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Cover Story: Quitters Never Prosper

D. Lynn Meyers' metaphorical theater

By Donica Harris · May 9th, 2002 · Cover Story
  To D. Lynn Meyers, theater is a metaphor for social change.
Wendy Uhlman

To D. Lynn Meyers, theater is a metaphor for social change.

"Power is about not quitting. You can't quit in the theater, and you can't quit on 12th and Vine."

In the context of theater in Cincinnati and the realities of theater in general, that's brutally honest.

Coming from D. Lynn Meyers, producing artistic director of Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati (ETC), it's telling of what she wants to accomplish and all she has to say.

And she means it, literally and figuratively.

"By hiring me, they knew they didn't hire someone who would do The Odd Couple," Meyers says.

ETC is housed in a historic building just across from the downtown business district in Over-the-Rhine. It's a professional equity theater, something very important to Meyers.

"We care about health and money," she says about her company. "It's dedicated to showcasing new works and works new to the area."

In her position since 1995, Meyers was last year recognized as one of eight YWCA Career Women of Achievement. She's honored, of course, but unimpressed with herself.

"I just see what I do as (being) what I do every day," she says.

Her definition of power is likewise as nonchalant, yet just as obvious.

"I guess power is the ability to try to help positive things," she says.

Through programs like Prelude Project and Adopt-A-School, Meyers wants to empower area children. Empowerment through the arts is paramount to individual development, she says.

"I think the Prelude Project is one of the strongest things ETC has ever done," Meyers says."If you give children a voice for their hopes, fears and dreams, it gives them a real sense of empowerment."

So what's in store for ETC's theatrical gift to Cincinnati? The current staging of Cowgirls will be followed by The Frog Princess. It's a typically diverse bag of tricks for the little theater that could and does.

"We just don't change who we are," Meyers says of the show.

She could be speaking just as easily of herself.



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