History

In the beginning

Our founder, Chris LaBanca, began Solid Lines Productions in 2013. The seed for this idea began as early as 2010, when Chris created The Aegis Project.

The Aegis Project was born from Chris’ desire to help open up dialogue in his community about the serious issue of rape. After he was introduced to the William Mastrosimone’s play, EXTREMITIES, he began The Aegis Project in western New York to raise awareness and engage in dialogue with as many people as possible.

After landing here in St. Louis, Chris realized that, in addition to domestic and sexual violence, we could use this format of theatre and conversation to bring awareness to many other social issues. We spotlight many issues that people no longer want to sweep under the rug, from sexual assault to race to mental health.

We strive to meet our missions and contribute to a better community by building a solid foundation that includes cultivating relationships, laying a solid foundation for our community outreach efforts, providing resources, and sustaining a spotlight on issues to better help our community.

In the words of actor, John Kaczorowski (one of the original cast members of the EXTREMITIES tour in New York under The Aegis Project), “There is power in communication.”

The call to action

There are moments in our life that shape who we are. In Chris’ life, one of those moments occurred during his junior year at SUNY Genesco.

Late at night, Chris made a call to a female friend. She didn’t answer. Unbeknownst to Chris, this call actually did wake his friend.

She woke to find herself in an unfamiliar bed, without pants, next to a man she didn’t know.

Unsure of what to do, she called Chris back. They met and he spent the rest of the night trying to convince her that this wasn’t her fault. He desperately wanted her to believe that being raped wasn’t her fault.

Chris began to understand that he was not prepared to support someone who had been sexually assaulted. As this understanding blossomed, he began to feel guilty and inadequate because he was unable to offer his friend anything in her time of need. 

In the next several weeks, he began to feel awful about how many years he spent joking about rape. Jokes that seemed innocent, came crashing back down to haunt him. “That test totally raped me,” “This game is over, the Giants are getting raped.”

During this self-reflection, Chris decided to take action. For his own education. For his friend. For the one in four women that are sexually assaulted in their lifetime in the U.S.

He chose live theatre to shine a spotlight on this silent epidemic of violence.

Why St. Louis?

St. Louis has a long history of being a great theatre town. The Midtown area, now Grand Center, was once hailed as the Broadway of the Midwest.

This city is also home to many resources to help those affected by sexual assault. Additionally, the people of St. Louis are finding a way to tackle social justice problems since the events in Ferguson and around the country to make a difference.

Chris believes that this city, with its roots, love, and passion, is the perfect place to build an institution that engages with its community.

Our Name

Solid Lines reinforces the belief that with consent, there aren’t any blurred lines. Beyond that, two solid lines reminds us why we are here – equality.

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