When the curtain rises for any performance by the New England Marionettes, not only does the audience enjoy the performance, but two environmental organizations will benefit as well.
Defenders of Wildlife in Washington, DC and the Harris Center for Conservation Education in Hancock, NH have been selected by the New England Marionette Opera to be the beneficiaries of the theatre's 1997 "Environmental Echo" program. A portion of the proceeds from each performance the company gives in its home theatre will be set aside for this program. At the conclusion of the season, checks will be sent to both recipient organizations.
Theatre founder Edward R. (Ted) Leach said that establishing such a program has always been one of his hopes for the theatre. "We have a very unique public platform here at every performance," Leach noted, "and this is a wonderful opportunity to acquaint our audience with two organizations whose work we applaud and endorse."
Leach said that he has been familiar with the efforts of the Harris Center for many years. "They are a first rate organization and have done an incredible amount of good as they broaden environmental awareness in our area," Leach said.
"The choice of Defenders of Wildlife was made, in part, due to the organizations efforts to reintroduce wolves to the eastern U.S. - specifically the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York," said Leach.
Founded in 1947 and headquartered in the nation's Capital, Defenders is a leading nonprofit conservation organization with results-oriented programs.
The Harris Center, founded in Hancock in 1970, currently has land holdings of almost 8000 acres in Southwestern New Hampshire under a variety of environmental stewardship's. The Center's educational program in area schools has touched the lives of thousands of youngsters over the years.
The "Environmental Echo" program is consistent with the record of the young theatre which, in its first five years of existence, has given several benefit performances for a variety of causes. "This is definitely a two-way street," Leach is quick to add. "While the beneficiary organization may receive some financial assistance and considerable exposure that they need, we have found that such activity creates a social cement which our people relish and perhaps, also, need."
Each production at the theatre opens with an elaborate audio/visual presentation which explains the Environmental Echo program. Music for the presentation was donated by noted musician Paul Winter who, for many years through his actions and music, has been a huge booster of environmental awareness around the world.