Dragonfly Multicultural Arts Center was formed in the spring of 2014 by Catherine LaMoreaux and Anna Paone. Catherine and Anna saw the need for a community theatre in the area that incorporated affirming theatre education. Anna, a recent college graduate, believed that aspiring actors and directors needed an artistic outlet beyond the crowded New York City theatre scene. Catherine had long wanted to do performances geared toward diverse audiences with diversity in casting. The two unified their years of theatre and arts administration experience along with their creative mindsets to start Dragonfly. In 2018, after performing in different locations, Dragonfly found a permanent home at duCret School of the Arts in Plainfield. Since its founding, Dragonfly has presented 22 productions, two traveling shows, 47 Zoom shows during quarantine, and numerous educational workshops.
We believe in polished mainstage productions (particularly mainstream shows with an aesthetic twist), theatre classes that create a safe space, and an institution that creates activity, art, and even jobs in our community for years to come.
Our Executive Director Catherine LaMoreaux says: "In searching for a name for our new theater, we wanted something that was meaningful to us personally, but also had meaning for our prospective audience.
In 1999, my mother, sister, and ten-year-old nephew, Cristoffer, died in a car accident. Cristoffer was a dynamic, intelligent, kind young man with a multicultural heritage. He was friendly, always seeing the best in everyone he met. After his passing, his mother, my sister Carole, read a story about the transition of death that centered around a dragonfly who could fly around the world, but could not come back down. When Carole visited Cristoffer’s grave soon after his death, she was met by a persistent blue dragonfly. Since then, she and her family are often met by dragonflies when they go on family outings. Similarly, when I went with my husband and children to a camp at which families worked to deal with their grief, we had dragonflies follow us.
While the dragonfly symbolizes Cristoffer to us, it has symbolic meaning in many cultures beginning with the ancient Greeks. Dragonflies can symbolize going beyond the surface and looking deeper into the meaning of life, something we are trying to do with our theatre. Dragonflies stand for change and self-realization. We hope to be able to give performers in our area chances to find their voices and express themselves through dramatic arts. Our classes, to begin in the fall, will enable students as well to experience the transformational power of the arts.
Finally, the iridescent rainbow colors of the dragonfly illustrate our commitment to the celebration of diversity and multiculturalism. We want to acclaim and explore the many cultures and groups in our central New Jersey community. We hope to present a variety of works that enlighten our audiences and allow actors from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities have performance opportunities."
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