Fostering Belonging Through Community Theater — Episode 156


By Christina High and Cort Jones | Posted on July 9, 2024

Ep156 410

Happy Park and Recreation Month! On today’s episode, we’re excited to bring you a story that truly embodies this year’s theme of “Where You Belong.” Each year, the NRPA team hosts a cover contest to find a cover photo and story for the July issue of Parks & Recreation magazine that supports the year’s theme, and this year’s winner is a gem.

Today we’re joined by the winner, Rachel Kohler, a recreation coordinator for cultural arts and community engagement for The Majestic Theatre, part of Corvallis Parks & Recreation in Oregon. If you haven’t read the story in the July issue yet, it’s a wonderful piece that shares how community theater is fostering inclusion and belonging among its staff and participants. It’s truly a testament to the power of intergenerational programming, bringing folx together with diverse identities and how we can all learn something from someone else, regardless of our differences.

Tune in to the full conversation below to learn more about Rachel and why this story of The Majestic Theatre’s production of “The Tempest” embodies the power of belonging — and why parks and recreation can be such an important catalyst for continuing to build belonging in communities. You’ll also learn:

  • How The Majestic Theatre approached its audition announcement to bring in people from diverse backgrounds, experiences and identities
  • How staff ensured everyone felt safe, welcome and included throughout the production
  • Why community theater is such a powerful way to build belonging and diversify an agency’s offerings
  • What challenges arose during the production and how the team and cast navigated them
  • Why this work is so meaningful to Rachel, and much more!

Listen to the episode for the full story.

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If you enjoyed this episode or learned something that might help you make a positive impact in your community, please consider donating to NRPA to not only support our storytelling efforts, but also our mission to advance parks, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all at nrpa.org/donate.