it all began as a work in progress...
the story of illuminate
Illuminate founder Jennifer Keating was not aware in 2012 that the theatre arts classes she was planning for a dozen homeschoolers in the area would eventually become a thriving community of hundreds, offering 70+ classes per year and spectacular productions that would rival Broadway touring companies. At the time, she called it "A Work in Progress" and has watched in wonder as it grows and shines...
And thus, in January of 2013, classes began with 15 eager students. By the fall of 2013, the company had discovered the beautiful theatre in Tolman High School, and “Singin in the Rain” was performed with a cast of only 15 students, none of which had ever performed on a stage of that size before. Yet this little company managed to pull out all the stops- from professional lighting and costuming to special effects and intricate choreography. In 2020, "A Work in Progress" became illuminate as it blazed a path through the pandemic.
Now, the company has grown to serving over 100 students, has been officially incorporated as a nonprofit organization for over 10 years, and has an active Board of Directors, Volunteers, Interns, Staff, and Membership. Our Performance Outreach teams bring free Children's Theatre and Puppet Theatre to schools, libraries, and anywhere they're requested. And so much more. With such a firm foundation laid over the past decade, illuminate is looking towards a bright future. We can't wait to see where you shine next.
Illuminate’s purpose is to provide exceptional, enriching, accessible, wholesome, family-friendly opportunities in every aspect of the arts in an atmosphere that allows students to discover and pursue their potential. We believe that everyone has the ability to learn new skills, grow in their gifts, and to use their individual talents to Create + Collaborate + Shine Brightly to the Community.
Learn + Create: To accommodate all skill levels and provide appropriate learning challenges for all students from preschool age to adult, providing additional leadership opportunities for students who excel through mentoring, internships and student teaching opportunities
Grow+Collaborate: To educate students about all aspects of production on and off the stage through classes, workshops, coaching, and performances that are competitively priced, with Options that fit within homeschooling schedules.
Shine+Community: To nurture and empower students to discover their potential through family-friendly, wholesome educational content that respects their beliefs and values. Students are then given opportunities to take their gifts and talents to serve the community through our various outreach teams, as well as cultivating leadership skills by interning, coaching, and assisting Team Illuminate.
"We’ve been with the company from the beginning. My daughter literally did everything. Shows, classes, outreach, script writing, student teacher. Looking back, the opportunities illuminate offered her were the catalyst to her college path and future career. The chance to not only star on the stage but write actual scripts led her to pursue that in college. She can attest to being ahead of her peers because of all she was able to experience at illuminate." -- Traci, mom of Hannah, illuminate class of 2020
"There are so many ways to find your place in this company…. My youngest son (13) Enjoyed the junior productions, but being on stage is not his thing. Then he found TIP crew (backstage crew) and loved it! He found his place working with tools, creating sets, learning about the lights and being a part of a crew of kids and adults. Illuminate has given our family a place to express ourselves artfully, build friendships, cultivate life skills, serve our local community and be apart of a company that strives to keep opening doors for the whole family." -- Kerryanne, illuminate family member since 2016
"illuminate differentiates itself by running throughout the year, offering free community programs (such as an innovative day-long Shakespeare in the Skatepark festival in Attleboro’s Balfour Riverpark), and opening its arms to students with a range of abilities. It is clear that the organization is committed to establishing a strong family that works toward the greater good for both its students and the community at large." - Mim Brooks Foster, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Attleboro Arts Museum