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11 Reviews
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March 31, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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March 31, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

Cornerstone does absolutely life changing work. It is not easy work, but it certainly alters every one of the communities in which they work.

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How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Quite well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

March 11, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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March 11, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

I am most impressed with Cornerstone Theatre Company.
Cornerstone brings the power of theatre to people who have never (or rarely) been exposed to it. When I was in college I had the fortune of taking an acting class with an extraordinary couple who completely opened me up to the
possibilities of life. I was a shy kid with a severe stutter. The fact that I have gone on to have a career in theatre is almost beside the point. They, through theatre, opened all sorts of doors within me. The act of creating theatre is a very empowering experience. It breeds confidence. It fosters self expression. It encourages us to step outside the boundaries that we tend to draw around ourselves. It lends us a voice when we thought we had none. It can be a magical experience for someone who has never set foot onstage before. And most in America have not.
I am most impressed with the quality of Cornerstone plays. All are completely original. Established playwrights are commissioned and sent into a community to investigate a particular issue of great concern to the community. Many interviews throughout the community take place. All sides of an issue are investigated and woven into the scripts. Community members often see their concepts, words and opinions wind up in the finished plays, again, a very empowering experience for somebody who has never been heard. Playwrights use their skills to shape the various facets of the issue into compelling drama. Questions are raised rather than answers given. Factions of a community are often brought together through the play production process. Barriers get dropped, future bonds formed.
I am most impressed with the level of production that Cornerstone regularly achieves. The directors and designers are top professionals. Full professionalism is brought to the rehearsal process, though many involved have never been onstage before. I love the way that Cornerstone sprinkles the community cast with Cornerstone ensemble members, all top professional actors themselves. The ensemble members usually play the more difficult roles, as well as teaching, mentoring, coaching and being role models for the first-time actors. I am amazed at how good the community performances can end up being. It's really fun to see the glow, the excitement on their faces as they participate in an endeavor this accomplished. The excitement of the audience is likewise fun to see. Many are of the community. It's their people on stage, their issues, their voices being laid out in a public forum. It is most empowering. The power of theatre.
I am most impressed with the staff and organization of Cornerstone. There is a lot at play here. Many, many people are usually involved in any one project. Other projects at different stages of development are usually happening at the same time. Managing communities of people unschooled in the ways and means of theatre with all of their real life issues added in can be a huge challenge. The Cornerstone ensemble members and all their needs have to be attended to, as well. The commissioned playwrights working on future projects have to be guided and monitored. There are always workshops going on, the training of Cornerstone techniques and the development of new ones. Relationship building with institutions, theatrical and otherwise, are always taking place. This, along with the normal hustle and bustle that it takes to run a theatre company keeps staff members extremely busy. Cornerstone is a unique and invaluable institution. They know what they are doing, and what they do, they do very, very well.

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How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

March 6, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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Review from Guidestar
March 6, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

Mi nombre es Lorena Moran y soy la directora de Teatro Jornalero Sin Fronteras programa de Cornerstone Theater Company, deseo compartir mi experiencia de los últimos cinco años de convivencia, colaboración y trabajo como miembro del Staff de Cornerstone Theater Company y los puedo resumir, en igualdad, oportunidades, desarrollo, amor y respeto, razón por la cual me incomoda saber de comentarios negativos en contra de Cornerstone Theater Company así como y para alguno de mis colegas, no es cuestión de camaraderismo sino es una realidad, en el Sr. Michael John Garces quien es nuestro Director Artístico, siempre he encontrado un extraordinario director, un colega profesional y ético, una persona sensata y justa, y por ultimo pero no por eso lo menos importante un ser humano excepcional y un buen amigo.

Sobre la Sra. Sara Adelman nuestra General Manager puedo decir que admiro de sobremanera su capacidad para organizar, dirigir y coordinar la administración de Cornerstone Theater Company, es la persona ideal para lograr mantener el equilibrio de los requerimientos, responsabilidades, obligaciones y compromisos de una organización como Cornerstone Theater Company. Siempre he encontrado en ella una respuesta respetuosa y eficiente a mis requerimientos, colaboración y ayuda para resolverlos.

Muy atentamente,

Lorena Moran

My name is Lorena Moran and I am the director of Teatro Jornalero Sin Fronteras, a program of Cornerstone Theater Company. Our mission is to improve the lives of day laborers everywhere through the creation of plays by and for the day labor community. I wish to share my experience of the last five years of coexistence, cooperation and working as a former community particiapnt, and current staff member of Cornerstone Theater Company I can sum up my experience in these words: equality, opportunities, development, love and respect, which is why it bothers me to hear about negative comments against Cornerstone Theater Company and some of my colleagues, this is not a matter of camraderism but is a reality on the individuals addressed in previous comments. I always found Mr. Michael John Garces, our Art Director, as an extraordinary director, a professional colleague who is ethical, sensible and fair, and last but certainly not least important an exceptional human being and a good friend.

Regarding Ms. Sara Adelman our General Manager I can say I greatly admire her ability to organize, direct and coordinate the administration of Cornerstone Theater Company, she is the ideal person to achieve balance of the requirements, responsibilities, obligations and commitments of an organization such as Cornerstone Theater Company. I've always found her to provide respectful, friendly and efficient responses to my requirements, always working in collaboration, in helping to resolve them.

Sincerely,

Lorena Moran

More feedback...

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

January 2, 2012
3 people found this review helpful

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Review from Guidestar
January 2, 2012
3 people found this review helpful

I am a former employee of Cornerstone Theater Co. I came to this company with a positive spirit that was broken. I was told in my interview that I would never move up. Their Value Statement states, "We believe society can flourish when its members know and respect one another, and we value theater made in that spirit." - In my short time there I witnessed first hand: 1) the separation between Teatro Jornalero Sin Fronteras and the Company. Due to TJSF's language barrier they were intimidated of asking questions, and felt a hierarchy between the Company. 2) The Artistic Director, Michael John Garces, was feared as well and known for getting angry, what my co-worker called, " putting you in your place." I will remember my first conversation with him. I was making some lunch for myself as he spoke with a co-worker and tried throwing his trash in the can. My co-worker told him (I'm paraphrasing) " Michael, you know, you missed?" to which he responded, " I know, but I'm the boss so I'm the King I'll leave that for less kingsley people..." I was not respected by the upper management, and the week after I shared how I felt about the unethical work relationship I had with the GM I got fired. I am okay with being rejected; however, I feel that it is important for me to share how I was treated. 3) Still on RESPECT, being fired without cause...I know this is legal but it is unethical, and I did not deserve to be let go on the basis that the new Manager, Sara Adelman, may be OCD. An example of this was one time I was filing in her office I asked her if she'd like me to place one file in my desk. To which she said yes but then asked me, "so are you going to do that right now, or?" I let her know I'd file it as soon as I finished up in her office, and she said agitated, " I touched it," and placed it on my desk. I felt very uneasy at witnessing her demeanor and smirked nervously. She then raised her hands and chest and said, "what!"
The following pieces of the Value Statement "We value art that is contemporary, community-specific, responsive, multilingual, innovative, challenging, and joyful.
We value theater that directly reflects the audience," made me feel so happy to go to work everyday. I only had an issue with their management; however, I feel it is important to share so that any donor can try changing the management practices being used. Unlike I, who felt worthless in a company that values Respect, I hope you will take action. I hope you will question the work being performed by the Managing Director and Artistic Director. I was punished for not knowing but they are just starting to learn as well. Crucial information was just being taught to the MD, where the money is going, how to deal with workers comp. issues, etc....
We value the artist in everyone. - I was taken away the opportunity of becoming more involved in the process because taking out the trash was high priority. As a former employee, Cornerstone Theater Company is below my expectations because of their lack of proper leadership that can set an example to the staff (New Generation of Artists). Additionally, a leadership that promotes ethical relationships in the workplace which ultimately leads to a more productive collaboration. They fired the previous General Manager via email leaving me to deal with the mess and then gladly taking on the role of guiding the new manager. Little did I know, after I'd show her all I had barely been taught, she'd say," I feel like I cannot give you projects because you might not complete them." In Performance Studies we see everything we do as a performance, so when I was there working without proper breaks, I was an artist. Was I valued, no. I was not valued as a person let alone an Artist. There were many financial errors and personnel errors which I can gladly speak about to you if you are trying to help their management team. Thank you for taking the first step, Elizabeth. ( Information shared is real, may be paraphrased, and to the best of my knowledge.)

More feedback...

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Okay

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Unlikely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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