WHAT IF…..?

Performing Arts High School

What if theatre weren’t seen as a luxury but as central to the fabric of our country?

The Theatre Communications Conference is asking this question and more from June the 16th through the 18th at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Biltmore; and the Central L.A. High School #9, for the Visual and Performing Arts.

LAStageAlliance is sponsoring the conference, which is also celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of TCG. The national organization for the American theatre, their website says, was founded in 1961 with a grant from the Ford Foundation to foster communication among professional, community and university theatres, and now has nearly 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations and more than 12,000 individuals nationwide.

There are 1,084 attendees signed up – playwrights, artists and members of theatres from all over the country – and the TCG has teamed with Radar L.A which will be presenting its plays at the same time, including Moving Arts’ Car Plays, L.A., and a CalArts’ adaptation of Gertrude Stein’s play, Brewsie and Willie.

Here are some of the other questions the conference is asking:

What if artists and other theatre leaders talked regularly and openly about art and aesthetics?

What if theatre institutions and their boards committed to hiring more people of color in leadership positions?

What if a group of billionaires created a “Giving Pledge” initiative for theatre?

What if the US became more embedded in wars around the globe – what would become the role of theatre and artists?

What if there were a new audience engagement model as powerful as the subscription model?

What if theatres and artists could commit to each other for multiple years?

What if we could solidify new business models that would truly lead to the sustainability of our theatres?

Here’s one I wish it was asking. What if more artistic directors were committed to producing plays by women?

However, women and the LAFPI are represented. Hooray! Instigator Laura Shamas, and Paula Cizmar are asking “What if…Social Activism Could Inspire New Models of Theatre?” on Thursday, June 16th at the Biltmore Hotel from 2:30 to 4:00, and instigator Dee Jae Cox is moderating a panel called “What if Women Ruled The World?” on Saturday, June 18th at the Central L.A. High School from 11 to 12:30.

I can’t attend the conference but am part of the National Playwrights Slam on the 19th from 9 pm on at the Biltmore Tiffany Room and will report back. I’ve bought a pair of sandals and may break down and buy a new outfit as well. (Maybe, maybe not. I’m a rotten shopper.)

I know that one rarely makes contacts at any conference that lead on to fame and fortune. (I went to one a while back that was called Reinventing the Future. I’m still reinventing and thank God the future is always a day away.) But the panels sound interesting and may lead to some positive changes, and the explosion of the L.A. Theatre surrounding the conference is exciting.

I imagine that a great schmoozefest will be the heart of the affair. And that sounds like fun. With one thousand and eighty four people there, everyone is bound to meet a few simpatico persons, exchange some good ideas, and have a few laughs.

1 Comment

  • By Robin Byrd, June 14, 2011 @ 7:01 pm

    Great article, Diane.

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