Participation in that group began to dwindle and, by the third meeting, only four women showed up — Rachel May, Hope Mirlis, Julie Oshins, and Michele Pearce. Michele held aloft a sign with a large word on it: “Synchronicity.” The quartet agreed to proceed and a theater company was born.
“Synchronicity,” defined as “a meaningful coincidence,” stuck.
“Performance Group,” which spoke to our collaborative natures, was added.
Later on, our tagline, and mantra, became “Smart. Gutsy. Bold. Theatre.”
Synchronicity was founded officially in 1997. We became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2000, and swapped “Performance Group” for “Theatre” in 2011.
Our first project, entitled The Crime and Punishment Project, was presented on April 1, 1996 at 7 Stages Theatre. A rag-tag group of artists – actors, designers, visual artists, a photographer and a sculptor – adapted the mammoth novel into a workshop performance. Our mission on the one-page show flyer was “Synchronicity Performance Group is an ensemble devoted to creating and interpreting new and exciting performance through the collaboration of artists working in different mediums.”
Our first full production again tackled a classic – as we did a fresh adaptation of The Feigned Courtesans, a 1679 comedy by English playwright Aphra Behn, in which young women outwit their male guardians. We staged it in the fall of 1997 at Emory University, in the Black Rose, their reconstructed restoration theater.
Our mission and vision grew, and we produced one show per year for our first three years. In March 2000 we received our nonprofit status, and began to produce full seasons.
Among recent productions was the Tony Award-nominated Eclipsed by Danai Gurira, which tells the survival stories of five Liberians near the end of the Second Liberian Civil War. We staged it to sellout crowds in our first permanent home in June 2017. In 2018, we produced the acclaimed world premiere of Ripe Frenzy, which provided nightly space for community dialogue and healing. And in 2019 Kimberly Monk’s new play Hands of Color addressed issues of race and police brutality.
Synchronicity celebrated 22 years of smart, gutsy, bold, theatre in the 2019-20 season; our sixth in our 138-seat house at One Peachtree Pointe in Midtown. We continue to grow, and to bring artists and audiences together to experience stories, music, and drama as a community.
It wasn’t always easy. Being a nomadic company for so many years was a challenge for us and our audiences. Throughout the years, we performed at Horizon Theatre in Inman Park and 7 Stages in Little Five Points, Theatrical Outfit downtown, Emory University, PushPush Theater in northeast Atlanta, the Alliance Theatre’s Hertz Stage, The Beam in southeast Atlanta, and Actor’s Express in West Midtown and at the 14th Street Playhouse.
There were a few constants through it all. We still produce theater that sparks community connections and uplifts the voices of women and girls. And co-founder Rachel May is still onboard.
As producing artistic director, she’s led us from single-show seasons to five-show seasons, the growth of our staff, the creation and flourishing of our Playmaking for Girls and Playmaking for Kids programs, our Stripped Bare Arts Incubator Project, the New Stages Southeast tour, and three SheWrites Playwriting Festivals for female playwrights.
She is joined by Managing Director Celise Kalke, and a remarkable team and board of directors. Each spring our annual Women in the Arts and Business Luncheon connects arts and business leaders for conversation, networking and problem-solving.
We continue to produce quality work that entertains and resonates with our audiences. We support the work of women and take artistic chances. We focus on diverse voices and telling stories from many perspectives. We deeply believe in collaboration. We partner with community groups to deepen our relationships with the community, our theatergoers, and the work. Annually, we serve more than 16,000 patrons, including more than 250 at-risk, aka with “with-hope” teenage girls and their families through our innovative Playmaking for Girls program. We have made our intimate theater space available to more than 90 organizations and independent producers since 2014. We’re a proud member of the National New Play Network (NNPN) and the Bloomberg Philanthropy's Atlanta Cohort, as well as 'Regulars' at Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis; and were long-time participants in the Arthur M. Blank Foundation Audience Building Roundtable.