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Breakout sessions at conferences can be panels of experts, with a short Q&A afterwards. The StageSource Theater Conference: Reframing Success is going to have a different structure for the breakouts. We are morphing traditional breakouts (topics we put on the table) with an open space forum, where everyone is included in the conversation. Each breakout will have some facilitators in the room to start the conversation, and keep it on track, but everyone is invited to participate in the conversations.
The goals for the breakout sessions are to talk a bit about where we are as a community, to think about where we want to be, and to work on action steps that will get us there, or get us closer.
The breakouts will take place at 11:45-1pm. The topics are:
DIG (Diversity/Inclusion/Gender Parity) in our sector. The StageSource report was released in February. Other conferences have been discussing the topic, and how challenging this is for the arts. That needs to change. What are our next steps? Some ideas include a snapshot of where we are right now to benchmark where we are going, larger workshops and convenings to talk about some of the issues that are getting in the way of progress (the lens of privilege), and area specific tasks that we can undertake.
Raising the New Work Flag: We have a lot of new work in our community, and several initiatives supporting it. What can we do as a community to celebrate that work? What do playwrights need? How can we all provide support, and create systems to make it better? What are existing resources? What does exporting our work look like? What does a feedback loop look like? How can we better engage audiences in the process? Can New England become the new work center?
Rethinking Space means exploring space solutions, and rethinking what space is, or needs to be. Is there a way for us to reframe where theater takes place? What does that look like? What do we need to do to make it happen? Are some communities more supportive of that than others? Are there partnerships to explore in thinking about theater space? How to we cut the space chase?
Arts Activism: The creative sector is a celebrated driver in our economy, but what does that mean? How do we empower ourselves as theater makers/organizations/audiences to advocate for arts funding, arts education, space initiatives, etc? What are the facts, and how do we use them to tell our story more effectively? What information do we need to start gathering in order to make our case? What does an cultural policy look like, and how do we ensure that it is part of political conversations moving forward?
Rethinking Success Must Equal Growth. Does Size Really Matter? Does success mean your theater company needs to get bigger? Or can you stay your size, but continue to grow in capacity and scope. What new models would support rethinking what success looks like for every type of theater? Is being a non-profit necessary? Should everyone aspire to having a season of work? Can companies work together in new ways to support one another?
Creative Balancing: Theatre and Parenting. How do you balance the responsibilities of parenting with a fulfilling career? How can we create a supportive environment for our peers?
We hope to see you at Reframing Success – The 2013 StageSource Theater Conference where we will celebrate the 2013 Theater Hero Mimi Huntington!
Listen to this great conversation about violence design, stage combat, fight choreography, and the difference between the three. Meron Langsner, Angie Jepson, Robert Najarian, and Ted Hewlett joined Julie Hennrikus in the StageSource library to talk about their list of best practices, the importance of mentoring, and to share some stories.
MERON LANGSNER has composed violence for over 150 productions, tours, and films in New England and NYC, at venues that include The ART, Merrimack Rep, New Repertory Theatre, Stoneham Theatre, the Lyric Stage Company, ArtsEmerson, and numerous educational venues, with many productions winning Eliot Norton and IRNE awards. He has also published several academic and pedagogical articles on stage combat and violence in performance. Meron was one of three writers in the country selected for the pilot year of the National New Play Network Emerging Playwright Residencies, fulfilling his residency at New Rep. His plays have been performed around the country and overseas, and he was recently nominated for the IRNE Award for Best New Play for Vagabond Theatre Group’s production of BURNING UP THE DICTIONARY. Publishers of his plays include Smith & Kraus, Applause, Bloomsbury UK, and YouthPLAYS. He holds an MA in Performance Studies from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, an MFA in Playwriting from Brandeis, and a PhD in Theatre History from Tufts University, where he was the recipient of the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education. Meron is an Artistic Associate of Whistler in the Dark Theatre, for which he currated the Schollah Holla Project and Playwright Incubator.
ANGIE JEPSON is an actress, fight choreographer, and teacher in the Boston area. As a fight choreographer, recent credits include M at The Huntington Theatre Company, In the Heights and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at SpeakEasy Stage Company, and The Lover with Bridge Rep of Boston. Angie teaches acting and stage combat at Worcester State University, and starting this fall will be the stage combat instructor at Boston University.
