It is my great pleasure to announce that i am now the Communications Director for an essential theater company, Ragged Wing Ensemble, which has established a flourishing creative community in Downtown Oakland, called The Flight Deck, that is home to several other theater companies and organizations. The Flight Deck is also home to Association Building Community, for instance, which continues to offer my Peace Practices curriculum in the heart of Oakland and in schools and professional environments around the SF Bay Area.
I call this creative community "essential" because their continued existence and work is a success story that can inspire anyone. They ignore the odds against them, and rely on creativity and solidarity to make the everyday world a more humane and generous place to live together. Any theater, all theater has unique potential to work this way in the world, but these people continually bring the potential of theater to life, and I'm in love with them, so please allow me to gush for a moment.
Someday, the powerful and rising alike will agree that the Ragged Wing - Flight Deck community has moved from hopeful experiment to institution, a jewel in Oakland's crown, like Chicago's Goodman, Houston's Alley, or the Dallas Theater Center. That transition to sustainability could happen something like this: more and more people from around the Bay Area open their hearts, wallets, and networks to Executive Diretor, Anna Shneiderman, and Artistic Director, Amy Sass, to ensure that the throngs who already launch their creative work at the Flight Deck will continue to do so. So many more people of every age, level of capability, and from every possible background and orientation will benefit from working with or near this innovative company. For many, they will find here the very first opportunity to unfurl their ragged wings, initiating creative and sympathetic explorations of human dilemmas and being. The companies at the Flight Deck do the impossible but essential work of waking us all to the world and skins we live in; and they do on a tiny and always tenuous budget. You know the story, and how it usually ends.
The next chapter in this story must be Lift Off. We are due for a cultural renaissance, a developmental transformation, a next step into flight, rising up from the deck of organizational birth, wings shaken dry in the sun so that everyone around can point to and participate in beauty nearby, local and mature artistry, name and proudly claim admirable friends, and invest time and treasure in building a city and people ready to be known for rising up and taking wing.
Ragged Wing Ensemble is proud to welcome to The Flight Deck a new Communications Director, Brandon Williamscraig. In 2015, he brought his Peace Practices project and non-pofit, Association Building Community, to live at The Flight Deck, and has stepped into the rather difficult to fill shoes of Lisa Drostova, who will continue to be a beloved part of our creative community. Brandon brings a twenty year career in the professional regional theater, a Ph.D. in psychology and mythology, many years of leadership, communications, and development work in the nonprofit sector, as well as an internationally recognized, all-ages communication curriculum, called Peace Practices, that teaches children and adults Conflict Done Well through aikido, improvisation, and facilitation. Please welcome and help him spread the good word about our work together!