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Gala to raise money for youth theater tickets

Hillsboro's 'living room' site for party that funds free show tickets for teens

One day prior to transforming Hillsboro's Tom Hughes Civic Center Plaza into a mystical Restoration-era isle with its outdoor production of William Shakespeare's 'The Tempest, or The Enchanted Island' on July 28, Bag and Baggage Productions is converting the city's living room into an elegant dinner party atmosphere with its annual Gala Dinner and Auction.

The company's third annual event features an elaborate dinner by the Venetian Bistro in addition to a selection of wines from various local vineyards. Patrons will get a sneak peek of 'The Tempest' at the event, which will be emceed by Bag and Baggage artistic director Scott Palmer and actress Maggie Chapin.

The event also includes an auction and an opportunity to vote for which of The Bard's works will be featured at next year's outdoor Shakespeare performance.

Proceeds from the gala, which last year raised approximately $20,000, benefit Bag and Baggage's Ten4One Program, which provides free tickets to the company's performances for high school students in the area.

'We feel like every single student who graduates from a local high school and wants to see a professional theater performance should be able to,' said Palmer. 'We don't believe finances should be a barrier to that desire.'

Palmer said the easily-accessible program last year provided approximately 2,000 tickets to local youth. He hopes that this year will net even more proceeds, citing the importance of exposure to the arts as essential for student development.

He said the goal of the program is to eliminate barriers presented by school budget cuts to arts programs and encourage students to explore the world of the arts that is thriving in their communities.

'We want students to know that people are making art in our own back yard,' said Palmer. 'People are creating art in Hillsboro, where they live.

'This is not just a 'big city' activity. It's high-quality and accessible work right here in their own back yards, and we want them to know about it and be exposed to it.'

The Bag and Baggage Gala Dinner and Auction takes place Wednesday, July 27, at 6 p.m. at Tom Hughes Civic Center Plaza in downtown Hillsboro.

Tickets to the gala are $50. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 504-345-9590 or visit www.bagnbaggage.org.