Metro Theater Company (MTC), St. Louis’s premiere theater for youth and families, presents a special virtual event for families this December to help keep the community connected during a holiday season that has been transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

MTC’s A Christmas Carol brings together artists, athletes, civic leaders, media personalities, and first responders, for a streamed reading of Charles Dickens holiday classic Thursday, December 10 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 13 at 2:30 p.m. The public can register for free or make a donation with their registration. As a thanks for a donation of $50 or greater, audiences can receive a commemorative DVD or digital download of the broadcast. The DVDs will be available for all donations made through January 1, 2021.

The beloved holiday story of redemption, transformation, and goodwill comes to life in this all-St. Louis reading. Metro Theater Company Artistic Director Julia Flood adapted the story to produce the hour-long program.

More than 25 outstanding St. Louisans serve as readers for the broadcast, each contributing excerpts on camera, stitched together to create the final broadcast. While additional readers will still be announced, the lineup includes Emmy-nominated television star Ellie Kemper, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, two-time Tony Award-winning actress Judith Ivey, St. Louis Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak, Grammy Award-winning soprano Christine Brewer, film, stage and voice actor Ken Page, nationally syndicated columnist and St. Louis Post-Dispatch editor Aisha Sultan, St. Louis-based American Ninja Warrior Jamie Rahn, president of the St. Louis Black Authors of Children’s Literature Julius B. Anthony, and medical director for the St. Louis Fire Department Mark Levine

Metro Theater Company’s virtual reading follows a long tradition of readings of Dickens’ novella. Public readings of A Christmas Carol—one of the most beloved and famous holiday stories ever written—have been around since 1853. Dickens adapted the work for public readings, doing more than 120 performances until his death in 1870. The popularity of the readings—staged readings, radio-style readings, family readings, and now virtual readings—continues as does the enchantment of the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, and his transformation into a sympathetic man through visits from the ghost of Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. 

All funds raised through donations to this event will support MTC’s programs during COVID-19 to connect young people to the power and impact of theater, through live performances, virtual programs, and arts-integrated classroom experiences. Corporate and individual sponsorships are available.

WHEN:       Thursday, December 10 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 13 at 2:30 p.m.  

WHERE:       Virtual Event at http://metroplays.org/christmascarol 

TICKETSTickets are free. Donations are appreciated. Registration is required to receive the link for streaming.

A downloadable digital recording or commemorative DVD is available through January 1, 2021 with a donation of $50. Donors who give $250 or greater will receive the recording as well as a commemorative set of MTC mugs and a hot chocolate mix from St. Louis’s own Kakao Chocolates.

To register for free or to make a donation, please visit http://metroplays.org/christmascarol

NOTES:        A Christmas Carol: A St. Louis Virtual Holiday Reading is 60 minutes and recommended for ages 6 and up

Major support for Metro Theater Company is provided by Emerson, Centene, Arts & Education Council, Berges Family Foundation, Kranzberg Arts Foundation, Missouri Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and Regional Arts Commission. 

About Metro Theater Company: Since 1973, Metro Theater Company has been creating productions that respect young people’s intelligence, tell compelling stories, stimulate curiosity and provoke thoughtful reflection. The Company has reached a total audience of more than two million and has a national reputation for excellence in the field of professional theater for young audiences. Metro Theater Company has received major honors and awards, both locally and nationally. The company is led by Artistic Director Julia Flood and Managing Director Joe Gfaller. For more information, visit http://metroplays.org

Joan Lipkin, noted community activist, theatre artist and artistic director of That Uppity Theatre Company, has been selected for one of the first inaugural Bravely awards, to recognize women in St. Louis who exemplify courage. In the invitation, Joan is described as “fearlessly creative.”“It is encouraging that a human rights organization that provides services to women who have been sexually trafficked or exploited who are in recovery recognizes the role of art in promoting a more just society,” she said. 

Bravely Inc., formerly Magdalene St. Louis, a Missouri nonprofit corporation, will present its Inaugural Bravely Awards ceremony at a luncheon on Thursday, April 11, at Patty Long’s Ninth Street Abbey, located at 1808 S. 9th Street in the historic Soulard neighborhood, St. Louis.

The luncheon takes place from noon to 1:15 p.m. (with networking and registration from 11:30 to 12:00) and all proceeds from this event will go directly to Bravely, a residential program for women who have survived sexual exploitation (prostitution and trafficking), abuse and addiction.

The inaugural honorees include: the Rev. Traci Blackmon, head of the Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ and a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement; Joan Lipkin, community activist and the founder and artistic director of That Uppity Theatre Company; Christine McDonald, author, social justice advocate and survivor of human trafficking, homelessness and addiction; and Aisha Sultan, a nationally syndicated columnist and filmmaker whose work includes a focus on how social change impacts families.

The Bravely Awards were established to honor individuals or organizations that have strengthened our community by bringing attention to social justice issues including sexual exploitation, abuse and addiction. Awardees have demonstrated the highest level of commitment and dedication to the mission and vision of Bravely and furthered our cause through their life’s work.

“These women have dedicated their lives – personally and professionally – to create awareness and support issues and communities that are often at the margins of our society, such as the women we serve,” said Michelle Roberts, Bravely Executive Director. “We are grateful for their leadership and honored to have this opportunity to recognize them.”

Bravely helps women heal and rebuild their lives through free long-term housing, medical care, trauma therapy, education, and job readiness training. Since admitting its first resident in 2015, Bravely has served a total of 50 women on-site, in the building it purchased in the Old North neighborhood of St. Louis, and hundreds more through advocacy and referral.

Over a three year period, this translates to: • More than 6,800 nights of safe rest • More than 20,000 meals • More than 4,800 hours of group therapy Bravely has 501c3 status and operates in the City of St. Louis.

For more information about the April 11 event and to register to attend, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/inaugural-bravely-awards-luncheon-tickets-56429434959. www.bravely.org