The Follow Friday posts are back!
We look at communities remembering their own stories and pulling together to give to the arts, philanthropy from donors and from theatre companies themselves, playwrights living in towns small and large. We also look at theatre companies working together and, well, working at all. And we check into the New York Public Library for some fun and games. These are the stories we’ve been following at 2amt this week.
Kris Vire on location, location, location
A look at Theatre Seven’s Chicago Landmark Project, a collection of short plays inspired by specific locations. The shows have their first previews tonight. Instead of inspiring future productions of this work, their hope is to inspire other places, other communities, to put together their own landmark projects. So let’s get on that.
Laura Axelrod on her town
Do you have to live in a city to be a playwright? Laura Axelrod asks and answers that question by sharing her own experiences. She continues by highlighting the benefits, the changes and the disadvantages of working from a small town. Finally, other thoughts and considerations. An excellent series of posts.
Howard Sherman on taking a break
Taking a break from the American Theatre Wing blog, Howard Sherman writes for the New York Times, suggesting that we stop and smell the roses. Is seeing too much theatre a bad thing? Do we spend too much time in the dark? Mark Shenton responds from across the ocean.
Euan Kerr on a free for all
In Minneapolis, Mixed Blood Theatre has decided to stop charging admission for mainstage productions. AD Jack Reuler calls it “radical hospitality.” Admission will be first-come, first-served. What some of the recent “are they crazy?” conversations online have missed is the fact that patrons don’t have to gamble on that–they’ll be able to reserve seats for $15. Are they crazy? Maybe. Like foxes.
Sasha Hnatkovich does the math
Can we do less, but better, with the same amount of funding? Sasha Hnatkovich of the Marin Theatre Company tries to follow the logic of Ralph Remington of the NEA and John McGuirk of the Hewlett Foundation as presented at the 2011 Theatre Bay Area Annual Conference. He’s not sure their numbers add up.
Aaron Andersen makes a federal case
Over at Createquity, Aaron walks us through the “sausage factory of government spending,” pointing out why it’s important to understand how and why it works. He also reminds us that we need to pay attention to more than questions of funding for the arts.
Bill Zlatos on Pittsburgh’s giving
Earlier this month, the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and The Heinz Endowments initiated the Arts Day of Giving, sponsored by The Pittsburgh Foundation.. This was a 24-hour long, online campaign, a challenge to raise money against matching grants. Did it work? They raised $1,410,617.00, with a final matching percentage of 34%. Let’s see how many other cities and communities take up the larger challenge of trying an Arts Day.
Jonah Lehrer on unconventional wisdom
When does the bounty of information and the solicitation of opinions become too much? Jonah Lehrer looks at the wisdom of crowds and the independence of individual thought.
James Still on remembering the future
In his keynote address at the Cohen New Works Festival at the University of Texas at Austin, James Still stops to take in the world, and takes us with him in the process. Creativity, individuality, observation and, in the end, connection.
Maxine Kern on women in theatre
From literary manager to artistic director, producer to dramaturg, Maxine Kern has had an amazing career. Here, she talks about the difference between working on new works and revivals, as well as her hopes for women in the current and future world of theatre.
Joanna Harmon on working together
As part of TCG’s What If…? series of blog posts, Joanna Harmon asks, “What if small companies and loose collectives of theatre artists were enabled by a single group of administrators, rather than each company reinventing its administrative wheel?” How would this work? It already is working in a few places. J. C. Lee responds, asking why we create our own companies to begin with, and why it’s important for artists to have a firm understanding of the business side of things.
James Fritz on the dearth of young male playwrights
In the Guardian, James Fritz panics at the thought that young male playwrights aren’t being adequately represented on the British stage. Meanwhile, Kimberly Lew picks his article apart, noting that the status quo is in no danger. Instead of focusing on what a wider, more diverse pool of writers takes away from one group, why not celebrate what they add to the art as a whole?
Charles McGrath on a literary shuffle
This is why we love the Elevator Repair Service. Having adapted and performed the totality of The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises as well as the first chapter of The Sound and the Fury, they devised a mashup of the three–to be performed in 22 minutes–and presented their Shuffle at the New York Public Library. You know you want to see this.
Elizabeth Keim on a flash mob in blank verse
Jane McGonigal devised a game as part of the New York Public Library’s anniversary celebration, Find the Future. Elizabeth went along for the challenge, a 24-hour sleepover at the library that, ideally, would end with a 600-page, group-written epic aided by–and tasked with unlocking–the secrets of the NYPL. Did it work?