Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. for a local production of The Vagina Monologues at The Virginia Theatre. Proceeds from the event will benefit Courage Connection. If you've never seen a performance of the show before, it's well worth your time. The stories are funny, heart-breaking, and powerful, and what a cool opportunity to hear them told through the voices of our own community. You can check out some of the performers on the Facebook event page

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 Diane Pritchard said, “Every person needs to hear these stories - the fears, the joys, the pains, the humor, the anxieties, the rage, the insecurities -- all of it. There is a warmth and sense of fellowship in the sharing and a love that is felt as that which we never speak of is spoken. I have grown as a person just by being a part of this.”

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.

“I care about sharing the stories that we don't hear -- stories of women, stories about vaginas, stories about people who are told their voices should be silent.” said McLay, also performing in the show. “I care about ending gender-based violence, and I care about the agencies that do so, like Courage Connection. I am proud to stand before C-U with such powerful storytellers and friends.”

For more on Courage Connection, visit http://courageconnection.org/. For interview requests, contact Molly McLay (mollymclay@gmail.com) or January Boten (january.boten@gmail.com).