Become a Fan
Author Shelly Rachanow interviews Mary K. Redington, co-founder of Dramatic Adventure Theatre, a touring company that has helped kids from Zimbabwe to Ecuador give a voice to their (sometimes harrowing) experiences.
Mary K. Redington co-founded Dramatic Adventure Theatre less than a year after graduating from Concord University in May 2006 with a Regents Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts where she studied Public Relations and Theatre. While participating in the theatre program at Concord, Mary was an active member and later an officer in her schools chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, a National Honors Theatre Fraternity.
She helped her chapter with many community service projects including programs to help raise money for local charities such as victims of domestic violence, aids victims, and sexual assault awareness, as well as programs designed to promote appreciation for the visual and fine arts divisions at her university.
Since DAT's start in 2006, Mary has played a key role in the day-to-day operations as well as holding the position of Production Manager while acting and traveling through Zimbabwe during the workshop process for the original work, "Voices from Zimbabwe" in the summer of 2007 and again for "Flight 360", the first Ecuador Project, in the summer of 2008. She is currently planning/ producing ACTion:Ecuador 2009 – the emerging artist project.
I first met Mary just before she was leaving for Zimbabwe in 2007, and I was immediately impressed with her fearlessness, her commitment to making a difference, and her willingness to help the people in this world who need it most: Our children who often don’t have the voice or the power to speak for themselves. Though I’m more than a decade older than she is, I want to be like Mary when I grow up.
Dramatic Adventure Theatre’s mission is to provide the opportunity for artists to perform around the world, to explore the unknown and the familiar, and to become intimately involved with distant communities in order to build a platform where ideas, talent, and original works can be shared.
Shelly Rachanow: Mary, tell us more about Dramatic Adventure Theatre.
Mary K. Redington: DAT is a theatre company that ACTS!! I co-founded the company in 2006 with my now husband, Jesse Baxter. Long story short, we wanted to figure out a way to make touring theatre less, "Here's our play, bye" and more fulfilling for the audience and actors alike. We realized the missing component was community service.
We strive to empower artists, to be true -story tellers by devising new work, and to engage, making real honest human connection.
Shelly Rachanow: You've done amazing work, both here in the US and overseas. What are some places you've visited?
Mary K. Redington: Our first project was in Zimbabwe, and since then we've worked on three different projects in Ecuador. My husband and I have independently scouted Colombia, and we traveled throughout the United States speaking to colleges and universities and holding auditions. We've also had independent scouts in Australia, Germany and Jordan/ Egypt.
Shelly Rachanow: What kind of impact do you want Dramatic Adventure Theatre to make?
Mary K. Redington: I want DAT to get people thinking outside the box. As a theatre artist, you're trained to reach for two goals, Broadway and Film. We are a part of a movement of people looking at theatre in a new way. The nature of working as an artist creates a narcissistic character: They're MY new headshots, MY updated resume, MY agent, My audition, and it has to be this way. It's the way you survive as an artist. We want artists to have an opportunity to break that cycle, to be able to perform acts of community service and teach their art all over the world.
Shelly Rachanow: What are some of the biggest lessons you've learned in your travels?
Mary K. Redington: "There's no reason to worry, unless there's a reason to worry." This is our mantra. I don't always listen, but I strive to. As a business owner, and Executive Director, I'm in control of a lot of stuff. One of the biggest things I've learned is that I can't control everything (again, that doesn't stop me from trying). I can't have everything my way. If I did everything myself, my way, under my control, I wouldn't have the time or space to grow into who I want to be. I have to take things one day at a time, tackle issues as they arrive, and listen to other advice and ideas in order to really enjoy myself in the moment, whether I'm home, or abroad.
Shelly Rachanow: What advice do you have for people who want to make a difference in their communities or around the world?
Mary K. Redington: Think about the work you want to do and ask yourself, "Is there someone else doing this in my area?" If the answer is yes, ask yourself how you can support their work. Don't start a new highway clean up club if there is another one in place, you'll end up cleaning the same stretch of highway twice. Work to support good systems that are already in place, you'll clean up twice as much highway!
Secondly, if you have a new idea, go for it. I can't tell you how many times people say to me, "How are you going to do THAT?" when I tell them about the newest project. I don't know, I never know, I just figure it out. Take your guts out for a spin!
Shelly Rachanow: And last, the 'If Women Ran the World Blog' question for everyone - What would you do if you ran the world?
Mary K. Redington: If I ran the world, I would develop an intricate system of passionate leaders. I would choose to focus on Art and Arts Education – it is more of a priority than our leaders make it. I would create a world where everyone worked on something they were passionate about. This is not to say our current structures would fall, we still need our trash picked up and the windows on skyscrapers washed, but I would design a structure in which people who weren't fulfilled by their job would have time to focus on a passion, too.
Running my start up, young company is hard work. It's like having a four year old, I need to care for it all of the time, but it's because of my passion for the results I am able to work through the night and really rally when I need to. If everyone was allowed this kind of joy and satisfaction from their work, it's my opinion that the world would be a better place.
To learn more about Dramatic Adventure Theater, visit: