Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Every Day is Earth Day on the Aha! Blog

In honor of Earth Day, the Aha! Blog presents the following list of green resources, compiled Seema Sueko, artistic director of Mo’Olelo Performing Arts Center:

Brown & Williams Environmental Consulting

The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts

The Cranbrook Court Theatre Company


EcoTheater Blog

GreenLine paper company

Mo’Olelo’s GREEN Theater Categories & Sustainable Guidelines

Portland Center Stage’s Gerding Theater

The Recycled Products Co-Op

Seema will also be taking part (via Skype!) in tomorrow’s panel on Theatre and the Environment at the Martin E. Segal Center in Manhattan.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Meet The Playwrights Center

Playwrights hear it constantly: “what’s your play about?” It’s a complicated question to answer, especially if your play hasn’t ever been published or performed. Minneapolis’ Playwrights Center (PWC), which has a long history of supporting playwrights at every stage of their careers, wanted to help answer that question. With trailers. That’s right, trailers.

PWC’s Do It! Grant was awarded to help PWC “play cupid” between playwright and producer. Three years ago, PWC launched a Profiles section for 40 of PWC’s Core writers, and a New Play Gallery. These areas of PWC’s website have become the most frequently used areas, and playwrights were contacted from as far away as Sao Paolo, Brazil. But PWC felt there was a crucial aspect of the “courtship” process still missing. They proposed to use their Do It! funds to produce a professional web trailer series, available to be downloaded for free in an audio-visual gallery on PWC’s website.

These trailers are being produced right now by PWC’s team. They’re not quite ready for public consumption yet, but as a kind of teaser-to-the-teaser, please enjoy these stills from the under-construction trailer for RASKOL by Kira Oblensky:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Meet Theater Grottesco

Theater Grottesco (based in Santa Fe, NM) had a string of bad-renovation luck. One space was condemned after a flood. One lease fell through when a co-lesee ran into administrative troubles. Then when the company found the perfect space and renovated it for a site-specific performance, the company realized they just didn’t have the network and resources to raise several million dollars in a capital campaign.

Grottesco is renowned for its organizational agility and adaptability. The company was founded in Paris in 1983, then moved to Detroit, and then again in 1996 to its current home in Santa Fe. So when faced with these real-estate setbacks, Grottesco decided to look at the bigger picture. There were other groups in Santa Fe whose work didn’t exactly fit into the traditional proscenium stage at the local community theatre, and none of them had the resources to start a campaign. What to do? Form an LLC.

As far as performance space real estate goes, this is a pretty radical idea. Everyone who purchases a share of Grottesco’s Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) will own a share in the venue. Shareholders are investors rather than donors, and shares will be sold for as little as $1,000 each.  As the project develops, TCG and Grottesco will report on how this new strategy is panning out. In the mean time, if you are interested in learning more about Theater Grottesco, visit their website.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Meet Woolly Mammoth

It’s a story every theatre practitioner knows by heart: scrappy company of artists with a daring approach to art sets out to change the world, scrappy company encounters success and makes some money, scrappy company hires a few staff members, scrappy company buys a building… and suddenly scrappy company’s daring approach to the art form is in jeopardy.

Sadly, this story usually ends with a slow, steady drift away from the company’s core values. But Washington, D.C.-based Woolly Mammoth is determined not to let success get in the way of a good thing.

Woolly Mammoth’s Think It grant is intended to stimulate creative thinking among the Woolly Mammoth staff – by giving them all time off. Every staff member will be taking one- to two-week paid sabbaticals, and shadowing someone who works in another profession. Staff members hope to return to the theatre with new ideas, new energy, new approaches, and new relationships and inroads into audience and donor bases.

Not every theatre company would have zeroed in on staff members as key players in the company’s continued commitment to innovation. But Woolly Mammoth is interested in integrating new ideas at every level of the company. Woolly Mammoth wants to ensure that the cutting-edge thinking they bring to the plays they produce gets translated to staff members. Check back as these sabbaticals take shape – we’ll be talking about what worked, and what didn’t work.