TCG’s Artist Field Conversations project is wrapping up, and I want to thank those who participated in focus groups, promoted the State of the Artists survey, and hosted town hall meetings in your communities. With respect to the latter, special thanks to: About Face Theatre, Alliance Theatre, HERE, Jobsite Theater, Lark Play Development Center, New Georges, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Penobscot Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, San Diego Repertory Theatre, SITI Company, Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Westport Country Playhouse. Many others wanted to hold town halls with local artists and practitioners, but could not arrange them on their spring timetable. We hope to launch a new round this summer after we’ve published our initial report. We’ve learned quite a bit, and expect to make these “TCG talks” into a regular occurrence with specific guidelines and tips for conducting dialogue and acting upon suggestions.
As you may know, TCG Books is the largest independent publisher of dramatic literature in North America, and one of our authors is Donald Margulies. Last week, four New York Times journalists were captured and ultimately released in Libya. One of them was Lynsey Addario, an American photojournalist, who took the photo that is on the cover of Time Stands Still. Donald also interviewed her for background material for the play. This illustrates our small interconnected world and the creative proximity of theatre artists to events that are shaping the future—near and far. Lynsey’s website has a breathtaking collection of her photos.
Meanwhile, the TCG National Conference whiteboard sits near my office (in Jenni Werner’s office), and I am reminded regularly of how we’re progressing on registration and important upcoming deadlines, such as the early bird deadline on April 11, and how many weeks until we see many of you in Los Angeles—11. We began announcing some of our speakers this week, including Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian journalist, who has been actively covering events in the Middle East and was recently named as one of the most influential Arabs of 2011. We also look forward to hearing from futurist David Houle and from Todd London, New Dramatists artistic director, who will examine theatres’ founding visions and their impact on the landscape of today. We expect our Conference 2.0 social networking site for Conference registrants to go live next week. You will be able to start mingling there with other conferees and speakers and read more about sessions as they are set.
Indeed, L.A. will be the place to be in June. In addition to the TCG Conference, there are several other conferences and festivals taking place, including RADAR L.A., which will serve as TCG’s pre-conference; the National Asian American Theater Conference & Festival; Hollywood Fringe; the Los Angeles Film Festival; and the NEA Arts Journalism Institute. Check out this LA Weekly article that delves into these anticipated arts activities and more.
Lastly, I want to thank all of you who take time to respond to my weekly updates. Last week, after writing about my panel on flash mobs and viral marketing at an arts marketing conference, I received some interesting responses that I wanted to share with you. David Rosenberg, Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s communications director, sent this link to a flash mob video inspired by their Season of Imagination. He informed me that it generated some excellent media coverage and attention in social media. Chris Jansen, artistic director of New Ground Theatre in Iowa, wrote about how they recently started making trailers for their shows. “We post them on our Facebook page and our website. And they do seem to be having an immediate effect. Our attendance is up!” I have also heard from others in recent months with some insights on various topics that I will share in upcoming updates. So, please share what you’re thinking in the comments below. It’s useful to hear what is working and what is not—we can all learn from it.