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community based plays

Community-based Plays are a cornerstone of Civic Ensemble programming. Through an 18 month to 2 year process, community members come together in story circles and facilitated community workshops to create a new play around a topic that is meaningful to them. The process culminates with public performances and community dialogue - bringing the conversations back out to the community where they began. 

Fertile Grounds, a community-based play by Katie Ka Vang

In our next Community-based play, Civic Ensemble is exploring the question, "What does it mean to be well?"

Fertile Grounds is being written in collaboration with playwright Katie Ka Vang based on the narratives of our local community. Exploring the relationship of grief, community, and wellness, this play shares stories of land stewards, healers, and people in our community seeking meaningful avenues for healing and health. Fertile Grounds was developed with support from the Network of Ensemble Theaters and the Playwrights' Center.

Join us for the production of Fertile Grounds from June 2-11, 2023 in Ithaca, NY. Click here for more information.

Thank you to all the individuals who have shared your stories toward the development of this new play! And shout out to our partners, including Oji:sda', The Learning Farm, and Cayuga Medical Center's Department of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

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Meet playwright Katie Ka Vang

Katie Ka Vang is a Hmong American playwright and theatre artist. Her work explores the complexities of culture, identity, dis-ease, survivorship, and the familial. Her plays and work include WTF, Hmong Bollywood, 5:1 Meaning of Freedom; 6:2 Use of Sharpening, Fast FWD Motions, In Quarantine, FINAL ROUND, Spirit Trust, AGAIN The Musical, and more. Her work has been developed and presented at Theater Mu, Playwrights’ Center, Wonderlust Productions, Pillsbury House Theatre Late Nite Series, Leviathan Lab, Bushwick Starr, Park Square Theater, Brown University, The Royal Court Theatre (London), The Walker Art Center, Out North Art House, Theatre Unbound, Pangea World Theater, and more. She's received support from The Jerome Foundation, Knight Foundation, NPN, MRAC, MSAB, and Coalition of Asian American Leaders. She is a 2020/21 Many Voices Fellow at the Playwrights Center and a member of the 21/22 Playwright’s Group at East West Players in (L.A.). She holds an MFA in Playwriting from Brown University.

Thank you to our sponsors and grant-makers, including:


The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, and Mellon Foundation

This project was made possible in part by a grant from the Tompkins County Tourism Program.

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Fertile Grounds was developed with support from the Network of Ensemble Theaters and the Playwrights' Center.

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Previous Community-based Plays:

2019 - The Next Storm

2017 - The Class Divide

2015 - On the Corner

2014 - Safety

2013 - Parent Stories

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