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BRIDGE BUILDER CULTURAL FUSION'S PRODUCTIONS EMPHASIZE DIVERSITY AND SERVE UNDERREPRESENTED AUDIENCES. BY RANDY NOLES hen Ken Brown moved to Orlando four years ago from Los Angeles, he said he was “amazed” by the number of performance venues and theatrical productions he found. But, in a community with such a diverse population, Brown was also surprised that relatively few works by African-American or Hispanic playwrights were being staged. “African-American and Latino voices just weren’t being consistently W heard,” says Brown, 60, originally from Youngstown, Ohio. So, in the spring of 2014, Brown ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Since then, Cultural Fusion has held a successful children’s theater workshop in the ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������- dell Theater at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center in Loch Haven Park. More recently, Brown’s organization has found a home in the Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. “Since the arts center’s inception, it’s been our goal to ensure that all cultures and art forms are celebrated in our building,” says LaVon Bracy Davis, director of community relations and outreach. “Cultural Fusion is one of many organizations that help us to be a multifaceted and diverse arts destination.” Bracy Davis read about Cultural Fusion ��������������������������������������������������������������������Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years, in April of last year. The warmhearted show, written by Emily Mann, is about a pair of talkative centenarian sisters who reminisce about their lives at the behest of a writer. Brown, who served as producer and director, was encouraged by Bracy Davis to bring his next production to the arts center. Bolstered by positive response to the threeshow run of Having Our Say, he followed up in October with the more ambitious Crowns: FALL 2016 | artsLife 27


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