by Heather Bishop
Gathered today at the Vortex Theater in Austin, Texas, members of Austin’s theater community watched final discussions from both ideological and practical perspectives.
From Kristoffer Diaz’ points regarding the documentation of diversity efforts in theater and the definition of an American play regardless of accent or region to very moving points made by Amy Freed regarding the role of brave artist in the preservation of the literary in theater, Austin heard and dissected the words of each speaker with keen interest.
Of particular note was developing greater relationships between the theater community and the broader community at large, with Lisa Kron’s comments about marketing and publicity sparking much interest.
Accessibility was also a point of discussion in Austin, with Steven Sapp’s comments about inclusivity moving members to point out that the very nature of live telecast and web technology increased conference accessibility, along with a responsibility of those in attendance to return to their respective communities and share their knowledge.
The product of our discussions included a commitment to focus a coordinated season of outreach beyond the traditional community of play attendees, a season pass program to include multiple theaters, participation efforts with local festivals, research into new mentoring programs, and coordination in the development of local writer databases.
Without question today’s gathering served as an excellent opportunity to develop new ideas as well as an opportunity to revisit ideas not previously developed.
Born in New York to West Indian parents, Heather Bishop is a writer and musician from Austin Texas. Her first book and second cd will be released later this year.