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Arts Insider Q&A with Gabrielle Kurlander

Arts Insider Q&A with Gabrielle Kurlander

Categories: Media & Blog, news

TACA Arts Insider

What made you want to start the Performance Lab at the All Stars Project?

Performance is a great passion of my life and has been since I was a child. I’m a true believer in the magical capacity of performance to change hearts and minds, to enable people to see the other, to embrace new ideas, to experience the world differently. It is nothing less than a life force. I created the Performance Lab to drive that force.

During my tenure as CEO of the All Stars Project from 1990 to 2023, I led the organization in building transformative afterschool development programs for youth from poor and underserved communities. We used performance to unlock and grow their power to create their lives. This continues to be at the heart of All Stars’ work and the Lab is a platform where our work on creativity and performing on stage – and in life – can be deepened and expanded.

The Lab also provides artistic and financial support to diverse theatres and performing arts groups that are incubators of cultural vitality, something all communities need to thrive.

What is your experience with directing and what makes you excited about This time at Undermain Theatre?

Plays aren’t static and they can be reimagined and transformed each time they are produced. But there is something special about directing a new play, one that’s never been produced before, as is the case with “This time.”

The playwright, Brian Dang, has created a queer love story in the context of a poetic, non-linear narrative with three characters who are trapped – physically, psychologically and in time. You will have to come see the show to find out more! Brian is very talented, and we have worked very closely together, they have given me a great deal of license to “play” with the play. The creative team at Undermain Theatre and the cast all bring such amazing energy, at times (no pun intended!) I’ve had to run to keep up.

This time is a play that isn’t constrained by reality, and that’s an extraordinary gift for a director, because it means that I’m not constrained. Audiences will experience new perspectives without limits as they accompany the characters on a journey where they face their multifaceted limitations and overcome them.

What do you value most about serving on the TACA board and why should others support TACA?

As a performer, director and producer myself, there is nothing better than serving on the Board of an organization that loves, appreciates and provides for the arts.

TACA has a sophisticated and inclusive culture, which means that philanthropic support is distributed across a wide range of arts organizations and disciplines representing diverse communities in Dallas. TACA recognizes the value of a full spectrum of the arts, from the classical to the avant-garde. TACA is not just a funder, we’re a finder, we find and fund the most wide-ranging and meaningful artistic work in Dallas. So, help us grow!

As President and CEO of the All Stars Project (ASP) for over 30 years, Ms. Kurlander transformed it from a grassroots all-volunteer effort into a new national model for engaging poverty through afterschool development and community organizing. She started the Performance Lab at the All Stars Project because of her belief in the transformative power of performance to change hearts and minds.  She currently serves on the Board of Directors at TACA.