The Experience of Creating Community

By Rachael Donnelly

A typical meal in my house is based largely around the produce that comes in my weekly farm share, and flavored with herbs from my backyard.  It is important to me to eat food that is local and in season, produced without chemicals and hormones, and that comes from nature, not a plastic bag or cardboard box.  In other words, “real food.”

A typical day at work for me is based largely around exchanging tickets for subscribers, working with volunteers, talking with donors, and planning events in which our theatre’s patrons can have a closer and more intimate involvement with the theatre. Most of our patrons and I know each other by name, and even more at least by face.  There have been more times than I can count when a patron has told me that it is so nice to talk to a “real person.”

I think there is a relationship between the two.  I want to know where my food comes from.  The experience of rinsing dirt out of food and preparing a meal both delicious and nourishing connects me to my body and my self, in a way that packaged food cannot. I’ve also discovered new foods and flavors that I would not without the surprises in my weekly farm box.

In the same way, I want to know the people who come to the theatre.  The experience of building relationships with theatre patrons creates a community in a way that social networking and reality TV cannot.  The Boston Theatre community has become my neighborhood.  My point of view has been expanded through the discussions fostered by the theatre experience.

The basic tenets of the Slow Food Movement are “Good, Clean, Fair.”  The theatre can be that too- Good theatre that is entertaining, engaging, and appealing; Clean theatre that speaks to essential truths and sparks questions; and Fair theatre that find a way to reach audiences diverse in age, culture, and wealth.

Rachael Donnelly is a member of Slow Food USA and is the Development and Front of House Associate at New Repertory Theatre, where she serves locally produced baked goods at Behind-the-Scenes Tours.


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