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arts and culture | gender & sexuality

FUNDAMENTALIST GROUP TRIES TO SILENCE SMALL THEATRE COMPANY

Monday, February 7, 2005, Grants Pass, OR - Connect the Dots Theatre
Company, a small community theatre organization, has been targeted in
recent days by a small group of local fundamentalists who are using
letters, phone calls and e-mails to harass the theatre company and attempt to
erode their financial support from local businesses.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: CTD Media Desk
@ CTD Business Office: 541 475-7434

FUNDAMENTALIST GROUP TRIES TO SILENCE SMALL THEATRE COMPANY

In the two years
of its existence, Connect the Dots (CTD) has offered the community a
full plate of theatrical productions, including popular musicals -
"Godspell," "Little Shop of Horrors,"
"The Fantastics," "Grease," and "Les Miserables" - dramas including
"Arsenic and Old Lace," children's shows including "Pinocchio," and five
cutting-edge community forums on discrimination and violence against
women. They have also presented "The Laramie Project" and "The Vagina
Monologues," two dramas that deal with the hard subjects of hate crimes
and the sexual abuse of women worldwide. Connect the Dots is producing
one performance of "The Vagina Monologues" on Saturday, February 12, as
a benefit for the Josephine County Women's Crisis Support Team, a local
shelter for battered women. The current harassment and threats are an
attempt by a small group to silence the voice of dramatic diversity and
to shut down a non-profit organization by scaring off its financial
supporters.

This is the second year that Connect the Dots and the Women's Crisis
Support Team have participated in the international observance of
"V-Day," which focuses attention on the many hidden instances of rape and
violence against women worldwide. Tickets for last year's CTD production
of "The Vagina Monologues" sold out in three days, and the hastily added
"donations-only" dress rehearsal was also sold out. Despite this
year's campaign against CTD by the small group of attackers, ticket sales
for the production in a new, larger venue are going well, with sold-out
status expected within a day or so.

However, the group of attackers has contacted local businesses with
threats targeting their own livelihoods, should they continue to give
financial support to Connect the Dots. The local City Council is even
considering ending their longstanding practice of handling sales of tickets
for non-profit organizations' events, as a result of the current
controversy. While the attacks have focused on "The Vagina Monologues," the
biggest concern at Connect the Dots is that the small company's tenuous
budget can suffer irreparable harm if the threats cause these valuable
contributors to withdraw their financial support.

"Callers have harassed [volunteers at] the Visitors Center and called
the members of the Chamber of Commerce Board because the Center is
selling tickets for the production," says James Pate, Executive Director of
CTD. "The attack was organized, taken off the shelf and implemented
the day tickets went on sale. This [attack] is aimed right where it
hurts most, our sponsors," Pate added.

CTD Board Chair Michele Kyle points out that most of the residents of
Grants Pass are not supporting the campaign against Connect the Dots.
"Connect the Dots has received many letters of praise for the quality
and relevancy of its productions." It is the "alarming level of hate"
that is part of the current campaign against CTD and "The Vagina
Monologues" that is a great cause for concern. "Their intent is to close us
down."

If the current hate campaign succeeds in shutting CTD down, the
community will lose not only the company's very popular theatrical
productions, but also the CTD mentorship and scholarship programs that have
benefited local youth who are interested in pursuing careers in theatre.
Connect the Dots is reaching out to the community and to "all people of
reason" to fight back against the campaign to silence the theatre
company. If you would like to learn more about Connect the Dots or to join in
the company's dedication to promote and present diversity in theatre,
visit their website at toconnectthedots.org or contact the company by
e-mail at  connectthis@toconnectthedots.org.

add a comment on this article

What a lot of small minds 08.Feb.2005 08:26

March Hare

These same people would through a huge snit if somebody treid to take away their freedom of religious expression. It's just another example of "right" wing hypocrasy.

who... 08.Feb.2005 09:24

bob

Is the "fundamentalist group"? Is it a chruch, a non proft, a political organization, a club--what exactly is it?

Yes, please identify who specifically is doing the harrassing 08.Feb.2005 09:54

--

thanks.

connect the dots 08.Feb.2005 21:03

karl roenfanz ( rosey ) k_rosey48@hotmail.com

must one of those non-christian groups, i can't see any honest christian behaving that way. the bible tells me that christ did not teach hate, but he did teach understanding!

(812) 422-7765
1306 john evansville ind 47714

love to return the favor 09.Feb.2005 18:24

robb

And express to this unnamed group how much I appreciate their narrowmindedness in a world that is obviously not filled with enough hatred and intolerance already. C'mon...give 'em up...

name of main organizer 11.Feb.2005 00:39

concerned dot lildotthatcould@yahoo.com

The name of the person organizing this campaign against CTD is Steve Raycraft. He works at the Business Loan Store in Medford. His partners do not care about his efforts against us and support him. The company web address is businessloanstore.com. Steve has proclaimed, "God will hunt you down whereever you may go!"

Steve is also the person responsible for organizing a campaign against CTD for staging "The Laramie Project" and bringing Judy Shepard to Grants Pass last year. Steve also came to a community forum (produced by CTD) on discrimination and created a scene. Steve is President of Right to Life for Jackson County. In the name of the Lord Steve does a lot of harm for our community and is attempting to shut our little theatre company down. He has spread lies against the company around town and contacted every one of our sponsors with propaganda.

Please help anyway you can.

add a comment on this article