Further follow-up from the LMDA11 conference…
As mentioned in an earlier post, one day of the conference proceedings were conducted in a style called Open Space. I took notes for two of the sessions, one of which I led. I promised folks I’d make those notes available, so here they are. Click the titles for the linked google docs. If you can make use of any of these ideas, I offer them freely, and ask only that you let me know how it goes and report back.
1. Dramaturgs in Arts Advocacy: Talking to Policy Makers – Convened by Me
I called this session into being to address an issue particularly close to home: how we in the local theatre community can better advocate for ourselves and our impact with local legislators, policy-makers, and thought leaders. I framed this as a question about how dramaturgs can use the tools that come naturally in our practice to be trailblazers in this realm, but I think the issue is vitally important for all theatre stakeholders. In this set of notes, we lay out some obstacles, questions, and ideas for action. I’m in the midst of writing a larger article on this topic (which I’ll link to this blog once it’s published), as well as aiming to tangibly implement some of the ideas through the StageSource Advocacy Committee, on which I sit.
2. Dramaturgs & Designers: Opportunities for Intersection & Collaboration – Convened by Faedra Carpenter, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland
I attended this session because I’ve long felt there are great untapped possibilites in the dramaturg/designer relationship, especially in connection with new work. For that matter, there’s much to be gained by stronger designer/playwright relationships, especially early on in the creation process. It’s this belief that led us at PwritesCom to create the Freedom Art Theatre Retreat, which will put dramaturgs, playwrights, and designers together in the woods for a week to see what can be made of it. This conference session was interesting, in that it reminded me how often the dramaturg and the designer are in the same boat as jobbed-in independent artists. I think we could be more effective collaborators and creators if we could jointly acknowledge this fact at the start, as well as move beyond designers seeing dramaturgs primarily as library minions (a not uncommon first impression).
If any readers have further ideas on these two topics, I’d love to hear them. Please respond in the comments section, or contact me directly at pwrites<dot>commons <at> gmail<dot>com