In February of 2016 "Raisins in a Glass of Milk" premiered as a one-act play based on interviews done with Theatre Makers of Color completely produced by a small group of determined students. After the success and impact of the first production, The Raisins Team was asked to produce the show again for Cornish College’s professional summer production program housed at The Alhadeff Studio in August of 2016. After that run, we revitalized the script with new stories from Theater Makers of Color and produced the show in Seattle at 18th and Union in January of 2017 and in July of that year in Ft. Lauderdale for a weekend of sold-out shows.
In 2018, it became clear to us that the work of Raisins not only goes beyond exclusively theater-makers but also is never ending and always evolving. This is how RAISINS came to be.
RAISINS is an annual series based on 20-30 fresh interviews done with Artists of Color from any and all disciplines. We get to talk to some incredible people and hear their thoughts on art, race, and ultimately, humanity. We ask “What does it mean to be an Artist of Color?” and “How does your race affect the way you make art?” and “How do you navigate white supremacy while staying true to the artist in you?”
With this new mission at the forefront, we started the process from scratch. We created an entirely new script out of brand new interviews with artists from many different disciplines. Ranging from Burlesque to Writing from Fashion Design to painting, we conducted 25 personal, candid, and anonymous interviews. After an intense writing and re-writing sessions, "Raisins 2019" was produced with Live Girls! Theater Company in February of 2019 at Taproot Theater's Issac Studio. After a nearly completely sold-out run, we finished off our 2019 season by growing our organization further and obtaining fiscal sponsorship under Shunpike. We were more than ready for 2020.
In preparation for RAISINS 2020, The Raisins Team conducted 25 new interviews with established artists, cast a group of six inspiring and dedicated multi-disciplined actors, wrote (and re-wrote) a powerful and raw script, and solidified a place in ACT’s prestigious ActLab program. The show was due to run in early March of 2020. As we were about to go into our tech week when we decided to cancel Raisins in a Glass of Milk 2020 in an effort to protect our team and audiences against Covid-19. While the show did not go on, we turned to social media and created a mini-series called “Raisins: Interrupted” and offered any followers and potential audience members a chance to read the script in exchange for a donation of any size.
We understand that the idea of live theater has to be completely reinvented during these unprecedented times. The Raisins Team vows to be a part of this new age. Society has always and will always need stories from people of all walks of life, not just from a one-sided, often hurtful, white perspective. This has always been at the core of Raisins in a Glass of Milk and we promise to keep this work alive. See you in 2021.
Maya Burton is an actor, writer, producer, and arts theater educator from sunny South Florida. After earning her BFA from Cornish College of the Arts she worked with many different theater companies in and around Seattle, Washington. Some companies include Taproot Theatre Co., Washington Ensemble Theater, Seattle Shakespeare Co, The 5th Avenue Theater and her favorite by far, Off Road Shakespeare Co. While not performing on stage she is teaching the magic of theater to the next generation. Maya is currently the Director of Education & Community Engagement and resident teaching artist at Renegade Theatre Company and Conservatory in Lauderhill, Florida.
In her own words: "Raisins is a love letter to my community. It's a space for us to fully bask in the glow of our truth. Without editing, without whitewashing, without fear."
Lexi Chipman is a Southern California native, who graduated from the Cornish College of the Arts Theater Department in 2016. Since graduating she has performed with Seattle Shakespeare Company, Off Road Shakespeare Company, The Williams Project, Island Shakespeare Company, Theater22, and more. She is also a teaching artist who has worked with advanced high school students at Storybook Theater in Cottage Grove, Oregon and The Center for Creative Youth used at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Lexi is currently a theatre artist and freelance writer working out of Los Angeles, California.
From Lexi: “To every person interviewed during our process, thank you for your words, your hearts, and your trust in us to share them with the world. For all the raisins out there, you are seen and you are loved."