We had the good fortune of connecting with Alyssa Salter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alyssa, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
New Match Collective has one main goal: hear the unheard, voice the voiceless, and see the unseen. This includes the people that we hire to work on our stage and behind the scenes, but also in how we work in the community. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been donating our time to online performances where the funds go to a local organization. We look for organizations that help marginalized people, like unhoused persons or survivors of abuse. Outside of our response to Covid, we have focused on telling stories that often go unheard. We enjoy pairing classical or traditional texts with non-traditional interpretations. Our current focus has been on William Shakespeare. Why focus on the bard? Shakespeare is free, which allows us to cut down on costs. It is well known and a recognizable name, which helps reach our audience. But the stories have been repeated for hundreds of years, studied in schools, and there are still endless ways to present it. The impact of non-traditional casting is representation. There is not one way to live, one way to process the world, one way to exists, one way to love, etc. Our goal is to explore the diverse ways of the world. For instance, New Match Collective did a performance of William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” with a cast made up of women and non-binary performers. Every aspect of that show was colored by the experiences of the marginalized people in the room. We had performersof color, people who had never done Shakespeare, seasoned professionals, and LGBTQIA+ representation. There was fight choreography, sweat, grit, and a post apocalyptic setting. We were called many things…Radical. Experimental. Unconventional. Non-tradition. But what we were really doing was making an impact and showing the world these unseen people. This is how we impact our community. We give a platform and then reflect it back to the rest of the community.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
New Match Collective started out because of a desire to have stories reflected on stage that I experienced in life. The stories that made me feel most alone until they were shared and I realized it was a common thread through so many other people. One of the catalysts was when I was exploring playwriting while in graduate school. I got the urge to write down all the mixed stories and experiences I had with online dating, which morphed into a play, which morphed into a staged reading, a workshop, a production, a theatre company. We were grassroots. We focused on the humanity of who these people could be in the stories that made us laugh and cry. It was collaborative, unknown territory that we dove into without hesitation. That was in 2015. Now, in 2021, we have learned many lessons: Always be transparent. Honesty is best. Boundaries are meant to be upheld and respected. All bodies are good bodies. Inclusivity is a verb, the same way being anti-racist is a verb. Growth can be uncomfortable but is worth it. These are ideas that we still talk about, several years later. It is a forward momentum of change and exploration of the community we live in. It is a lot of asking questions and seeing if we can find something that feels like a solid answer.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
A week long trip with my best friend would include a taco shop tasting tour, an exploration of the different beaches in the city, and a definite visit to Balboa Park. During Covid-19, I’ve been a huge fan of shopping small at farmers markets and other outdoor markets. A personal favorite and a definite visit would be Walk The Block in Barrio Logan. It has art, food, beer, clothing, and a variety of small shops safely gathering to do a market on the weekend. It is a 10/10 experience for sure!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would not be where I was if it wasn’t for the core people in my life. For one, my partner has been a huge pillar of support in the work of the company. Jasmin Haddad is one of the most caring and patient people. They are passionate about equal housing opportunities, safe work places, education of justice issues, and the protection of LGBTQIA+ people (to name a few). Not only do they help with supporting the company and our projects, but they also support me and educate me. My partner is excellent at continuously helping me be a better person, learn to listen, and to stay humble. Another person I want to credit is the CFO of New Match Collective, Ell Rudgers. They save my back constantly with handling finances and budgets, but they also remind me to take care of myself. This important when you’re someone like me who will throw themselves 100% into a project without a plan on how to pull themselves back. I’d definitely be in burn out city without the two of them.