From the category archives:

What If

Post image for Agents of Change

A professor in graduate school offhandedly asked me a question one day, which changed my life. That question was a seemingly simple one: “What is your business?” Without knowing what she was getting at, I replied, “Well, I’m a director, and I run a small national theatre festival.” She said to me, “No, you see, [...]


Post image for What If…Theatres Played Moneyball?

(Learn more about the What If…? Project and what comes next) “What if . . . instead of relying on gut reactions and chemistry, we figured out a way to describe, observe, and measure what we are looking for?” At my blog Love’s Labors Lost, I asked, “What if . . . Indie theatre played Moneyball?” Inspired by [...]


What If…Devised Theatre Moved To The Mainstream of Theatre Making?

by Rachel Chavkin August 8, 2011 What If

(Learn more about the What If…? Project and what comes next) What if…devised theatre moved from the margins to the mainstream of theatre making? “Devised Theatre” resists easy definition, as was made clear at Arena Stage’s New Play Development Project Devising Convening in 2010. In fact the artists and companies present took pride in the vast variances of [...]

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What If…Theatre Training Were More International?

by Jim Hart July 26, 2011 What If
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Pictured: Story of a Mother (c) Jim Hart ( Learn more about the What If…? Project and what comes next) What if theatre training were more international? What if we taught our student theatre artists to have a wider directional perspective in terms of what theatre is? Rather than focusing nearly entirely on Western theatrical forms of past and [...]

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What If…professional and community theatres partnered more often?

by Angie Hayes July 21, 2011 What If

( Learn more about the What If…? Project and what comes next) What if more professional theatres sought out community theatres as potential partners? In North Carolina, we blur the traditional lines of professional and community theatre. NC professional theatres are passionately focused on their communities and often feature local artists. NC community theatres are producing work that is [...]

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What If…Archival Recordings Played A Role In Theatre Education?

by Richard Stucker July 20, 2011 What If

( Learn more about the What If…? Project and what comes next) What if the unions allowed regional theatres to use their archival recordings in their on-site theatre classes? First of all, I am BEGGIN’ you – record your best productions, please. Even after my recording of over 650 live play productions across the country over the last [...]

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From What If to What Next

by August Schulenburg July 20, 2011 I AM THEATRE

Leading up to our 2011 National Conference, we hosted a number of thoughtful essays imagining the future of theatre,These posts ranged from What If Disaster Relief Included An Arts Component to What If Theatres Partnered With The Local Food Movement, with Jim Hart’s What If Artists Were Trained As Entrepreneurs attracting the most attention. Overall, the [...]

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What If…We Stopped the Habit and Found the Necessity?

by Nancy Keystone June 13, 2011 What If

What if we stopped the HABIT of theatre and found the NECESSITY for doing it? A Gut-Check. (I mean “habit” in the sense of repetition of acts, without questioning the whys and wherefores, without paying attention, without an honest impulse at the center.) PASSION Most of us came to the theatre out of a need, [...]

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What If…Theatres Sought Out Epic Plays?

by Susan Bernfield June 10, 2011 What If

Learn more about the What If…? Project What if…theatres swam against the small cast currents, and sought out epic plays to produce? Well, people do like to experience BIG!  There’s just something gorgeous, instantaneously delightful, about a stageful of people.  Opera, for example, is about spectacle, and it’s on the rise with audiences, even coveted young [...]

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What If…One Extraordinary Production A Year Found A Truly National Audience?

by Tim Jennings June 8, 2011 What If

Learn more about the What If…? Project What if… theatres collaborated to share one extraordinary production a year with a truly national audience? By Tim Jennings, Managing Director, Seattle Children’s Theatre What if, on a regular basis, a single exceptional production could be chosen by artistic directors and producers from around the country to be seen all [...]

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What If…More Theatres From The Black Arts Movement Survived?

by Dominic Taylor June 2, 2011 What If

Learn more about the What If…? Project What if more organizations that started as a result of the Black Arts Movement survived? I can properly state without reservation that our art form would be light years ahead of where it is now. I say this not out cultural pride alone, but looking at the artists and [...]

