In 1997, Carrie Gibson founded Had To Be Productions, named for its inaugural production of Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna’s It Had To Be You selected as the Outstanding Independently-produced Play for 1997 by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. This comedy allowed Gibson and Anthony Curry to meet and perform together for the first time. In her first original project for Had To Be, Gibson created a one-woman show on cultural diversity, Not Until You Know My Story. The following year Curry joined her to create the play, Not Just Ramps, which evolved out of the intense audience response to the character of Emily, a young woman with cerebral palsy and Curry’s personal experience raising his son Adam who is autistic. They have been an acting and writing team ever since. In 2008 they updated Not Until You Know My Story and integrated Curry into the performance. They created Into the Fire in 2009 followed by Because You Know Me in 2010 and The Gender Agenda in 2011.
Had to Be Productions has toured unique theatrical documentary plays and workshops throughout the country to government agencies, corporations, educational institutions, and conferences. These presentations have been seen by audiences as small as a dozen people to over 1000 people in a variety of settings and venues. Had to Be Productions has performed in 24 states and, in 2010, officially became an international touring company with its first presentation in Toronto, Canada.
To engage the imagination and inspire active empathy through original theatrical documentary plays and workshops designed to enlighten, entertain and enhance a sense of community within the organization.
We create our plays from the words of people we interview. We use their words as they are said to us. We then weave each story together to create an emotional journey and context for the play while honoring the individual stories of each character. It is our hope that people will use the play as a springboard for a deep and honest discussion that addresses issues that may or may not have been included in the specific play. The purpose of the play is to inspire a workshop discussion that will touch on issues that are perhaps uncomfortable but necessary for true inclusion. After the play we will model and teach a tool that will encourage individuals to raise issues that need to be addressed to enhance inclusion and increase the productivity of the organization as a whole.
Carrie Gibson, M.A. Psychology, worked for a variety of social service agencies and has created and led numerous groups, workshops and retreats focusing on issues of addiction and family dynamics. Since 1989 she has also pursued a career as an actor, teacher and playwright and was the founding Artistic Director of G.A.P. (Growth and Prevention) Theatre, one of Seattle’s most successful educational theatre companies. She brings over 25 years of facilitation skills to her work and is particularly focused on the intersection of empathy and inclusion. Ms. Gibson has performed comedy and improvisation in California, Washington State and D.C. She has produced and performed in It Had to Be You, Anthony Curry’s Divine Hysteria: that Millennium Thing and The Perfect Sister, her solo play that premiered in Los Angeles. And if you do not blink, you might catch her in an occasional national commercial.
Anthony Paul Curry, Ed. B Theater and Communication, brings 40 years of experience as an actor, director, playwright and teacher. He is the recipient of numerous acting awards as well as the 2000 Artist Trust Fellowship for Playwrights. He has performed on stages across the country from New York to Hawaii. Television credits include: The Fugitive, Northern Exposure, Jake & the Fat Man, Tour of Duty, and Hawaiian Heat. As a writer, Curry was commissioned by the Seattle Opera to co-create a children’s adaptation of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Divine Hysteria: Armageddon Outta Here, the first of his Hysteria Trilogy, was produced Off-Broadway in New York. His interest in using theatre as a medium for social engagement and dialogue began in 1993 when he co-founded T.A.L.K. Theatre, a touring company that taught sexual abuse prevention in Washington State schools.