Wispact Foundation Grant Spotlight: Pink Umbrella Theater Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Actor Jack Allen, Pink Umbrella’s 2023 production of Kaleidoscope

Interview with Katie Cummings, Founder and Executive Director

Pink Umbrella Theater Company is the first professional theater company in Milwaukee to focus on amplifying the voices of actors and artists who identify with a disability. To accomplish their mission, Pink Umbrella holds classes and produces public performances while partnering with schools and community organizations to share accessible theater.

The Wispact is proud have provided Pink Umbrella with a grant to support their classes and subsidize ticket prices to help make their performances more accessible. “Many of the people that we work with have financial barriers and we want to make sure that all people who identifiy with a disability are able to be part of Pink Umbrella,” said Katie Cummings, Founder and Executive Director.

More than just a performing arts venue, Pink Umbrella is unique because it not only supports students with disabilities but about 1/3 of their staff identifies as disabled. “One of our assistant teachers, who’s 36, received her first paycheck ever from Pink Umbrella. She’s been trying to get jobs since she was 18, but people wouldn’t hire her because her disability is visible. Society tends to make assumptions that she is not capable, but we know that she is a valuable member of our team. She doesn’t look like she is capable, now she’s a valuable part of our team,” Cummings said.

With their comprehensive dedication to support staff and actors, Pink Umbrella is providing a creative outlet for many who would have no other place to turn to. “Theater is a hard business to get into and when some parents call, they almost seem desperate to find a way to help their child get into acting and for many it comes down to cost. With our Wispact Grant we’re able to offer reduced fees for classes and if needed, provide further support through our scholarship fund,” Cummings added.

In conclusion, Cummings said, “Without Wispact’s grant, we would probably need to cut back on the amount of programs we offer and cut back on the one to one coaching, which is really vital, especially for our younger students. I appreciate the fact that Wispact sees us for who we are. We are a smaller arts organization that makes a big impact.”

To learn more about Pink Umbrella Theater Co., please visit pinkumbrellatheater.org.