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CHAMPAIGN, IL — A gender-inclusive group of over 70 community performers are coming together for one night only to perform playwright Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues to raise money and awareness for local domestic violence program Courage Connection.

The show will take place at the historic Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign on Friday, August 25, 2017, at 7:30pm (doors open at 6:30pm). Tickets go on sale to the public Friday, August 11, at 10:00am online at www.thevirginia.org, at the Virginia Theatre box office, or charge by phone at 217-356-9063.

The Vagina Monologues is based on V-Day founder/playwright/activist/performer Eve Ensler’s more than 200 interviews with women about their views on sex, relationships, and violence against women. With both humor and grace, the piece celebrates sexuality and strength. For more than a decade, The Vagina Monologues has given voice to experiences and feelings not previously exposed in public and brought a deeper consciousness to the conversation around ending violence against women and girls. It has been translated into 48 languages and performed in over 140 countries.

Performer and University of Illinois student Jess Peterson said, “I’m ecstatic to be a part of the Vagina Monologues because it means finding community outside of just the University student body and becoming introduced to individuals whose lives may not look exactly like mine. The stories featured in these monologues may not have always had the audience or open ears they deserved at the time. I cannot wait to stand onstage at the Virginia Theatre and be a vessel, one voice in many, to help change that.”

Event organizers Molly McLay and January Boten have planned the performance, at the Virginia, as a fundraiser for Courage Connection, a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation that provides housing and supportive services to individuals and families who are victims of domestic violence. Earlier this year, after over $300,000.00 in contracted funding from the State of Illinois was not paid, Courage Connection was in danger of laying off staff and closing its doors, bringing to a sudden halt a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, free counseling, court advocacy, transitional housing, job readiness programs, parenting education, children’s programs, safety planning, and more. With the funding challenges continuing, McLay and Boten wanted to harness community support for Courage Connection with a live, gender-inclusive performance of Ensler’s award-winning play.

Performer and local poet Chocolate Star (Shaya Robinson) said, “Going from living in a women’s shelter as a kid to volunteering at Courage Connection as an adult, it’s my duty to support those that need it. As a child we weren’t there long but it helped when moving from one city to another to gain footing. I’m grateful to have seen women at Courage Connection go on to live great lives with their children the same way my mother was able to do. These women and their children deserve a fair chance.”

For more on Courage Connection, visit courageconnection.org.