First, I wanted to give you a quick “post-Irene” update. Our TCG Circle post last week highlighted a number of theatres that were affected by the hurricane. Open Eye Theater in Margaretville, New York sustained some serious damage and is need of donations—both cash and equipment. We’ve asked them to supply an equipment list in case any of our member theatres can help out. I also heard from Jerry Stropnicky at Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble (BTE) about the flooding this week in Bloomsburg. Apparently, while there has been great devastation in the town, their Alvina Krause Theatre made it through more or less unscathed. Jerry writes, “BTE will be doing our postponed performances of The Guys this weekend, now as a fundraiser for our first-responders. We depend on our volunteer firefighters here, and this play is a perfect way to thank them.”
And in other “tempest” related news, we so appreciated Julie Taymor’s presence as the closing keynote speaker at our recent National Conference in L.A. Julie gave us insight into her aesthetic and creative vision, and guided us through the artistic process of her past works, including The Tempest. Her film version of The Tempest was just released on DVD, and I thought some of you might like to see it.
I’m excited to let you know that playwright David Henry Hwang will be our opening keynote speaker at the Fall Forum on Governance (November 11-13)! David is a stellar playwright, and it will be inspiring to hear more about his work, aesthetic, and from his perspective, how we can all better support and advocate for the arts. Hwang’s work includes the plays M. Butterfly, Golden Child, Yellow Face and FOB; and the Broadway musicals Aida (co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 revival) and Disney’s Tarzan (librettist). His newest play, Chinglish, premiered at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre this summer and will open on Broadway in October. Register now for the Fall Forum on Governance!
We’ve seen quite a bit of news and opinion over the following weeks regarding the President’s speech and proposed jobs bill. There’s good news and bad news in the bill. It includes tax credits to not-for-profits that hire veterans and long-term unemployed people. However, the measure also includes $467 billion in tax code changes to pay for the bill—of greatest concern, the imposition of a 28 percent cap on itemized deductions, including the charitable deduction. Please let your Members of Congress know that this is a time to preserve the capacity of the not-for-profit sector to serve communities by protecting incentives for charitable giving!
Last week, we launched our latest snapshot survey, Taking Your Fiscal Pulse—Fiscal Year 2011, a collaboration with the Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations (APASO). Whereas our annual Fiscal Survey collects comprehensive fiscal data from our theatre members, this short survey captures a quick snapshot of the theatre field as of your Fiscal Year 2011—whether it’s already completed or ends by December 31, 2011. The ensuing report is a perfect complement to our in-depth fiscal analysis, Theatre Facts. If you haven’t received the link to the survey or have any questions about it, please contact Chris Shuff, director of management programs. The deadline for participation is Friday, September 30. Thank you in advance for your participation!
Reports from our prior Taking Your Fiscal Pulse surveys can be found in the Snapshot Surveys section of our website, along with the recently released (and re-designed) Theatre Facts 2010. We will be providing some additional perspective on Theatre Facts in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I encourage you to take a look. It is a useful report to share with your board in an upcoming board meeting, to give them a sense of how your theatre compares to others across the country.
This week’s I AM THEATRE video is of Kwame Kwei-Armah, the new artistic director of CENTERSTAGE in Baltimore and award-winning British playwright, director, actor and singer (yes, he’s a singer). Kwame speaks passionately about his experience with the playwrights workshop program at Great Britain’s National Theatre Studio. He viewed it as “a space where people can think, and out of that thought comes art and out of that art comes a catalyst for a debate.” He adds, “Theatre is a palace of thought.”
This week’s featured book, as part of our 50 Years, 50 Books, is Cloud 9 by Caryl Churchill, who began her career writing short radio dramas for the BBC. She then served as the resident dramatist at the Royal Court in 1974-75, which led to her association with The Joint Stock Theatre Company where, along with writers like David Hare and David Edgar, she developed her earliest success Cloud 9. First produced in 1979, the provocative and political play garnered the OBIE Award for Best Play in 1982. TCG has published 11 of Churchill’s titles, including A Number and Drunk Enough to Say I Love You.