Teresa’s Weekly Update: The Human Theatre

by Teresa Eyring

in Weekly Update

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When you think theatre, do you think rural community? Joan Schirle did, and her vision helped lead to the founding of Dell’Arte International, just one of the many TCG member theatres working in small towns and rural communities. Hear Joan talk about the power of theatre in a rural setting in our latest I AM THEATRE video, and then share your own story.

What’s remarkable about Dell’Arte and many of our other rural companies, such as Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble in Pennsylvania, Double Edge Theatre in Massachusetts and Commonweal Theatre Company in Minnesota, is that while they are extremely local and community-focused, they also have significant international activities and reputations.

Recognizing value in unexpected places was one of the key themes of our 2011 Fall Forum on Governance: Capitalizing an Art Form. Our sold-out 13th Forum had an energizing vitality as we reimgained how we define and better capitalize on our human, financial and artistic assets. If you were there, leave your thoughts in the comments section below. If you weren’t, I hope you were following on Twitter at #TCGFF, and please read what Forum speakers David Henry Hwang and Margy Waller consider some of theatre’s undervalued assets in their Circle interviews.  We’ll be sharing more interviews with Fall Forum speakers and analysis of the event here on the Circle, so stay tuned!

One of the big take-aways from the Forum was that theatres are increasingly taking advantage of is partnerships, and our ongoing collaboration with the Nonprofit Finance Fund allows TCG member theatres access to Webinars like the recently re-released (and Forum-themed) Cash Flow Planning. Access the Webinar through the NFF Group Page, and if you haven’t joined the Group Page yet, contact Rachel Hutt who can assist you.

Another Forum take-away was the ongoing need to integrate artists more deeply within our institutions. A powerful example of that impact can be found in Spalding Gray’s career, whose play Swimming to Cambodia is featured as part of our 50 years, 50 Books celebration. Gray’s early experiences as part of the Performance Group and the Wooster Group were essential to the development of his unique – and deeply missed – voice.

Gray’s life and work embodies Schirle’s moving declaration in her  I AM THEATRE video, “Every human being is theatre.” After this Fall Forum, I’m more convinced than ever that there is no greater asset to our field than the human beings who make theatre all across our country—from Dell’Arte’s Blue Lake, California to our Fall Forum’s New York, New York.