As many of you are aware, TCG honored the Edgerton Foundation at our National Conference in June. Since the beginning of the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Awards, the foundation has given $3.6 million toward the development of new work, by supporting additional rehearsal time with the full team present. I wanted to call your attention to a resource on our website that provides information on the 128 plays that they have supported. A few artistic directors have mentioned to me recently that they find this site to be a useful reference when they are planning their seasons, and particularly, when they are looking for new plays and musicals that have had at least one full production. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of all new plays being produced nationwide. The Arena Stage’s New Play Map is seeking to capture all new work on a visual map, and the new play festivals—such as the Humana Festival of New American Plays, the Colorado New Play Summit, the O’Neill Playwrights Conference and the Pacific Playwrights Festival—along with the work of the National New Play Network are also excellent resources. What is your preferred process for identifying plays – whether new or classic – for your stages, and what resources do you regularly consult?
This week, TCG brings another installment in our 50 I AM THEATRE videos. Set designer Mimi Lien expresses her love of creating physical spaces that audiences can actually move through. In her video, Mimi says, “The experience of moving through space is one of the most powerful human experiences.” Personally, I’ve had some memorable theatre experiences in settings where audiences move with and among performers, sometimes even sharing a meal as part of the show. At a festival in Spain last year, I attended a performance that took place in several rooms of a building and ended with the cooking and sharing of paella in the courtyard. Double Edge Theatre regularly stages outdoor performances on their farm in Massachusetts, including this summer’s The Odyssey, “an indoor/outdoor traveling spectacle” inspired by lithographs of artist Chagall. Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More, an adaptation of Macbeth that plays in the multiple and varied rooms of the McKittrick Hotel in New York, is yet another example. I hope you enjoy hearing from Mimi on her approach to design.
And I’ll leave you with our featured book this week, The Presence of the Actor. First published in 1972, Joseph Chaikin’s book was based on his work with Open Theatre Collective and Winter Project.