As the country prepares for Election Day on November 3rd, many Arts workers have taken a stand and voiced the importance of voting. Veteran Broadway actors Ali Ewoldt (“The Phantom of the Opera,” “The King and I,” “Les Miserables”) and Jessica Wu (“Miss Saigon,” “A Chorus Line”) are vigorously channeling support for the Biden/Harris campaign, having established the “Theatre Industry Political Action Community” (“TIPAC”) which invites entertainment workers to utilize their skills to solicit blue votes from infrequent or undecided voters.
TIPAC is described by its co-founders as “a space for theatre professionals to take political action together.” Their Facebook group and Instagram account @tipacommunity feature daily resources; collected information, tips, and inspiration, shared by members to help swing the election in favor of the Democratic Presidential candidate.
Most notably, TIPAC works alongside the Pennsylvania-based organization “Changing the Conversation Together” (“CTCT”) through which volunteers are trained in “deep voter canvassing,” a technique proven to be the most effective form of voter outreach in studies as recent as summer 2020 conducted by “People’s Action.” This practice is similar to standard voter canvassing in that it consists of trainees contacting and speaking with infrequent or undecided voters (via phone or door-to-door visits) and ensuring that individuals are equipped with the necessary resources to partake in an election. Deep canvassing is unique in that an emphasis is placed on establishing a personal connection with voters to increase the likelihood of voter turnout, specifically for the organization’s preferred candidate. It employs story-sharing as a means of connecting to voters and TIPAC’s growing team of actors are storytelling professionals with refined skills in reaching people from all backgrounds.
According to a separate study published by Five Thirty-Eight on September 15th, Pennsylvania (described as a “battleground zone”) is by far the likeliest state to provide either Donald Trump or Joe Biden with the decisive vote in the Electoral College.
“PA is unfathomably important to the 2020 Election.” Wu explains. “Deep Canvassing is the most effective form of voter outreach ever measured. Lives depend on our actions.”
Theatre workers are welcome to join TIPAC’s canvassing endeavors both virtually and in person. For volunteers willing to canvass in person, strict COVID safety protocol shall be enforced and TIPAC will cover all travel and lodging expenses for volunteers unless otherwise noted thanks to donations which can be made through this GoFundMe page. (surplus will be passed forward to the fight to flip the senate.
“We can’t just keep yelling into the void. We can’t keep sowing the seeds of division.” says Wu, inviting Theatre workers everywhere to join the community of artists determined to rid the White house of the Trump Administration next year. “We have to take action and we have to connect.”
Get involved today by joining the Facebook group or following @tipacommunity on Instagram. There, canvassing training and sessions will be advertised and sign-up resources will be made available. You can also email email@example.com with any inquiries or ideas.
“We want to provide a space for those who care and wish to make a difference and whose jobs may not be considered traditionally ‘political.'” says Ellis Gage, managing assistant for TIPAC. “And that’s what we’re looking to help people recognize; the absence of any clear separation of that which is personal and that which is political. The two are so intertwined and anyone can make their voice heard to spark change. That, by definition, is political. It’s public service and storytellers are well-equipped to contribute to the governance of their real-life narrative.”
Member Colleen Roberts shares; “Canvassing has reinforced for me just how many people want justice and equity for all. This administration has done a great job of alienating us and making us feel alone, but going out and connecting with people face to face has proven for me not only how NOT alone we are, but how there are far more of us than there are of them no matter how hard this administration tries to divide and silence us.” According to fellow member Rebecca Lee Lerman “sometimes we forget how powerful listening can be.”
TIPAC members uphold the belief shared in CTCT training that “action is the antidote to fear,” inviting all who are concerned about the state of the U.S. to “Make some noise.” because “It’s what storytellers do.”
To learn more about “Changing the Conversation Together,” visit their website.