At the age of personal computers, the Internet, cell phones, video games, and I-pods, how can individuals be enticed to emerge from their electronic silos and actually engage others in meaningful discourse as members of a community with common interests and problems? One organizational response to this challenge is the activities of community-based organizations. Such organizations are widely recognized for their ability to promote and facilitate creative face-to-face human interactions that serve as a counterweight to the forces of individuation and declining trust in public institutions, while playing a niche role in the process of building and sustaining community solidarity.

Through an in-depth examination of one organization that strives to build community through face-to-face interaction—Live Arts community theatre in Charlottesville, Virginia—the authors discuss what they believe to be critical concerns of the nonprofit sector at large. In particular, they examine how Live Arts seeks to preserve and balance its mission of achieving artistic excellence that challenges and engages the community, the need for financial sustainability, and more efficient production and management systems.

Original Citation

Balfour, D., & Ramanath, R. (2011). Forging Theatre and Community: Challenges and Strategies for Serving Two Missions. Public Voices, XII(1), 46–66.

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