I am Peoria: Theater Works Engagement Manager, BriannaFunk

GUEST COMMENTARY
By: 
CATHY CARLAT, Mayor of Peoria

With its signature copper roof, it’s hard to miss the state-of-the-art Peoria Center for the Performing Arts (PCPA) nestled in the heart of Old Town Peoria.
The facility was constructed in 2007 to bring cultural experiences and programming to Peoria residents. Helping us achieve this is Theater Works, a non-profit community theater organization and master tenant of PCPA, who provides award-winning programming aimed to inspire and enrich our community.
There are hidden gems in every corner of the Center, such as the rotating artwork that adorns the lobby walls, and the incredibly talented volunteers and staff who bring the stage to life, including Theater Works’ Engagement Manager Brianna Funk.
Born and raised in Peoria, Funk’s introduction to community theater came early for her. Her parents played in the orchestra, so she gravitated towards the stage nearly a decade ago when she began working at Theater Works as an intern. Over the years, Funk has held a variety of positions, including actor and director. Her love of arts and theater is palpable, especially when she speaks of two programs that she directs: PuppetWorks and AdaptiveWorks.
PuppetWorks shows are performed in the black light style of puppetry that results in wonderful glow-in-the-dark scenery. Aimed to engage our city’s youngest audience members, the setting becomes colorful and magical.
AdaptiveWorks is a program that provides theatrical experiences for individuals with mental and physical disabilities. As Director, Funk takes pride in creating a welcoming environment that celebrates and compliments individual talents, to ensure everyone has the opportunity to shine.
Although the impact of community theater is vast, programs like these have a unique way of showcasing how empowering the arts can be.
Community theater helps individuals feel connected with one another and part of something larger - elements that are vital for a thriving community. From building community spirit, to teaching life skills such as problem solving, communication, and self-confidence, the impact is far-reaching and often long lasting.
Over the past decade, Theater Works has created exceptional programming that grows and expands with every passing season. Taking notice of their outstanding progress is an organization called AriZoni Awards of Excellence, who work to acknowledge the great work that theaters across the Valley are doing.
At this year’s awards ceremony, and with more than 40 participating theaters and thousands of shows judged, Theater Works shined the brightest with 56 nominations and 12 awards.
Access to public art adds to the exceptional quality of life that we know and love here in Peoria. It’s part of what draws people and businesses to our city, and it’s part of what keeps residents just like Brianna in our community.
The city of Peoria is fortunate to have organizations like Theater Works working to enrich our community through the arts. To learn more about Theater Works, visit www.theaterworks.org.

 

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