Clubs were organized in the late 1980's to provide people with disabilities an opportunity to participate in service projects in their community and to develop leadership skills. In 2006, the Kiwanis Club of Mankato wanted to start an Aktion Club. At that time there was a great need for a theatre group for people living with disabilities who wanted to have a theatrical experience but did not have the chance to do this. From this idea and the subsequent need, along with working with Arc Southwest as the host agency, Aktion Club Theatre was born. There are now two Aktion Club Theatre groups in Southwestern Minnesota. Aktion Club Theatre of Mankato continues to successfully collaborate with the Kiwanis Club of Mankato, Open Arts Minnesota, The Arc Minnesota Southwest Region, Minnesota State University, Mankato's LitReach Program, the Access Program of ISD #77, and Centenary United Methodist Church.
4. A Legacy Gift
Open Arts Minnesota on behalf of Aktion Club Theatre of Mankato received a generous and beautiful donation from the Mankato Area Foundation/Kristine Lindvall Donor Advised Fund in early June of 2019. Kris was a teacher at Mankato West HS and passed away in 2015. Before Kris passed away, she worked with Nancy Zallek and the Mankato Area Foundation to develop a donor advised fund. This legacy from Kris will benefit groups of all kinds for years to come. Kris’ nephews, Jake and Sam worked with the Mankato Area Foundation and Patti Kramlinger to look at all kinds of possibilities for a first donation from the fund. How beautiful and meaningful that Aktion Club Theatre of Mankato was chosen. They will use this donation to purchase some much needed sound equipment and a keyboard. The donation will also benefit the capacity building of this group through enhanced acting education and musicianship. From all of us at Open Arts Minnesota and Aktion Club Theatre of Mankato we want to express our gratitude for this legacy gift.