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What If…Collectives of Theatre Artists Joined Forces?

by Joanna Harmon May 31, 2011 What If

Learn more about the What If…? Project What if small companies and loose collectives of theatre artists were enabled by a single group of administrators, rather than each company reinventing its administrative wheel? Many of us small theater companies and individual theater artists do a remarka­­ble job of getting things done with the little we have [...]

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What If…Disaster Relief Included An Arts Component?

by Nick Slie May 27, 2011 What If

Learn more about the What If…? Project What if disaster relief always included an arts component? As I write, my homeland is facing yet another “natural disaster,” our second in so many years. Last Wednesday, I spent three days in Pierre Part, LA gutting the remains of my grandfather’s fishing camp with my friends and colleagues [...]

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What If…Theatres Took Deep Dives With Playwrights?

by David Dower May 25, 2011 What If

Learn more about the What If…? Project What if every theatre committed to producing several plays by a single unique writer each season? So first thing that occurs to me is if every single producing theater in the US committed to producing several plays by a different playwright, we’d probably not have enough playwrights to go [...]

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What If…Artists Were Trained As Entrepreneurs?

by Jim Hart May 24, 2011 What If

Learn more about the What If…? Project What if entrepreneurial training was a central part of an artist’s education? Our current standard of American arts education is one of “all arts technique and no real business skills”. Graduates often know how to create works of art, but not necessarily how to make a living from their [...]

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What if…Theatres Partnered With The Local Food Movement?

by Stacy Klein May 18, 2011 What If

Learn more about the What If…? Project What if…theatres partnered with the local food movement? In her speech on the essential nature [and importance] of locally based community to the sustainability of our world, Helena Norberg Hodges wrote that migration to cities and the subsequent elimination of connection between life and survival have made it impossible [...]

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What if…We Empowered Younger Employees To Make Real Change?

by Adam Thurman May 12, 2011 What If

Learn more about the What If…? Project What if…theatre institutions empowered younger employees to make real change? Age is a tricky subject to address.  Even a relatively benign question like “what do you mean by younger employees?” can spark heated debate.  Plus, discussions of age are often filled with stereotypes.  We’ve all heard tales of the [...]

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What If…Traditional Theatre Training Was Replaced By A Multi-Disciplinary Approach?

by Craig Fleming May 4, 2011 What If

Learn more about the What If…? Project What if…the specialization of college theatre departments was replaced by integrated, multi-disciplinary arts training? What if university theatre departments across the country melted into air, into thin air, leaving not a rack behind? And what if they were then reborn, or rather, reincorporated into a single department of integrated [...]

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What If…there was a “Giving Pledge” for theatre?

by Jaan Whitehead April 26, 2011 What If

Learn more about the What If…? Project What if a group of committed philanthropists created a “Giving Pledge” initiative for theater? To put the question in context, in 2009, Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet created an initiative called “The Giving Pledge” which asks billionaires to pledge half of their wealth to charity.  In meetings [...]

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What If…Theatre Embraced Transmedia?

by James Carter April 19, 2011 What If

Learn more about the What If…? Project What if theatres embraced transmedia, and thought of the stage as the central part of a much larger storytelling canvas? A 16-year-old boy named Raúl sits in his bedroom, quickly swiping through an app store on his mobile tablet. He discovers a game. It looks cool, it’s free, he [...]

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What If…businesses set aside part time positions for artists?

by Gwydion Suilebhan April 14, 2011 What If

Learn more about the What If…? Project What if large businesses set aside part time positions for artists (with health care) in the same way that large buildings set aside room for mixed-income/cultural space? In 1817, Welsh social reformer Robert Owen coined the slogan “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest” in advocating for [...]

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What If…?

by August Schulenburg April 14, 2011 National Conference

What if theatre weren’t seen as a luxury, but as central to the fabric of our country? What if artists and other theatre leaders talked openly about art and aesthetics? What if theatres committed to hiring more people of color in leadership positions? From June 16–18, in Los Angeles, the 21st TCG National Conference will kick off [...]

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