Maadi Community Theatre (MCT) recently performed its second show, A Seussified Christmas Carol by Peter Bloedel. Maadi Community Theatre was formed in 2014 to serve two purposes: raise money for a worthy cause and bring together Maadi community members.
Since its inception, MCT established a relationship with CAC to rehearse and perform in the CAC Theater. “CAC has been amazing… at allowing us to use their facilities,” explained Brandon Zerr-Smith, a CAC mathematics teacher who is also co-founder and director of MCT. Many other CAC teachers, parents, alumni, and students are also involved in the MCT cast and crew. “CAC has the best community of any school I’ve ever worked at, and that community really comes out when you do something like this. Parents get involved when they see that this is good for their kids because they see the importance of the arts.”
Many members of the greater Maadi community also participate in MCT, which is not a CAC organization. Zerr-Smith explained, “we have a lot of people on the stage that are not of the CAC community, which is really quite refreshing… [MCT] breaks down barriers and allows you to interact with people from different parts of the Maadi community, which is awesome because you get to know some pretty groovy people.”
MCT’s impact is twofold; it provides an artistic outlet for the community and raises funds for organizations in need in Cairo. A portion of the proceeds of the group’s first performance was given to the Fard Foundation, a Syrian refugee school, to make capital improvements to their facilities. “We didn’t feel comfortable just giving money,” explained Zerr-Smith. “We wanted to work with [the organization] and then give money to a project that they’re working on.”
This year MCT will continue supporting the Fard Foundation; it will also be donating funds to a school established by Tawasol for Developing Istabal Antar NGO. Now that the show has finished, MCT organizers will meet with members of both organizations to decide how the funds willbe used.
Zerr-Smith has aspirations to expand MCT and ensure its future sustainability. “The goal is creating a sustainable project where if we leave other people can step into our roles… I would love to step back and just help in the background and not have to direct because I’m sure people are getting tired of seeing my shows at this stage, right? Let’s let someone else put their flavor into it.”
CAC is also currently in the process of raising funds to support capital improvement of its theater, which has become worn after hosting decades of school and community events. CAC provides students with a holistic education, and the theater is key to fulfilling this commitment. Having studied theater in school and continued pursuing the passion, Zerr-Smith explained, “you learn really important lessons on stage about yourself and about being a part of a team.” The CAC Theater is central to both the educational mission of the school and the life of its community. “All the performing arts happen in the theater, and events too… it’s a heart of the school, and we need to make it healthy again.”
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