Get Rid of the Gala!: Reimagining Why and How Theaters Celebrate

Featuring Cynthia Flowers and Seonjae Kim, among others. Most nonprofits host an annual fundraising Gala, an event that seems to amplify every aspect of the field’s inequity: Attendance is overwhelmingly white and rich, and artists often perform for little or no money. This gathering seeks to reimagine the Gala and how it can reflect the shared values of everyone who makes the work on stage possible. 

October 28 @ 6:30 pm

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Seonjae Kim is a NYC based director and writer from Seoul, South Korea who received her BA at Northwestern University. She is the creator and director of Riot Antigone, an original Riot Grrrl musical adaptation of Sophocles’ tragedy that premiered at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in 2017. It will be published in a Routledge anthology of Greek adaptations as well as be released as an independent record later this year.  Her work has been seen at Princeton University, Atlantic Theatre Company, Joe’s Pub, Playwrights’ Realm, The Bushwick Starr, Dixon Place, Williamstown, PEN/World Voices Festival, Rattlestick Theatre Company, Theatre Mu, The New Ohio, Bryn Mawr College and University of the Arts among other places. She is the Associate director of the Broadway bound musical KPOP.

CYNTHIA FLOWERS is one of the three Co-Directors of Soho Rep and joined the company in 2012. Under her leadership, Soho Rep’s budget has grown from $910K to $1.9M, resulting in the increased artistic scope and number of the theater’s productions, greater compensation for artists, new community partnerships, and a larger staff. In response to the challenges faced by freelance theater makers during COVID-19, Soho Rep launched Project Number One inviting eight artists onto staff for the 2020/21 season. During Cynthia’s tenure, individual contributions increased 21 times over, net gala revenue increased by 170%, institutional support grew by 122%, and the size of the Board has doubled. Simultaneously, Soho Rep’s productions have enjoyed two direct transfers and plays that have premiered at the company have gone onto productions at theaters across the globe. Previously, Cynthia served as the Director of Development at Atlantic Theater Company and the Individual Giving Manager at Playwrights Horizons.

Bryan Joseph Lee (he/him) is a creative producer and arts manager dedicated to amplifying the stories of Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (QTBIPOC), and those at the intersections of multiple identities. Bryan investigates civic advocacy and cultural changemaking as Director of The Public Theater’s Public Forum. He is a 2018 Fellow of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at The University of Maryland, and was named a 2016 Rising Leader of Color by Theater Communications Group (TCG). As an arts marketer and audience development consultant, Bryan las led conversations on a local, national, and international scale, including recent projects in Australia, Egypt, and across the United States. He holds a degree in Latin American Studies and Theater from Dartmouth College.