Yesterday, March 27, was World Theatre Day. Theatre communities all across the globe marked the occasion with performances, events, special messages and informal gatherings at theatres, pubs and cafés. This year, TCG and the U.S. Center of International Theatre Institute (a division of TCG) invited Tony Award-winning actor Jeffrey Wright to compose a special U.S. message. The result is this lovely video that juxtaposes Jeffrey’s work as a stage actor with a profound theatrical experience he recently had while completing an economic development project in Sierra Leone. He emphasizes the importance, power and the art of listening. We dedicated this year’s World Theatre Day to the memory of La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart, an early pioneer in cultural exchange. I hope you will share this video or even the written messages (PDF) of Jeffrey and Jessica Kaahwa (who gave the international message) with your theatre staff, audience and community.
Recently, I presented here in New York on a panel at the Arts Reach Conference with Shayne Austin Miller, director of press and public relations at Paper Mill Playhouse. Under Shayne’s wise and creative direction, Paper Mill has been utilizing flash mobs, “living statues” and other public “interventions,” coupled with viral video strategies in order to promote their work and build awareness of the theatre. Shayne reports that it’s working to generate local excitement—AND one of their videos was even “trending” in Poland last week, which, of course, will not necessarily sell tickets in Milburn, New Jersey, but helps raise their profile in other important ways.