How do you spark change? Art has the capacity to change lives and contribute to deep, intergenerational shifts in perspective. At a time when more and more artists and arts institutions are folding, now is the time to invest in the arts!
Despite the setbacks of the last year and the diminished income (more than $200,000 lost in revenue from the previous year), the Dragon decided to focus on what was possible and employed and compensated over 200 artists for their work, pivoting to a virtual format to keep the art moving forward. At a time when many arts organizations were minimizing their work, stripping their programing, and laying off artists (over 50% of which remain unemployed), we added programs and shifted to an economic model to guarantee payments to artists plus additional revenue shares so that artists could continue to have a livelihood and an artistic outlet.
Yet, we too continue to feel the impacts of the pandemic on top of an ever-changing artistic infrastructure, and we too continue to grapple with the costs of creating and presenting quality work.
Our Spark Change campaign aims to bring the Dragon vital resources so that artists can continue creating and thriving in the Bay Area and beyond. We are launching this new fundraising effort to ensure we are still a hub for imaginative storytelling and artistic support in 2022. In the coming year we want to accelerate our creative responsibility and influence civic discourse, to heal, educate and inspire communities throughout the region. As we look to a new future of hope and promise, one thing is clear: creativity can never be extinguished.
We aim to raise $150,000 in donations by the end of 2021. These vital funds will prioritize people by paying artists and our staff, maintaining ongoing programming, and devising new artistic opportunities. As one part of this fundraising initiative, we are launching “Friends of the Dragon” as a way to create an opportunity for ongoing support. Those that sign up for monthly tax-deductible donations, at any amount, enjoy priority access to our complimentary programs, along with notable mention in all of our giving materials.
By donating to the Dragon, you’re not only funding our mission; you’re touching the lives of hundreds of individual artists, and allowing them to continue working by making and exploring the ways in which art can shape our culture. On top of that, many hundreds more whose lives are enriched by the work of our artists will benefit from your gift. The Dragon is proud to be a vital, creative force in the Silicon Valley, and we thank you for your past generosity and continued support!
Donating to the Dragon means that you are actively contributing to keeping arts alive in the Bay Area. Donate today and spark change in your community!
Help us set the Dragon’s fire alight by reaching our goal of $150,000!
We’re up to $47,862 so far!
( The 2021 CARES Act (federal COVID-19 relief bill) extends a universal charitable giving incentive for contributions made to registered nonprofits. This provision allows nonitemizing taxpayers to deduct up to $300 per individual and $600 per couple in charitable contributions from their 2021 tax returns for gifts made by December 31, 2021.)
Spark Change with a Single Donation
Only able to give one time? No problem! Every little bit helps, and we greatly appreciate your support!
"When I founded Dragon Productions Theatre Company in 2000, my intention was to provide safe and inclusive opportunities for extraordinary quality story-telling. I wanted to effect people's lives with these stories & help to create more empathy as we shared the wildly different lives of others.
Following my retirement at the end of 2018, so much has happened in this county, and the world, worthy of advanced empathy and an even greater need for what the arts can offer. I feel that Alika & Max have navigated this ever-changing terrain for continued collaborations, inclusivity, and original story-telling that Dragon does so well. Dragon has the ability to touch so many lives in a singular way. What they provide for artists and the community is unlike any other arts organization on the Peninsula.
All live theatre has struggled through these unprecedented times, but the staff at Dragon has worked tirelessly to find new ways to allow for artists to share their hearts, and their talent with the community. They have even provided many forums for artists and the community to come together and help each other through the uncertainty until we can all sit in a theatre together.
There is no limit to how far Dragon could go as the Dragon family grows, and their work touches more and more people. This community needs what Dragon has to offer now more than ever!"
"The work of Dragon sparks me to re-think; it challenges me look at many points of view. After each performance, I always come away thinking, 'hmmm, I did not think of that before,' or I appreciate a performance I did not think I would understand. Dragon works to humanize us all and, in my case, it succeeds.
Dragon Productions Theatre is a community-builder. It offers a platform and opportunities to artists to explore what it is to be human – the basis of theater from the beginning of time – and works to engage all community-segments together through story-telling that reflects humanity."
