Aurora Womens Empowerment Foundation Makes Grant Possible

AURORA, IL, USA, October 26, 2021 – The Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation (AWEF) has awarded Paramount Theatre a grant to support two female-focused Paramount Theatre programs starting in 2021 and 2022, with plans to continue funding the programs year after year.

The first of the two programs is the Paramount School of the Arts Theatre for Young Audiences touring show to bring the play Adelita—a musical odyssey that follows a 17-year old female folk hero of the Mexican Revolution—to local schools throughout Aurora for free. The second program—Paramount Theatre’s Inception Project—provides staged readings of world-premiere theatrical works written by, produced, and/or performed by female artists, including those from the black, indigenous, and BIPOC community.

“We believe in the power of the Paramount Theatre,” said Amy Baudouin, Board Chair, Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation (AWEF). “We have seen what Paramount has done to lift and transform Aurora, especially our downtown. And now, with this grant, we’re excited to see how they can help us in our mission to reimagine a women’s empowerment movement so that women and girls of all ages, races, ethnicities, and income levels feel respected and valued, and are nurtured to achieve their fullest potential.”

Both programs will be accompanied by talkback discussions and close examination of the play’s circumstances, characters, and themes. Talkbacks are designed to inspire thought-provoking conversations and spark meaningful action. The discussions will be facilitated by a subject matter expert and feature a panel from the artistic team including the playwright, director, and performers.

Amber Mak

As we champion the current and on-going fight for equality, female-led, centered, and imagined storytelling opens the door to elevate the conversation on diversity, equity, and inclusion for women and girls in the greater Aurora Community and beyond,” said Amber Mak, Artistic Producer and New Works Director, Paramount Theatre. “With help from the Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation, we can expand our efforts to improve the lives of the women in the region by leveraging Paramount’s artistic and social mission in a time where our community is reaching out for connection. AWEF’s long-term investment in these programs makes a tremendous difference in achieving our goals.”

New plays, focused on theatre for young audiences and high-impact student engagement, are vital to Aurora community members because they reflect, chronicle, and question the ideas, issues, and stories of our time. Said Jessica Duplessis, Director of Education and Community Engagement at Paramount, “As we set our sights on the future, Paramount acknowledges and understands that diverse stories, artists, audiences, institutions, and leadership are essential to an equitable world. We are committed to creating a platform where they are embraced and nurtured.”

“No doubt, this is quite the ambitious undertaking,” said Amy Baudouin. “But few cities have what we have with the Paramount—an artistic and educational force not only to build strong communities but to create positive and long lasting social change. To say that the AWEF board is excited about these two new Paramount programs focused on women’s empowerment is quite the understatement!”

To learn more about the Paramount Theatre and Paramount School of the Arts, visit


The Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation mission is to elevate and empower Aurora-area women and future women by making grants to tax-exempt nonprofits engaged in meaningful, measurable work that helps women over the hurdles of inequity and exclusion, propelling them forward with life-changing programs and services.  For more information about grants made by AWEF, including our grant guidelines and online application, visit

Paramount Theatre is the center for performing arts and education in downtown Aurora.

Dedicated to making the performing arts accessible for every age and socioeconomic background, introducing the magic of live theater across generations to encourage expansive imaginations and broad views of people and the world, and contributing to the future stability and growth of Aurora’s downtown, Paramount Theatre is committed to be a defining catalyst in the arts and in the community.

Since launching its own Broadway Series in 2011, Paramount has amassed more than 41,000 subscribers, making it the second largest subscription house in the U.S. Today, Paramount Theatre is nationally known for its high-quality productions, superb acoustics, and historic grandeur.  For more information, visit

The Paramount School of the Arts opened on June 1, 2019 and anchors the John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center directly adjacent to Paramount Theatre. The School encourages and trains young actors, dancers, and musicians for a culture-filled life, nurturing the arts in Chicago’s western suburbs and adding to the cultural and economic activity in downtown Aurora. Courses for children as young as six months are offered with opportunities for adults and seniors as well. For more, visit