Company One Theatre presents BETTER FUTURE SERIES

Digital episodes bringing together Boston’s artists, community leaders, and policymakers to build a Better Future, one neighborhood at a time.

C1’s Better Future Series is a multi-part digital gathering bringing together Boston’s artists, community leaders, and policymakers to understand the needs of our neighborhoods and reimagine the future of our city, both in response to the current pandemic and our ongoing fight against the deep-rooted culture of white supremacy.

Broadcast live on C1’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, each monthly episode will focus on one of Boston’s neighborhoods, highlight the issues that matter most to its residents, and amplify opportunities for viewers to make a difference. Each episode will be anchored by an organization that is making an impact in that community, a policymaker with a focus on that community, and an artist whose work intersects with that community.

In conjunction with this series, Company One Theatre will also be donating to social justice-driven organizations working toward the community concerns discussed in each episode.



Since May 2020, we have experienced a nationwide resurgence of action in support of Black Lives Matter following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks by police officers. Just as in other major American cities, Boston is also experiencing an explosion of gun violence. Local activists, community leaders and artist-activists, many of whom are Black women, have been leading the conversation around ending gun violence and police brutality in our community. 

On Friday, August 14 at 7pm join panelists Monica Cannon-Grant, Founder of Violence in Boston, Ashley Rose, C1 Playlab Playwright and Poet, and Summer L. Williams, C1 Co-Founder and Associate Artistic Director for a conversation highlighting the necessity of community organizing, racial healing and the role of art in moving forwards toward a Better Future in Boston. 

Creative producer: Jasmine Brooks. Technical producer: Mads Massey.


Ashley-Rose (she/her)
Ashley-Rose is a Haitian-American educator, writer, and restorative justice specialist from Boston, MA. She has worn many hats, including being the Lead Organizer responsible for implementation of Participatory Budgeting in Boston, to teaching S.T.E.A.M, peacemaking and poetry in schools, drug rehabilitation and community centers for over 15 years. Ashley-Rose has earned countless accolades for her work in the arts and organizing, including winning the Boston Music Awards Spoken-Word Artist of the Year, San Diego National Poetry Award in 2016, the OneIn3 Impact Award for being the most influential person under age 35 in Massachusetts, and also being honored as the Extraordinary Woman of the Year for the City of Boston. She currently works at Suffolk University creating curriculum and trainings for educators, corporations and institutions in the areas of restorative justice, arts and science.

Monica Cannon-Grant (she/her)
Monica Cannon-Grant is an Activist and Community organizer From Boston. She has resided in the Roxbury area for 17 years. In 2016 she was a Candidate for State Representative for the 7th Suffolk District losing her election by 90 votes. She was the Executive Director of The Tito Jackson Community Fund where she has organized his Annual turkey where they gave away 4,000 turkeys last year.

Monica sits on the Advisory Board for an organization named Community Call. Monica is a Former Chair of the Young Adult Committee for the NAACP and current member. Monica believes in the Motto “Our Community Our Responsibility” which is why she is the CEO/Founder of the Violence In Boston Inc Non Profit whose mission is to improve the quality of life & life outcomes of individuals from disenfranchised communities by reducing the prevalence of violence and the impact of associated trauma.

She also was the Lead organizer in the Fight Supremacy March to counter-protest the “Boston Free Speech Rally” in 2017 and One of the Lead organizers for “Hands Off Our Pride counter-protest to Straight Pride. As a former Black Lives Matter Activist, On June 2nd Monica organized 55,000 people to protest the murder of George Floyd and the many others murdered by Police across the country. On June 22nd she led a protest for Rayshard Brooks.

Summer L. Williams (she/her)
Summer L. Williams is a Co-Founder and Associate Artistic Director of Company One Theatre in Boston, and award-winning director. Her most recent directing credits include Wolf Play at Company One Theatre; School Girls, or The African Mean Girls Play at SpeakEasy Stage Company; Miss You Like Hell by Quiara Alegría Hudes and Erin McKeown with Company One Theatre and OBERON at American Repertory Theater; the World Premiere of Leftovers by Josh Wilder with Company One Theatre; Wig Out! by Tarell Alvin McCraney with Company One and OBERON at A.R.T.; Smart People at Kitchen Theatre Company in Ithaca, NY and Geva Theater in Rochester, NY; Barbecue at Lyric Stage Company of Boston—Winner of the 2018 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director; Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. at Company One Theatre; Bootycandy at SpeakEasy Stage Company; An Octoroon and Colossal with Company One Theatre—Winner of the 2016 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director for both productions. 

