As I mentioned previously, I was in China for the ITI World Congress in September. TCG is the U.S. Center for the International Theatre Institute, and several of our member theatres and affiliates were able to travel to China for that gathering. Rick Dildine, executive director of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, was one of the U.S. delegates, and I wanted to share with you an interview with Rick that appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. It highlights the value that can come from connecting with artists from other nations, how these encounters can help you see your own work more clearly and even inspire new strategies for engaging local audiences. Rick references some of the people he met in China. During the Congress, I was able to make five I AM THEATRE videos of some of the participants on my iPhone, and you can watch their spirited stories here.
The Fall Forum on Governance is just weeks away! In addition to David Henry Hwang, Ben Cameron and Lydia Diamond, we’re excited to announce some additional speakers. Stacy Palmer, who is editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, will lead a panel discussion with funders, including the wonderful Vicki Reiss, executive director of the Shubert Foundation; and Margy Waller will be our closing speaker. Margy is a senior fellow at Topos Partnership and a special advisor at ArtsWave. You may recall Margy’s research piece, Discovering the Arts Ripple Effect: A Research-Based Strategy to Build Shared Responsibility for the Arts (PDF), which focuses on developing an inclusive community dialogue leading to broadly shared public responsibility for arts and culture in a region. Register for the Fall Forum on Governance now! I’d love to see you in New York—and if you are already based in New York, please join us!
I am pleased to report that with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, TCG is launching a new grant program, Leadership U[niversity], which is designed for practitioners in all areas of the theatre. The first component includes One-on-One grants of $75,000 for early-career leaders for professional development via mentorships at TCG member theatres. We will grant an additional $5,000 honorarium for their mentors and up to an additional $14,500 in supplemental funds, e.g., student loan repayment, professional development or health care. Leadership U[niversity] is similar to the Future Leaders program, which we ran successfully for 11 years. This new program incorporates some of the feedback we received in our assessments, including the addition of a “mid-career” professional development component. Continuing Ed grants are up to $6,000 for mid-career and veteran professionals at TCG member theatres. These grants will help practitioners advance their leadership skills and/or investigate pressing topics that they are unable to explore in their day-to-day work. We’re all excited about the opportunity of Leadership U[niversity] to strengthen the field by developing talented individuals with different ranges of experience in the field. For more information about the grant and application information, visit our website.
The I AM THEATRE video last week featured Judy Rubin, chairman of the board of Playwrights Horizons here in New York City. Judy is a dedicated supporter and lover of theatre. She has served on TCG’s board and chairs our National Council for the American Theatre (NCAT). She talks candidly about being a “theatre groupie” and finding her role in theatre—supporting new work and new voices in American theatre. And a big thanks to Cleveland Play House’s Michael Bloom for coming to our office and sharing his very own I AM THEATRE video (also on our YouTube channel) about first seeing A Raisin in the Sun in high school in West Hartford, Connecticut.
Lastly, this week’s featured book, as part of our 50 Years, 50 Books, is Testimonies: Four Plays by Emily Mann. The collection includes Still Life, a moving account on Vietnam’s lingering aftermath on returning soldiers and their families Though unfavorably reviewed by the New York Times when it opened in 1981, Still Life went on to garner five OBIE Awards and was included in New Plays USA and Coming to Terms: American Plays & the Vietnam War, both published by TCG. A playwright and director, Mann has been the Artistic Director of Princeton’s McCarter Theatre for the past 20 years, and her play Execution of Justice marked the launch of the full publication of plays in American Theatre magazine in November 1985.