by August Schulenburg


“The universe is made of stories, not atoms” – Muriel Rukeyser

All of us at TCG are thrilled today to launch I AM THEATRE, a video campaign that spotlights the stories of theatre practitioners in their own words. We’ll be releasing a 2 minute video each Thursday over the next 50 weeks, capturing pivotal moments in the lives of theatre-makers. Each video ends with the simple declaration, “I am theatre.” We hope this project will raise awareness  of the depth, diversity and impact of the theatre field.

But these 50 videos are not the end of the project, just the beginning.

“Tell it like it is / Don’t be ashamed, let your conscience be your guide” – Lee Diamond and George Davis, Tell It Like It Is

We want YOU to share your stories – the victories and heartbreaks, the little epiphanies and the great revelations – that strike at the heart of why you love theatre.

After all, not-for-profit theatres in the U.S. employ 130,000 people annually, inspire more than 30 million attendees and contribute $2 billion directly to the U.S. economy. What if even a small percentage of these hundreds of thousands posted videos sharing their personal story of why theatre matters?

“It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story.” – Native American proverb

How might those thousand stories transform communities’ awareness of our work?
How might they shift the conversation of funding?
Could this project ignite a groundswell to move theatre back to the center of our culture?

In the theatrosphere, I have sometimes seen us more eager to argue over what theatre isn’t then expand the possibility of what it could be. I AM THEATRE is different: if theatre is part of your life – regardless of how or where you do it, or who you make it with and for – then your voice is welcome.

In fact, for this to really work, your voice is required.

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” – Robert F. Kennedy

The theatres and artists of this country are centers of energy and daring, sending forth local ripples of hope. I believe that I AM THEATRE could be the channel to build those ripples into a current. Now is the time to stand up and represent the communities you work for and the theatre you believe in, and together we’ll testify in a voice that everyone will hear, “I AM THEATRE”.

How does it work? We’ve created a How-To guide for making your own video, and set-up a YouTube Channel for the project. Take a look at the first video of Rachel Grossman, the connectivity director at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC. Share the post with your community, and then make your own video, which will be shared in turn.

So…are you theatre? Tell us your story. Tell it like it is. Tell it like it could be.