ROBERT NAJARIAN is an actor, instructor, and fight director who has staged the violence for over 100 productions for stage and film. He has performed in New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, and Boston, including being an original cast member of the critically acclaimed show Sleep No More in New York. Fight direction credits include Carmen and Macbeth with Boston Lyric Opera, As You Like It with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Don Quixote with Boston Ballet, Johnny Baseball with American Repertory Theatre, The Lieutenant of Inishmore and The Kite Runner with New Repertory Theatre, and She Kills Monsters with Company One. Robert has taught at movement and stage combat workshops such as the National Stage Combat Workshop at North Carolina School of the Arts, The Winter Wonderland Workshop in Chicago, IL, and The Paddy Crean Workshop at the Banff Center in Alberta, Canada. He has taught in the Theatre Departments at Boston University, College of the Holy Cross, and at the ART Institute for Advanced Actor Training at Harvard University. He currently is an assistant professor in the Theatre Department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Certified Teacher of Theatrical Combat with the Society of American Fight Directors. MFA: The Shakespeare Theatre’s Academy for Classical Acting at the George Washington University. BA: Bowdoin College.
TED HEWLETT is an actor, teacher, and fight director. He has performed fights on Broadway (SHOGUN), film (HOOK; ARMY OF DARKNESS; GRAY AREA), television (BRUSH UP YOUR SHAKESPEARE), and opera (New York City Opera). He has choreographed violence for the Off-Broadway production of BILL W. AND DR. BOB, and regionally at such theatres as Shakespeare & Co., Kennedy Center, Syracuse Stage, Lincoln Center Institute, Elm Shakespeare Co., Berkshire Theatre Festival, Mettawee River Co., Westchester Broadway Theatre, Fulton Opera House, New Century Theatre, and NYS Theatre Institute. In Boston, he has created fights for Huntington Theatre, SITI Co./ArtsEmerson, American Repertory Theatre, New Rep, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Ballet, SpeakEasy Stage, Company One, Commonwealth Shakespeare Co., Merrimack Rep, Publick Theatre, Boston Theatre Works, Vineyard Playhouse, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Nora Theatre, Gloucester Stage, and Shakespeare Now!, as well as numerous university productions. Mr. Hewlett is on the full-time acting faculty at Emerson College, and has previously taught at Brandeis University, Boston University, Harvard University, Boston Conservatory, New England Conservatory, A.R.T. Institute for Advanced Theatre Training, and The Stage Combat Studio at Bay State Fencers. Mr. Hewlett holds an MFA in Acting from Brandeis University, and trained at the Academy of Theatrical Combat under fight master Dan Speaker.
by Kristin Baker
President of the StageSource Board
When I first moved to Boston and started using the T, the city was less of a city than a series of walkable pods around T stops. I had no idea how they connected. If I wanted to go to Quincy Market, I knew I got off at Government Center. If I wanted to go to the Common, I got off at Park Street. But if I was standing at Park Street and wanted to get to Quincy Market, I would have have to go down into the subway, take it one stop and come out again because didn’t know where the connections were above ground. (this was before google maps and its a metaphor, so go with me.)
Sometimes I feel as if the New England Theater community is a bit like that: a bunch of vibrant pods very close together but without always connecting. Some of us “came up” in high school, and connect to the METG and its drama festivals. Some of us “came up” attending college in Boston, and see our pod around our University Theater program. Some of us “came up” after college and connected to the professional, semi-pro, fringe or community theater scenes. We are communities within communities.
Like the Common and Quincy Market, I suspect our pods are closer than we think. I suspect we share more challenges and motivations and passions than we think we do, but we haven’t managed to connect into one large and cohesive community. Maybe we are so busy doing our own thing we haven’t made time to explore our connections. Maybe its something to do with perceived status or liking to be the big fish in our small ponds. Maybe its our entrepreneurial spirit that is subtly encouraging us to reinvent the wheel. Maybe we are shy.
This is one of the reasons I am so excited about the StageSource Theater Conference’s theme of Reframing Success. If we can all establish for ourselves a clear and cogent idea of what success in this field is to us and listen to what it means for other people, maybe we can get the status, self-doubt and ownership issues out of the way and connect across the whole of our community. If there is any organization poised to make that happen it is StageSource. Our members are LORT Theater and Community Theaters, Equity Actors and novice designers, students and jaded, craggy old pros, folks who are happy doing their “day jobs” and a couple shows a year with their small/fringe theater friends and directors with portfolio careers and every intention of taking Peter DuBois’s job one day. We are the whole community.
If we all really did leave our pods and join across our theater sizes and budgets, our union statuses and our aspirations, and spoke together with one voice, think of how loud that voice would be.
So let’s all gather in June, own our own little piece of the theater community pie, but share the stage with others. Whether you want to star in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat or dream of the day when you can fully stage Artaud’s Jet of Blood, whether you like to build sets of the high school drama club on weekends or you are making your living from your creative work, let’s talk about what we have in common, let’s marvel and admire the ways we are different, but let’s support each other and be one community that they can’t ignore.
The StageSource Theater Conference: Reframing Success
June 29 at A.R.T.’s Loeb Drama Center
For more information, go here!
To register, go here!