Regional credits: Intimate Apparel at Lyric Stage Company of Boston; Shiv as a part of The Displaced Hindu Gods Trilogy; Shelter of Last Resort by Miranda Craigwell as a part of XX PlayLab 2014; the New England Premiere of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s We Are Proud To Present A Presentation About The Herero Of Namibia, Formerly Known As Southwest Africa From The German Sudwestafrika Between The Years 1884-1915; Idris Goodwin’s How We Got On; Lynn Nottage’s By The Way, Meet Vera Stark at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston; The Brothers Size and Marcus; Or The Secret Of Sweet as part of The Brother/Sister Plays (2012 Elliot Norton Award nominated for Outstanding Production and winner of the 2012 IRNE Award for Best Play); Neighbors, Grimm; The Good Negro; Voyeurs De Venus (Winner of 2009 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director); The Bluest Eye (IRNE and Elliot Norton Award nominated); The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot; Spell #7 (IRNE nominated); Jesus Hopped The A Train (2004 Elliot Norton Award for Best Fringe Production); and Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 (IRNE nominated).



On Friday, June 12 at 1pm, Boston City Councilor At-Large Michelle Wu, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center’s newly appointed CEO Ben Hires, Pao Arts Center director Cynthia Woo, and C1 PlayLab Pao Fellows Kit Yan & Melissa Li came together for a conversation aimed at understanding the needs of Chinatown residents and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the gentrification of this vital neighborhood, and reimagining its vibrant future.

This episode was  moderated by Karthik Subramanian. Creative producer: Jasmine Brooks. Technical producer: Mads Massey.


Ben Hires (he/him) joined BCNC as CEO in June 2020. Since his first job as a youth counselor at a therapeutic program, Ben has significant experience in nonprofit leadership and serving young people and families. He held leadership positions in programs, strategy, and external relations at the Boston Children’s Chorus where he played a key role elevating the choir’s social justice mission to bring diverse young people and their families together. As Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Boston Public Library, he established and maintained building strong relationships across education, cultural, and civic engagement sectors in order to advance the Library’s mission of providing educational and cultural enrichment free to all Boston residents. Prior to being the CEO, Ben volunteered as a mentor for BCNC’s College Access Program for youth and as a member of the Pao Arts Center Advisory Committee. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and Political Science, a Master of Theological Studies, and a Master of Science in Arts Administration all from Boston University.

Melissa Li (she/her) is a composer, lyricist, performer, and writer based in New York and Baltimore. She is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Award, a Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, a 2019 Lincoln Center Theater Writer-in-Residence, a 2019 Musical Theater Factory Maker, a 2019 Macdowell Colony Fellow, and a former Queer|Art|Mentorship Fellow. Musicals include Interstate (New York Musical Festival, Winner “Outstanding Lyrics”), Surviving the Nian (The Theater Offensive, IRNE Award Winner for “Best New Play” 2007), and 99% Stone (The Theater Offensive). Her works have received support from The 5th Avenue Theatre, The Village Theater, Musical Theater Factory, National Performance Network, New England Foundation for the Arts, Dixon Place, and others.


Cynthia Woo (she/her) has been the inaugural Pao Arts Center Director since Jan 2017. Cynthia holds a Master’s in Art History from Tufts University with a certificate in Museum Studies. Before coming to BCNC, Cynthia worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Center for the Arts and LynnArts Inc




Michelle Wu (she/her) has been a voice for accessibility, transparency, and community engagement in city leadership. First elected to the Boston City Council in November 2013 at the age of 28, Wu is the first Asian-American woman to serve on the Council. In January 2016, she was elected President of the City Council by her colleagues in a unanimous vote, becoming the first woman of color to serve as Council President. Councilor Wu was the lead sponsor of Boston’s Paid Parental Leave ordinance and Healthcare Equity ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity — both of which passed unanimously through the Council and were signed into law by Mayor Martin J. Walsh. She also authored Boston’s Communications Access ordinance, which guarantees translation, interpretation and assistive technology for access to city services regardless of English language proficiency or communications disability. Wu got her start in City Hall working for Mayor Thomas M. Menino as a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy, where she created the city’s first guide to the restaurant permitting process from start to finish, and was also a driving force to launch Boston’s food truck program. She later served as statewide Constituency Director in the U.S. Senate campaign of her former law professor, Elizabeth Warren. As a former restaurant owner, legal services attorney, and legal guardian of her younger sister, Wu understands firsthand the barriers that families and communities face.  She has a background in community advocacy, having worked at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center in Jamaica Plain, providing legal advice to low-income small business owners, as well as at the Medical-Legal Partnership at Boston Medical Center on immigration law cases for survivors of domestic violence. In 2016, Councilor Wu was honored as one of Ten Outstanding Young Leaders by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and as part of Marie Claire magazine’s New Guard: The 50 Most Influential Women in America. Michelle Wu graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. She is fluent in Mandarin and Spanish, and lives in Roslindale with her husband Conor and her sons Blaise and Cass.

