Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How about a little push?

In this Think It process, we're really trying to adopt the mantra "To discover new frontiers, you have to lose the shore."

I'm thinking we need help pushing the boat into the water.

We have the budget to bring in 3 big thinkers to visit Curious and talk with the Company (about our desire to reinvent the resident artistic company model).

The marvelous Susan Medak is coming out next week, during the opening weekend of ASTRONOMICAL SUNSET. In addition to being brilliant, Susan's a superb brain for us to consult as she has been out to Curious a few times over the years, and thus has unique insight to our organizational culture.

Might a NON-theatre thinker be a good part of the mix? I've been watching Ted Talks videos all morning looking for what might be relevant but far enough from our field to shift our perspective. (Derek Sivers, maybe?)

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Mare Trevathan
Curious Theatre Co, Denver

Monday, October 25, 2010


Mmm, first time posting own blog. I could write anything.....

Have therefore put it off for a long time.

We're underway with the planning of the first of our SuperLab series. Putting the finishing touches on the cast and process for Madeleine George's SEVEN HOMELESS MAMMOTHS WANDER NEW ENGLAND, which Alec Duffy is going to direct. Many discussions from far-flung places-- Arkansas-- Instanbul-- midtown--, via cell, skype and email.

Trying to root out the most efficient methods of getting things decided and done. Used to DIY downtown, so I'm on a learning curve. Way more steps when there is a partnering institution , let alone and much larger one, involved. Also more advance planning and support in place. Have not yet figured out how to prevent communicating and managing absorb as much time as it is supposed to save, but I think there's a cumulative efficiency we haven't yet attained , as we are on our first outing. Looking forward to actually working on a play! But more on that later.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Artists Within

Howdy from Denver.

We of Curious Theatre Company are very jazzed recipients of a THINK IT grant to explore reinventing the resident artistic company model for the 21st century American theatre, by re-centering artists within producing organizations.

As a 13 y.o. company, our teen years are bringing tremendous growth- with a greatly increased staff, audience and donor base, budget and network of artists.

With this professionalization, we sense the theatre has leaned a bit away from the spirit of artistic fellowship on which it was founded.

In the early years, the artistic company and staff were the same folks. Handsome leading man Chris Reid was the Box Office Manager. Our stage manager Lisa Boehm was our bookkeeper. I (gorgeous leading woman... no, I lie) was the Marketing Director.

But the organization has evolved and the artistic company is no longer steeped in the daily operations of the organization. And (with a few exceptions) the staff is no longer directly linked to the stage craft.

Don't get me wrong: If lighting designer Shannon McKinney never has to paint the bathroom again, I'm sure she won't pout.

But with a staff of 13, a board of over 20 and an artistic company of 18, how do we make sure that Curious doesn't start to lean a little- well- bureaucratic? How do we put artists back in the center of the organization while retaining our wonderful, competent staff?

Thus begins our journey.

We'll be visiting 6 or so theatres throughout the country, bringing in 3 of our theatre hero(in)es to talk about the conundrum and doing a heap more research. We're still discussing the who and where, but I'll keep you posted.

Please give us your thoughts! Post a comment here, or email me at

Mare Trevathan
Company Member, Curious Theatre Company

Painting by Jeanne Echternach:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Austin Scenic Coop October, STP, schools and books and dance and...

This month, the Austin Scenic Coop is being used by a media company for a live action shoot of online content, a grade school for the school play, the Texas Book Festival for a panel discussion, a dance company... and it's only the 18th. There could be quite a bit more before the month is over.

I have spent almost two weeks trying to set up a meeting with Derek Kolluri of The Sustainable Theater Project (for people who most people consider not to have a "real job" we seem to be strangely overworked). The STP started up last year and seeks to produce quality theater with environmentally sustainable methods, in order to increase the organizational stability of the group, decrease expense in order to increase pay to livable levels. Their ultimate goal is to open a zero-waste theatrical venue. So, clearly, The ASC has a lot in common with this group. We hope to support and promote each other, and increase the efficacy of both groups by partnering in the exploration of responsible, sustainable, and accessible methods of production. That is, as soon as either of us can catch a breath.

Derek has volunteered his help with the Coop website, for which advance work is being done by Jeanine Lisa, including an inventory of existing stock. This could take a while.

I have asked the various entities that are making use of the Coop to write up very short assessments regarding if/why the Coop is of value to them, the benefits and changes that it makes possible.. I will post those on the blog as they come in, in order to get some other voices and viewpoints represented here. I know I'm incredibly interesting, but variety is always nice.

-Connor Hopkins

Coordinator, Austin Scenic Coop

MetLife Foundation and TCG Announce Third Round Recipients of the A-ha! Program

MetLife Foundation and Theatre Communications Group announce the third round of recipients for the A-ha! Program: Think It, Do It, which encourages TCG member theatres to think and act creatively. Six theatres were awarded grants, totaling $225,000, to either research and develop new production ideas or experiment and implement innovative concepts in the theatre field. The total award amount is a 50 percent increase from last year’s total of $150,000.

The 2010 A-ha! Program recipients are:

Think It

Pillsbury House Theatre will develop its transformation into a Cultural Community Hub. The project will focus on assessment and metrics planning that will define and measure organizational success.

Curious Theatre Company will explore innovative opportunities for reinventing the resident artistic company model for the 21st century American theatre, by re-centering artists within producing organizations.

Center Theatre Group plans to conduct focus groups and interviews with students, academic administrators and theatres to explore an internship model that pairs graduate students in arts administration with Los Angeles theatres.

Do It

Southern Rep will establish Youth Onstage New Orleans, LA (YO NOLA) as a pilot program to bring the arts to the underserved population at a New Orleans elementary school, via a student-run theatre company. This program includes mentoring, workshops and building life skills.

Northlight Theatre
is building Northlight On Campus, a two-year, comprehensive residency program in one underserved suburban middle school featuring after-school drama programs, artist visits, student matinees and a commissioned play for students.

Dad's Garage Theatre Company
will create their first season of online content in tandem with their live work. This ongoing initiative will be self sustaining and will redefine them from a theatre company to a creative company.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Artistic-Literacy Transitions for the Future...

I have been in the throes of my final report for Book-It titled, "The Road to Literacy: Book-It Repertory Theatre, An Evaluation of Impact, Programs, and Partnerships." A years worth of work has been synthesized and the next steps will be for the company to decide how they want to move forward with the literacy center and if it's the right fit for the venue they plan to build. Book-It is well positioned to continue its work with regards to literacy – those in the literacy community have expressed a need and they want Book-It to continue on this path. It’s pretty exciting for the company and for Seattle.

For me, the relationship is interesting because I am also transitioning into the role of Director of Education for Book-It - going from an objective evaluator to staff. The current Education Director will become the Director of Touring, which is really an artistic associate role for the company and everyone is excited for this to transpire. I guess the reorganization of staff is part of what’s evolved from this project – we didn’t foresee this last September when we got the grant – again pretty exciting. Thanks so much TCG!

~ Gail