UTC Theatre Company Partner Obvious Dad Reaches Fundraising Goal for 2022 Season

CHATTANOOGA (mocsnews.com)- Chattanooga theatre company Obvious Dad officially reached its fundraising target for the 2022 season, according to a recent social media release.

The theatre group, which premiered only last year, has raised well over $12,000 for the upcoming season through a mix of donations and event tickets. The fundraising process was launched weeks ago, beginning with the “Dad Gala” at the Cherry Street Tavern in March. 

  According to Company Manager Jessie Wright, the success of the Dad Gala speaks to the need to express creativity in theatre. 

“Having a fundraiser with money that’s not tied up to one specific person or sponsor really gives us the freedom to produce the theatre that we want and not feel stressed about funds,” Wright said. “Hopefully from what we get from this season, it will just continue to grow. That’s the long-term goal: just to keep going.”

The funds will go towards materials for the shows like costumes and paint, a process described on the Obvious Dad website as essential for building inclusivity and diversity in the area.

Obvious Dad Director of Development Katey Dailey said that the money is needed more than ever to continue serving the Chattanooga area into their second season. 

“Inflation rates are crazy right now. We’re finding that things are double as expensive as they were last season,” Dailey said. “This season we knew we were adding another show, we knew we needed funding. It’s all going towards the shows- going towards costumes, sets, lighting, mostly set pieces, and paint.”

 According to Dailey, show funds last year came directly out of pocket for the Obvious Dad founders. This season, the organization surpassed their goal by thousands within the month.

  Three shows will be presented this summer in partnership with the UTC Theater Company, ranging from contemporary pieces to tragedy. According to the mission statement, each show is about “keeping Chattanooga interesting” by creating “innovative, aesthetically driven theatre,” an important aspect for audiences and creators alike. This season, audience members can expect to see a lot of influence from the university. 

         The first show of the season, Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph, will be directed by UTC Professor Gaye Jeffers. Jeffers is also a director for the university’s theatre department, most recently having directed Molly Smith Metzler’s Cry It Out in February. 

Obvious Dad Artistic Director and UTC alumni Blake Harris will also be directing this season before returning to Maryland as Assistant Professor at Salisbury University. He will direct the season’s second and third shows, Brief Chronicle, Books 6-8, by Agnes Borinsky and Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen. 

         Students are also heavily involved with Obvious Dad, working throughout the summer to gain experiences and build their professional resumes during academic downtime. Wright said this year, they have dozens of students interested in volunteering for the shows by assistant directing, designing or stage managing.          

         Tickets for all three shows can be found on the Obvious Dad website, with Gruesome Playground Injuries premiering first at the Fine Arts Center. 

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