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Scene Change: Alan Harrison in conversation with Ariel Fristoe

Event date: 
Friday, April 12, 2024 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm

This event takes place in person at Charis and on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. This event is free, but registration is required for virtual attendance. Click here to register to attend virtually. Please read the in-person event guidelines at the bottom of this page to be sure you can participate in the event.

Charis welcomes author Alan Harrison in conversation with Out of Hand Theater founder, Ariel Fristoe for a discussion of Scene Change: Why Today's Nonprofit Arts Organizations Have to Stop Producing Art and Start Producing Impact. The night will include a short performance about Health Equity and a dynamic conversation about how nonprofit organizations like Out of Hand Theater are using art and social justice to create change! This event is co-sponsored by Out of Hand Theater. Out of Hand works at the intersection of art, social justice, and civic engagement. They use the tools of theater to advance racial and economic justice through programs that combine theater and film with information and conversation. They produce Equitable Dinners—city-wide conversations on racial equity over dinner, launched by short plays—and Shows in Homes addressing social justice issues. Through Creative Kids, they help close the opportunity gap for low-income students through free school programs.

Nonprofit arts organizations have to place nonprofit ahead of arts in order to thrive in these pre-post-pandemic days. Most currently don't. Scene change is a phrase tied to the arts when discussing a literal change from one scene in a play to another, eliciting a new time, place, and situation. Here, however, it refers to actions made at this pivotal moment within the entire sector, where the rules that went into play over half a century ago can no longer apply for the arts to serve their nonprofit purpose. That charitable purpose - to help those who need the help - cannot exist in an environment of privilege, exclusivity, and the subjective concept of excellence. Excellence does not put food on a hungry person's table, if they even have a table. In his brilliantly unpretentious, snarky, and hilarious style, Alan Harrison pulls no punches. He identifies and addresses elitism, defines and defuses toxicity, and provides outlines for success, including a hopeful prediction for the future. This book also provides context for the pinball journeys of a 30-year adventure, leading nonprofit arts organizations in America - warts and all.

Alan Harrison is a writer, father, performer, consultant, nonprofit expert, recovering artist, and the author of the soon-to-be-best-seller “Scene Change.” For 30 years, he has led, produced, directed, promoted, raised money for, starred and failed in over 300 theatrical productions on and Off-Broadway and at prestigious (and not so prestigious) nonprofit arts organizations across the country, including the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. He’s also a two-time “Jeopardy!” champion so, you know, there’s that. The arts invoke passion (mostly from artists), but nonprofit arts are only successful when they result in measurably positive change among those that need it most. When a nonprofit’s donors are also its recipients, then its mission devolves into meaningless puffery, flapdoodle, and codswallop.

Ariel Fristoe is the founder and Artistic Director of Out of Hand Theater, winner of The New York Times Best Theater of 2020 and the Governor’s Award in the Arts and Humanities 2021. Ariel is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta, Regional Leadership Institute and Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta, and a LINK Trip delegate. The AJC named her an Everyday Hero in 2022, and Georgia Trend named her one of Georgia’s 500 Most Influential Leaders in 2023. She teaches Arts Management at Emory.

The event is free and open to all people, but we encourage and appreciate a donation of $5-20 in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Donate on crowdcast or via our website: or in person the night of the event.

In-person event guidelines: 

  • All attendees must wear a face mask at all times inside the building 

  • We will begin seating people at 7:00 PM ET.

  • This event will be live-streamed via crowdcast. Click here to register to attend virtually.

  • As a reminder: If you are not feeling well, please do not come to the event.

  • If you have any questions regarding these guidelines or to request specific accessibility accommodations, please contact or call the store at 404-524-0304

If you would like to watch the virtual event with computer-generated captions, please watch in Google Chrome and enable captions. If you have other accessibility needs or if you are someone who has skills in making digital events more accessible please don't hesitate to reach out to We are actively learning the best practices for this technology and we welcome your feedback as we continue to connect across distances.

By attending our event you agree to our Code of Conduct: Our event seeks to provide a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), class, or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate. Anyone violating these rules will be expelled from this event and all future events at the discretion of the organizers. Please report all harassment to immediately.

Event address: 
A Charis Hybrid (in-person + virtual) Event
184 S. Candler Street
Decatur, GA 30030
Scene Change: Why Today's Nonprofit Arts Organizations Have to Stop Producing Art and Start Producing Impact By Alan Harrison Cover Image
ISBN: 9781803414461
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Changemakers Books - February 1st, 2024

'Alan is a visionary who believes that theatre changes lives for the better, and who creates teams who make sure that it does.' Russell Willis Taylor, Former CEO, National Arts Strategies

Pre-Order Now Badge
Scene Change 2: The Five Real Responsibilities of Nonprofit Arts Boards By Alan Harrison Cover Image
ISBN: 9781803416984
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Changemakers Books - January 1st, 2025

Event Summary: 
The night will include a short performance about Health Equity and a dynamic conversation about how nonprofit organizations like Out of Hand Theater are using art and social justice to create change!