Kit Yan (they/them) is a Yellow American New York based artist, born in Enping, China, and raised in the Kingdom of Hawaii. Kit is a 2019 Vivace Award winner, Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, 2019 Lincoln Center Writer in residence, a 2019 MacDowell Fellow, 2019-2020 Musical Theater Factory Makers Fellow, a 2019-2020 Playwright’s Center Many Voices Fellow, and a 2019 NAMT selection for Interstate. Kit’s forthcoming musical works along with collaborator Melissa Li include a production of INTERSTATE at Mixed Blood Theater in March 2020, a first draft commission of MISS STEP from 5th Avenue Theater, a commission from Keen Company for a Keen Teens one act musical, and co-commission from Company One and Pao Arts for a new chinatown based musical. INTERSTATE, won 5 awards at the 2018 New York Musical Festival including Best Lyrics. Kit’s show QUEER HEARTACHE has won 5 awards at the Chicago and SF Fringe Festivals. Kit’s forthcoming playwriting works include a rolling world premiere of their play t(estosterone) a documentary play based on interviews with trans people about hormones developed in the Civilians R&D lab and produced at the Artists’ Theater of Boston and The Hub in D.C., a forthcoming reading of their new play Mr. Transman, an alternative pageantry play in NYC, and a workshop of a new play Pepper at the Playwright’s Center about childhood sexual abuse and the intersection of trans identity. Their work has been produced by the American Repertory Theater, the Smithsonian, Musical Theater Factory, the New York Musical Festival, Diversionary Theater, and Dixon Place. They have been a resident with the Civilians, Mitten Lab, 5th Avenue Theater, and the Village Theater. In 2018 Kit founded Translab an incubator for Transgender and Non-binary voices in the American Theater along with MJ Kaufman and supported by WP Theater and the Public Theater.




Fill out the 2020 Census and spread the word to five friends!

Census data affects our communities in many ways, such as the free and reduced school lunch program, affordable housing, hospital funding, and emergency assistance. You have the power to help by filling out your census. 


Participate in Pao Arts Center’s “Love Letters to Boston Chinatown”

Pao Arts Center is taking part in The Love Letters to Chinatown Project to help celebrate and strengthen the API community of Chinatown and Greater Boston. Pao Arts Center is collecting love letters: poems, stories, illustrations, paintings, etc. inspired and dedicated to Boston Chinatown to help uplift our neighborhood during these difficult times. They will be translating these letters and posting them up around the neighborhood as they receive them. 


Support BCNC’s Brighter Futures Campaign

During these extraordinarily difficult times, BCNC serves a particularly vulnerable population – low-income and recent immigrants disproportionately impacted by the current crisis.


Families count on BCNC to provide:

  • Counseling and support groups
  • Daily academic support and arts enrichment lessons for children
  • English classes and 1-on-1 advising
  • Translation of critical resources
  • Distribution of financial aid and meals
  • Projects to respond to anti-Asian racism


About Land Acknowledgements

Company One Theatre is based in Boston, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Wampanoag and Massachusett People.

“Acknowledgment is a simple, powerful way of showing respect and a step toward correcting the stories and practices that erase Indigenous people’s history and culture and toward inviting and honoring the truth.”  Honor Native Land: A Guide and Call to Acknowledgement


  • Download Native Land Digital’s Native Land Map to identify the territories your city or town is built upon.
  • Print and customize your own #HonorNativeLand Art  
  • Learn about the Mashpee Wampanoag’s fight to retain their current land in trust and sign their petition to show your support here.


Robust planning for the summer in Upham’s Corner ended when Covid-19 struck. On Friday, July 17 at 1pm, join us as we reimagine a summer that serves our youth under these conditions. On Friday, July 17 at 1pm, join us for a conversation with Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative Director of Programs Ramona Lisa Alexander, City of Boston Chief of Arts & Culture Kara Elliott-Ortega, and Co-Owner of HipStory Tim Hall, as we reimagine a summer that serves our youth under these conditions.

This episode will be moderated by Summer L. Williams. Creative producer: Jasmine Brooks. Technical producer: Mads Massey.


