Teresa’s Weekly Update: Shatter the Box Edition

by Teresa Eyring

in Weekly Update

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Last week I was in Washington, DC for the fall LORT meeting, where it’s a pleasure to see and catch up with so many colleagues. Laurie Baskin delivered an advocacy update, including an extremely helpful report with the latest information on the complex issue of White Space, as well as other advocacy issues. We will post her report in the near future, but in the meantime, if you have any questions email Laurie directly.

The week prior I had the good fortune of spending a few days in Denver meeting with the Curious Theatre Company’s staff and board. Through the Metlife/TCG Aha! Program: Think It, Do It, Curious is exploring a new model for bringing artists back to the center of their planning and decision-making. The conversation within the company led to a larger discussion with theatre leaders, artists and funders about potential 21st Century models for artists, organizations and communities to work together. Special thanks to the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation for hosting a lively roundtable on the topic while I was there.

While I have been on the road quite a bit lately, the next month is almost all in New York! Last night, we kicked off our new TCG Playwrights in Conversation: Discussions and Readings series, in honor of our 50th Anniversary. We have partnered with the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space to feature discussions and readings with TCG authors. The four-part series kicked off with playwrights David Adjmi (Stunning and Other Plays), Young Jean Lee (Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven and Other Plays and The Shipment/LEAR) and Tarell Alvin McCraney (The Brother/Sister Plays), moderated by David Cote, theatre editor at Time Out New York. The evening concluded the playwrights signing copies of their work. You will soon be able to view the archived webcast on our website or at www.thegreenespace.org. Next up is an evening with playwright Nilo Cruz on December 5th!

We’re less than three weeks from the Fall Forum on Governance: Capitalizing an Art Form (November 11-13). In addition to Ben Cameron, our opening session focusing on how we redefine our artistic, human and financial assets, will include Bruce Coppock of the Cleveland Orchestra Miami Residency. Bruce was also the former president of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and led the organization through a well thought-out and impactful strategic planning process. The session will also include TCG board members Martha Lavey (Steppenwolf Theatre Company) and Clyde Valentin (Hip Hop Theater Festival). We’ll also engage in some useful breakout conversations and hear from practitioners around the field, including Brad Erickson (Theatre Bay Area), Michael Gennaro (Trinity Repertory Company), Michael Rosenberg (La Jolla Playhouse) Mark Valdez (Network of Ensemble Theaters) and Chris Widdess (Penumbra Theatre Company). We’ll tackle topics surrounding creative funding sources, deficit elimination planning, board and staff communication and how best to understand and engage communities. If you work for, or a trustee of, a Member Theatre and haven’t registered yet, please do so! Be sure to follow and engage with the Fall Forum conversation on Twitter at #FFTCG.

This last week’s I AM THEATRE video features actor Andres Munar, a recipient of a Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship at Cornerstone Theater Company. Andres speaks movingly about the limiting assumptions he had when he began his career, and how a solo performance from Cornerstone’s Michael John Garcés “shattered that box.”

Since 1981, The Dramatists Sourcebook has had a similarly transformative effect on the lives of playwrights everywhere. What began in 1977 as a few opportunities printed at our office and stapled together has blossomed into 26 editions selling over 100,000 copies. We’re featuring it as this week’s 50 Years, 50 Books, and heeding Tony Kushner’s words from the 1989-90 prologue: ““We wish you well; keep your feet on the ground, your head in the clouds, pack lots of candles and matches, for the journey isn’t well-lit, bring along some pocket change, and wear a pair of sturdy shoes…”

Last week you might have seen that the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation announced a $50 million grant program, the Doris Duke Performing Artists Initiative, which will have three components aimed at supporting artists, particularly in their efforts to engage with audiences. One initiative is a residency program for artists and arts organizations to collaborate on audience engagement programs. Click here to learn more here about this new initiative.