"When I think of the intimate space of the Dragon nestled in the lively thoroughfare of downtown Redwood City, I feel an immediate sense of warmth. For I know when I enter the doors of the lobby, I’ll not only see the beautiful history of shows gone by on their poster-lined walls, but I will be moved as an audience member by the innovative and thought-provoking work they produce on their intimate stage. As a fellow Bay Area arts leader and Theatre Arts educator, I have come to know the creative minds at the Dragon to be dedicated in creating accessible, inclusive, and meaningful theatre experiences for both patron and artist alike. Continued education for adults, new works, classics retold, circus arts… you name it, Dragon is doing it and doing it well! I am continually impressed with Dragon Production’s ability to pivot and adapt in providing our community with quality programming and educational opportunities, despite the challenging circumstances we are all in. It is times of trouble that the arts fill our soul more than ever. Dragon is not just a theatre, but a haven for the Mid-Peninsula community. I hope you will join me in continuing to support this vital arts organization that is making such a positive impact!"
"The Dragon has long been an innovator and leader in holding space for emerging and/or marginalized artists to produce their passion projects, giving them a platform—a literal stage—on which to share their work. In recent years, they've expanded that focus even further to build community across industries and artistic disciplines, and reaching through the "fourth wall" itself as they create an extensive series of free, accessible events for EVERYONE to join.
Throughout my experience with Dragon as both an artist of color and a patron, I've always appreciated that they've given voice to those on the edges of the mainstream—by prioritizing calculated risk, zeroing-in on lesser-known works, and generously providing directing/producing opportunities to emerging artists. As a fellow arts administrator at another Bay Area theatre, I deeply value and admire the Dragon's outspoken advocacy and activism toward equity and diversity across the playing field. Their commitment includes racial and socioeconomic equity, and goes far beyond it to not only encompass, but celebrate, artists and disciplines that are often sidelined. They intentionally bring together seemingly disparate disciplines to give them a second home where everyone is empowered to build TOGETHER.
So, perhaps the answer is less about how *I* spark change with the Dragon, but more about how the DRAGON sparks change in ME. The Dragon's commitment to the hard-but-vital work of community-building, equitable access, and diverse programming lights a fire within me, and fuels the flame of my own work in creating meaningful access rooted in community for ALL. I'm proud to be a friend and ally of the Dragon."
"I enjoy all things theater and so when the Dragon Theatre found it's home in Downtown Redwood City, I was thrilled. I have been supportive and determined to help make it a success and l look forward to having it be an important hub and an integral part of this community.
Very few little cities have the privilege of having a theater company right in their community. The doors of the Dragon are open (when there is no pandemic) to all with a variety of venues that entertain as well as classes to suit all ages and interests."
"Working with the Dragon gives me the opportunity to do all of the theatre things I love: collaborate, devise, mentor, act, direct, produce, dramaturgy, and be creative. And there is no better way to do that, without an organized, supportive, and passionate organization, and group of human beings, that understand the business, the entertainment, and the business of entertainment.
At the Dragon, the love for theatre, the love for artists and the support for giving LGBTQ and BIPOC artists a platform to tell their stories through many disciplines, including playwrighting, acting and dance is very special."
"Change starts with courage and empathy: courage to look at yourself or look at the world and recognize it and/or you are not all you could be and that a change is necessary; it takes courage to say to yourself I can be better, we need to be better.
But changes also requires empathy to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, imagining their struggles, their drive, their fears, their joys and recognizing their worth whether they are of different skin color, culture, gender, sexual orientation, identity, or beliefs.
Recognizing the value and worth of a diverse society and holding up a mirror to the community, through storytelling, so that we can Spark Change and continue to strive for our best selves: this is what the Dragon does, and this is what the creative team at Dragon helps me achieve as an actor and as a person.
Collaborating at the Dragon is like coming home to family. It is a nest of creativity where actors and writers and musicians and acrobats and fighters and slam poets and artists of any denomination come together and are called to raise the bar of their craft and elevate the social well-being of the community. For me it is a place to challenge myself artistically and a place to give voice to stories of courage and empathy.
