Teresa’s Weekly Update: Hurricane Irene Edition

by Teresa Eyring

in Weekly Update

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While New York City was spared the massive destruction that had been predicted, many families, organizations and communities were hit hard on or around the east coast, including some TCG member theatres. The Open Eye Theater in Margaretville, NY was severely flooded, with Governor Coumo paying a visit in support.

To donate to the clean up effort, and see pictures of both the damage and the community pitching in to help, go here.

Williamstown Theatre Festival’s new scene shop flooded with 10 feet of muddy water, damaging the majority of a prop collection over half a century old. WTF had just moved out of their old scene shop after heavy snows caused the roof to collapse; you can learn more about these challenges and help support their recovery here. Ensemble Studio Theatre also reported on floods, especially near the Lexington Center for the Arts, and their artists’ retreat in Greene County, New York.

Weston Playhouse in Vermont was flooded, wreaking havoc and causing financial damages of as much as $200,000. See this story here. For information about how they were affected and/or how you can donate to help, visit their website here. They report to us that they will be able to open a restaged version of their world premiere Saint-Ex this week—demonstrating once again the determination and resilience of our theatre community.

Yesterday, I attended a performance of War Horse at Lincoln Center, with my cousin and her 12-year-old niece. I’d just returned from two weeks out of the country (and away from the hurricane), including ten days without theatre. It was such a joy to be in an audience again, and especially to see the impact of the theatre on this young person. Afterwards, we happened upon the Borders that is being liquidated in Time Warner Center. It was surreal in some respects to see the shelves emptying and the bones of what was a palace of books. I was struck by the realization that books, though changing in their delivery system, remain such an important part of life for people of all ages. And theatre is an even more precious form of storytelling.

Speaking of young people who are passionate about stories and theatre, I hope you’ll take a look at this week’s I AM THEATRE video of Sean Chang, who has been a member of Steppenwolf’s Young Adult Council for three years. Sean discovered in high school that theatre can be a form of self-expression and he speaks about how important theatre is for his generation. As mentioned before, if you’re in New York and would like for us to film your I AM THEATRE video in our office, let us know. We actually had our first taker—Michael Bloom of Cleveland Playhouse—come in and record his own video. We want to hear your story, so contact Gus Schulenburg if you’re interested!

Lastly, we announced our fourth round of recipients of our MetLife/TCG A-ha! Program: Think It, Do It, which supports the creative thinking and action of TCG member theatres. Perseverance Theatre, CalArts Center for New Performance, Curious Theatre Company, Salvage Vanguard Theater and The Wooster Group were awarded grants to either research and develop, or implement and test new ideas. Check out this year’s recipients and their innovative projects here. Also take a look at this piece in Variety. While we are only able to award a few grants in each round of this program, it is inspiring to see the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit among our member theatres. You can also learn about successes and challenges of these projects as they progress on the Aha! blog.