Teresa’s Weekly Update: I AM THEATRE Edition

by Teresa Eyring

in Weekly Update

Post image for Teresa’s Weekly Update: I AM THEATRE Edition

I’m excited to tell you about a new project we kicked off last week in honor of TCG’s 50th Anniversary. It is called I AM THEATRE.

I AM THEATRE is a video campaign that spotlights the stories of theatre practitioners, in their own words. TCG will release a two minute video each Thursday over the next 50 weeks, capturing pivotal moments in the lives of theatre-makers. We sought to identify a truly diverse group of individuals from around the nation and the world in different job titles and functions, including actors, artistic directors, audience members, board members, company managers, critics, designers, development, marketing and public relations staff, education leaders, funders, managing and executive directors, playwrights, production managers, stage managers and more. Over the course of the year, you’ll hear their stories—turning points in their journeys, as well as moments in which they have been moved by, changed by, entertained by or even saved by theatre.

These stories represent the voices of just 50 individuals—out of the millions of people whose lives are touched by our art form every day. A key part of this project is to encourage others to share their own personal stories, and we hope these weekly videos will inspire you to tell yours—or to ask your artists, trustees, students and audience members to tell a story of how theatre has affected them. What if thousands of us shared our stories about why theatre matters, about why we do theatre, about the value of theatre in our lives and the communities we serve? I AM THEATRE will very quickly transform itself into the recognition that WE are theatre.

The ultimate goal of this project is to raise national and international awareness of the depth, diversity and impact of the theatre field. I hope at some point you’ll consider submitting your own video and even think about setting up opportunities to film your staff, audience members, volunteers and artists to capture their stories as well.

Read more about I AM THEATRE. We’ve included a “how to” guide for making your own video, and we’ve established 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. Rachel talks about how she and her fellow educators and parents were all inspired after seeing children react to a performance of A Year with Frog and Toad.

Also in honor of our 50th, we are highlighting 50 impactful books in American theatre from the history of TCG’s book program. Each week, we are featuring a new book that can be purchased at a 50% discount. This week’s book is The Mystery of Irma Vep and Other Plays, by actor and playwright Charles Ludlam. It was first published in 1966, and the first TCG edition was published in 2001.

Finally,I reported that the House Subcommittee had put forth a $20 million cut for the NEA’s FY12 appropriation. Indeed, last week, the full Appropriations Committee approved that funding level of $135 million. In order to protect the Agency against further cuts and to urge for a higher funding level when this bill reaches the House Floor, it is essential that every Member of Congress hear from their constituents right away. Please visit the Performing Arts Alliance to send emails to Congress and please urge your boards and staff to do the same!