Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September 17: The Small Theatre Alliance of Boston Meets the Theater Commons

On Monday, September 17th, the Small Theatre Alliance of Boston meets with the Center for the Theatre Commons at Emerson College to learn about the projects being developed at the Commons for use by the new play sector.

Earlier this year, after it was announced that the American Voices New Play Institute at Arena Stage was splitting into two branches, and one of those branches, The Center for the Theater Commons, was taking root at ArtsEmerson, I speculated as to what that could mean for the Boston theatre scene. It certainly occurred to me that the local scene needed to become more familiar with the projects being developed at the Commons, even if the Commons' mission covers new play development nationwide.

The philosophy behind the Commons is a practical one: given that there is an abundance of creativity in the new play sector and the unequal distribution of opportunities preventing that abundance from reaching audiences, how does one increase those opportunities. The mission of the branch of the AVNPI that has become the Commons has been the study of this bottleneck and isolated efforts to circumvent this bottleneck so to create both  the tools and shared knowledge base that allow both problems and solutions to be studied in greater detail (see my notes on an early iteration New Play Map) as well as those that assist those working in the new play sector in the effort to widen that bottleneck and placing those tools and knowledge in "the commons" that can be accessed by anyone much like the books at the public library. Other projects have included the online journal HowlRound and #NewPlayTV as well as the popularization of the #newplay hashtag.

As Commons founder David Dower, director Polly K. Carl, and associate directors Jamie Gahlon and Vijay Matthew made their rounds in Boston discussing the philosophy of the commons, I made face-to-face contact and in my capacity as a member of the Small Theatre Alliance's events committee suggested a meetup between the commons and Alliance members involved in the new play sector. This meeting will focus on the tools being developed as part of the commons and getting them into the hands of playwrights, dramaturgs, literary managers, artistic directors and all those with a hand in developing new plays.

The event will run from 7pm to 9pm at the Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre in the Paramount Center at 559 Washington Street in Boston.

Facebook users may RSVP here.