All-of-us Express Children's Theatre

aka AECT   |   East Lansing, MI   |  http://www.allofusexpress.org

Mission

It is the mission of All-of-us Express Children's Theatre to offer young people of all backgrounds, cultures, and lifestyles the opportunity to produce professional quality plays, study many aspects of the dramatic arts, and develop valuable life skills while providing outstanding entertainment to the community.

Ruling year info

1991

Principal Officer

Ms. Elizabeth Cooke

Main address

PO Box 1871

East Lansing, MI 48826-1871 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

38-2912814

NTEE code info

Theater (A65)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

It is the mission of All-of-us Express Children’s Theatre to offer young people of all backgrounds, cultures, and lifestyles the opportunity to produce professional quality plays, study many aspects of the dramatic arts, and develop valuable life skills while providing outstanding entertainment to the community. The realization of this mission becomes more critical each year as youth involvement with the arts in school decreases.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

All-of-us Express Children's Theatre

We produce four mainstage shows each season, with casts from 8 to 80 in size, backed up by crews of about 100, all children ages 6 to 18. We also have drama camps that run 1-2 weeks in the summer.

Population(s) Served

All-of-us Express Children’s Theatre encourages all of our youth members to learn the many aspects of theater. There is so much more to a production than what is seen on stage. By learning each of these areas efficiently, a youth member can earn the privilege of student-directing a show or heading a backstage crew.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

AECT understands quality programming to provide opportunities for youth to participate fully in all aspects of producing live theater and opportunities for the community to enjoy live theater produced fully by area youth. AECT produces four main stage productions per year and offers a variety of drama camps throughout the summer. The primary AECT program has been augmented with other programs including workshops, acting lessons, the Young Playwrights Festival, the Studio Class, and a Shakespeare intensive.

To aid in one of AECT’s goals of diverse experiences, productions are staged at the Albert A. White Performing Arts Theatre in Hannah (a proscenium style stage), and, typically, one production each season is held at Riverwalk Theatre in downtown Lansing (a thrust style stage). The directorial team works with youth cast members using exercises to build onstage characters, stage presence, vocal projection, and reading skills. The production teams consist of a Guild Supervisor for each of the guilds, a Director, a Stage Manager, and often, volunteer guild assistants. AECT hires community artists and alumni to mentor youth ages six through 18 in all aspects of the dramatic arts.

One of the aspects of AECT that sets it apart from other youth theaters is its unique Guild Program. Through our unique Guild Program and our dedication to hiring qualified community artists to mentor youth, AECT achieves our mission of providing area youth the opportunity to produce professional quality plays. The Guild affords youth the opportunity to learn and excel at backstage crafts. Adult guild supervisors mentor young people through the sequential stages of learning each of the non-acting areas of stagecraft, including Director, Management, Set Construction, Props, Costumes, Makeup, and Tech (sound and lights). Youth that lead and work on the guild crews experience a sense of accomplishment, increased self-esteem, and gain appreciation for all aspects of theater while having fun. The real-life skills participants learn through this process have practical applications outside the world of theater too. Carpentry, sewing, design aesthetics, project planning and management, teamwork, mentoring, problem-solving, time management, and financial budgeting are some of the many skills they learn and practice on a guild crew.

Press releases announcing auditions and show times for all productions are distributed, complete with promotional photographs. In addition, schools, daycares and other youth organizations receive a letter announcing AECT school specific performances. AECT also uses social media advertising on Instagram and Facebook to promote activities and reach out to the community. Programs and performances are also published in print and online in City of East Lansing publications and social media.

Last season (Season 30) for our four main productions, total cast and crew for the season was 373 youth participants. Of these, 152 were first time participants. An additional 260 youth participated in the summer drama camps. Total show attendance was 4,730 community members. Please visit the company’s website www.allofusexpress.org for details on our company including titles and photos of our past shows. During AECT’s history, our organization has received two Thespie Awards from the Lansing State Journal for expanding shows into larger settings and more ambitious projects, the J.C. Penney Golden Rule Award Certificate of Recognition for community service, and a Michigan Association of Community Arts Agencies Great Lakes Community Arts Award. During her tenure as Artistic Director, AECT founder Evelyn Weymouth received numerous awards (e.g., the first Community Inclusion Award from the Association for Children's Mental Health for her extraordinary contribution outside the mental health system and the Apollo Award from the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University), which reflect the importance of AECT to the local community.

The City of East Lansing (City) and the AECT non-profit Board of Trustees (Board) have formed a strong partnership to implement the program. Liz Cooke, Artistic Director (AD), is a City employee who got her start in theater right here at AECT in 1997 at age 9. Kathleen Miller, Program Coordinator with the City, runs the administrative side of AECT. This includes program budgeting, reporting and general management. The City of East Lansing provides all administrative and financial oversight for the AECT program, including all day-to-day operations. A volunteer Board governs the AECT non-profit. All Board officers and members are elected at the annual membership meeting. The Board also consists of up to two voting youth members whose input is highly valued. The AECT Board in cooperation with City staff creates an annual nonprofit budget for the year, which runs July 1 to June 30. The budget is reviewed at each monthly Board meeting. AECT has many written policies, covering areas including annual budget, treasurer position, and scholarships. The treasurer is a member of the Board. A non-Board affiliated CPA serves as financial secretary and provides the dashboard, monthly bank statement reconciliation, and general ledger. The role of the nonprofit is to raise funds through grants, fundraising, memberships, and sponsorships, which provide part of the funding for the overall program run by the city.

Our organization is navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, working to create and sustain virtual arts-based programming for area youth. The nonprofit board is seeking new means of fundraising and new grant support as the typical ways of seeking funding are changing. We are proud of over 30 years of programming and are looking forward to a new, yet challenging phase of the organization.

Other goals include increasing youth participation in casts and crews, increasing youth participation in drama camps, increasing family memberships, and increasing fundraising and grant funding. As a nonprofit board, we aim to continue to strengthen our relationships with the City of East Lansing and the families of youth participants. We also aim to strengthen our actions and decision-making in alignment with our new strategic plan.

Financials

All-of-us Express Children's Theatre
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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All-of-us Express Children's Theatre

Board of directors
as of 7/27/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Katie Brewer

All-of-us Express Children's Theatre Nonprofit Board

Term: 2018 - 2019

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No