The exposure to such a multi-faceted cohort of artistic souls weaving in and out of the Dragon’s doors makes this theatre space a truly relevant and powerful instrument for positive change in the Bay Area theatre scene."
"My work with the Dragon literally demands change: in the Dragon Experience Design Lab we are engaged in developing new ways of providing theatrical experiences in the age of the smartphone, and this requires a great deal of change in how we imagine both product and process as compared to the standards we’ve inherited from the 20th century. With new tools comes new possibilities, and we’re here to be leaders as theatre evolves to fit our new paradigm where many in our audience have immediate access to powerful handheld computers. On top of that, I see theatre - and specifically, theatre at the Dragon- as a fantastic means to creating effective social change by generating new work about and of this pivotal moment in human history which incorporates as much variety in background and experience as we can foster within our means. Donations to this campaign directly enable our ability to make those opportunities happen."
"A few of us circus folks reached out across the digital distance and pulled together with the help of Max and Alika and the Dragon Theater. We put on the first (that I’d seen) virtual circus show, from our homes, and from the Dragon itself. The empty theater became a refuge and Max and Alika were lighthouse keepers shining out the beacon that kept us on course. And, the spark kept growing! It became brighter and sparklyer! We made more shows; we dug deep to find comedy and beauty and meaning during the weirdest of times. We made art for the world, for each other, and for ourselves. The Dragon became our virtual stage, our virtual home, with Max and Alika the very real humans behind it.
The Spark is real. Every real artist knows this, even if they haven’t had their “I’m a real artist!” moment yet. They feel it, and they feed it and sometimes it feeds them. The Spark made by all the artists of the Dragon Theater circus crew kept us all lit and burning when the art world felt dark. The Spark is Art, and it lives at the Dragon."
"For over a year now, I have been teaching classes and directing productions on Zoom with Redwood City Youth Theatre (RWCYT), the education wing of Dragon Theatre. While theatre buildings have been closed, RWCYT has kept the arts alive by bringing theatre directly to our students, giving toddlers, high schoolers, and everyone in between the opportunity to develop artistic skills, connect with other students, and express themselves creatively.
In times of great uncertainty, we look to the arts for comfort, purpose, and meaning. I know that theatre education can transform lives, and I'm so grateful to Dragon for providing an artistic home, through this pandemic and beyond, for theatre professionals and for our students. They are a treasured and integral part of the Bay Area theatre community."
"Working with the Dragon has been a huge gift to my artistic career. We’ve been able to put on such a variety of shows - from well known crowd pleasers such as the Nutcracker - to the strange, avante garde, and sometimes macabre. We’ve been given the freedom to create what inspires us and the support to see it through, put it on stage in front of an audience, and broaden people’s perspectives on what circus arts can be. The Dragon gives artists the space to freely explore all aspects of their creativity, and in turn the audiences get to experience circus, art, and life in new, mind-expanding ways. Without the Dragon, the world would be dimmer, more mundane, and less vivacious. Our community deserves to have a welcoming space where they can experience and engage with a full range of artistic modalities and expressions - and the Dragon gives us just that!"
"When I moved back to the bay area from Southern California about 6 years ago I felt like I would never produce another circus show again. It seemed like every venue was fully booked and every performer was already a part of a troupe. So I practiced aerial dance when and where I could and quieted the flow of various ideas for shows. With my mixed classical and contemporary background, my ideas can sometimes be a bit odd, and at times macabre. I needed someone, a place, to be brave enough to let me spill my emotions out on their stage. Somehow, one day, I met Max and Alika who let me participate in a run of a play as an aerialist. From there, we started brainstorming and coming up with new and interesting ways of taking classical stories and adding unexpected modern twists to them. Each production got better and better. The dragon became not only an amazing place to watch live theatre, but also circus and dance. This wonderful place has become quite literally like a second home to me. The experiences and community it has brought together to create and witness live art is immeasurable. I can only say that I feel endlessly lucky to be a part of the dragon family and be surrounded by such loving and supportive humans."