I want to bring to your attention that we have launched the call for Breakout session proposals and TCG Awards nominations for the 2011 TCG National Conference in Los Angeles, June 16-18. Breakout session ideas should emerge from our main Conference question, “What If…?”, and the Conference tracks are outlined on the proposal web page to help inspire your thinking. We are also launching the second and third phases of our current Field Conversations—the State of the Artists Survey that will gather information on the lives of theatre artists working in the U.S. and a series of Town Hall meetings on this topic. If your theatre is interested in hosting a Town Hall, check out the guidelines and sign up!
This Monday, at St Patrick’s Cathedral, I joined with thousands to mourn the passing of Ellen Stewart, the legendary founder of La MaMa E.T.C. Frank Carucci, president of the Board of La MaMa said, “Ellen died before the 50th year anniversary of La Mama in the fall. Let’s keep LaMaMa E.T.C. alive for the next 50 years.” Martha Coigney, former director of the International Theatre Institute-U.S. (ITI-U.S.), was reflecting on Ellen’s importance and her persistence in bringing an international consciousness to the U.S. theatre community. She describes Ellen as the “walking manifestation of what ITI was meant to do. She really believed that her artistic territory was the whole world.” In the early 1960s, she was the only one who was bringing foreign artists to the U.S. as part of her central mission. Artists, such as Polish director Tadeusz Kantor, were introduced to the U.S. for the first time. Of course, her achievements and her impact touched many people in so many ways. Our condolences go to Ellen’s entire family and the La MaMa community.
We’ve been in touch with our TCG member theatres and artists in Tucson, including David Ira Goldstein (Arizona Theatre Company), Barclay Goldsmith (Borderlands Theater) and Susan Claassen (Invisible Theatre), following the abhorrent shooting that took place last weekend. Our colleagues report on the growing tension in Arizona in recent years and the troubling fact that this type of incident, “both is and is not, at the same time, unexpected.” But they also comment on the strong coming together of the community. And in many ways, theatre proved itself to be a place for healing conversations that help audiences and community members process tragic incidents such as this one.
We are outraged by this attack on public servants, and send our wishes for healing and recovery to Arizona and to the victims and their families.