Ramona Lisa Alexander (she/her) is currently the Director of Programs at the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative for the Fairmount Cultural Corridor (a creative place-making initiative).  Additionally, she is the Co-Chair for Boston Creates, a citywide cultural cultural planning process, under Boston’s Chief of Arts and Culture. Prior to joining DSNI & FCC team she worked as the Manager of Performance Programs in the Education Department at the Boch Performing Arts Center in Boston. She is an award winning actress, enthusiastic about using theater as a model for social change while encouraging others to think out-side their own “.universe of six blocks.” (Ntzoke Shange).  A vibrant theatre performer, educator, community organizer and consultant.  Alexander has worked with various organizations, integrating the therapeutic aspects of theater, movement, and writing with community outreach and development. Alexander has also directed over 15 youth centered theatrical productions for various arts organizations that include; D.R.E.A.M Studios (Springfield, MA), Underground Railway Theatre (Cambridge, MA), Portland Play house (Portland, Or) Church of God in Christ (Benton Harbor, Michigan) and the National Black College Alliance Boston Chapter. Alexander holds an MFA from Brandeis University, studied Caribbean Folk Dance at the Edna Manly School of Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica, and participated in the Guthrie Theatre Experience Training Program in Minneapolis.  Alexander also holds a certificate with the BEST Initiative’s  Youth Worker Training program

Kara Elliott-Ortega (she/her) is an urban planner and cultural organizer focusing on the role of arts and creativity in community development. Prior to becoming the Chief of Arts and Culture, she served as the Director of Policy and Planning for the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. Kara’s work to implement Boston Creates, Boston’s 10-year cultural plan, includes creating new resources for local artists, developing a public art program, and supporting the development of cultural facilities. Originally from Providence, Rhode Island, Kara received her bachelor’s from the University of Chicago and her Master in City Planning from MIT.

Tim Hall (he/him) is a musician and performance poet from Detroit, MI, now residing in Boston. His poetry draws inspiration from his lived experiences – charting the nuances of blackness, masculinity, and the beauties of life. He’s an Assistant Professor in the Professional Music Department at Berklee College of Music, was nominated for Session Musician of the Year by the Boston Music Awards (2018, 2019), received a 2019 Artist Luminary Award from local youth arts non-profit Zumix, and was honored by WBUR’s Artery 25 as 1 of 25 millennials of color impacting Arts and Culture in Boston.


Fill out the 2020 Census

Census data affects our communities in many ways, such as the free and reduced school lunch program, affordable housing, hospital funding, and emergency assistance. You have the power to help by filling out your census. 


Register to vote! 

Massachusetts’ State Primary Election is September 1, and the registration deadline is August 22. Find your voting info:

Massachusetts Voter Table compiled election turnout data for Upham’s Corner in comparison to the City of Boston as a whole, over the past several years, which is visualized below: 

Upham’s Corner Main Street Community Preservation Act Virtual Meetings

Join Upham’s Corner Main Street this month for a Community Preservation Act Meet and Greet on July 21st and 28th from 12pm to 1pm. Learn more about the Community Preservation Act, and share your project ideas with the CPA team! Please RSVP by emailing You will receive a login link after you sign up.  

Upham’s Corner Health Center hosts a food pantry every Wednesday at 2pm at 415 Columbia Rd, Dorchester.


About Land Acknowledgements:

Company One Theatre is based in Boston, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Wampanoag and Massachusett People.

“Acknowledgment is a simple, powerful way of showing respect and a step toward correcting the stories and practices that erase Indigenous people’s history and culture and toward inviting and honoring the truth.” Honor Native Land: A Guide and Call to Acknowledgement

More info:

  • Download Native Land Digital’s Native Land Map to identify the territories your city or town is built upon.
  • Learn about the Mashpee Wampanoag’s fight to retain their current land in trust and sign their petition to show your support here.
  • The Navajo Nation has the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the country. Donate to grassroots organizations within the Navajo community, such as: Food Baskets for the Elderly, Navajo Strong, and Orenda Tribe Covid Response.

Company One Theatre is curating
the Better Future Series to AMPLIFY…

  • the work of individuals and organizations who are serving our communities

  • supporting artists through engagement, exposure and compensation, while prioritizing early-career artists, artists of color and those affected by loss of work due to COVID-19

  • theatre’s responsibility to provide audiences with experiences in true empathy, while demonstrating the undeniable relationship between empathy and social change

  • that though we may be physically distant, we can collectively fight for social justice

© 2020 Company One — Boston Theatre tel: 617.292.7110 — fax: 617.307.4475 — email: — 539 Tremont St — Boston, MA 02116