by Robin Byrd
There was a “Meet and Greet” hosted by the Chicago League; it was a one-hour hit-every-table kind of deal. A wonderful addition to the Dramatists Guild Conference “Having Our Say: Our History, Our Future” this table hopping and it was a great experience. I am not usually a meet and greet kind of person but I met a lot of people and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Although the first table was really difficult but I missed my flight printing business cards so you best believe I was handing them out. Then I got the hang of it when I decided to really look at the theaters and find out about them. I could hear John F. Kennedy in my subconscious saying, “Ask not what your country can do for you — but what you can do for your country”, so it became about the theaters and less about me. They do some interesting theater in Chicago.
On Sunday, I am going to see Nothing Without A Company’s “Alice” in Lincoln Park. The audience will travel as a group to each location as the play is performed. How neat is that? I only ran into one table where they dealt with Chicago or Illinois writers only. I met Babes with Blades; and we talked character, fights… At the Clockwise Theatre table, I met a guy from my hometown; they do theater that is diverse and adventurous – literally, culturally, and theatrically.
I met 20% Theatre Company Chicago, a company started like LA FPI in response to the New York study on gender bias. They are running their 8th Annual Snapshots, A 10-Minute Play Festival now, during the DG Conference August 22-25, 2013 at the Cornservatory (4210 N. Lincoln Ave).
There was Light Opera Works for musical theater; Midwest New Musicals is an arm of Light Opera Works and is run by John Sparks – if his name sounds familiar, it’s because he is the Founding Director of LA’s Academy for New Musical Theatre – small world.
Writers Theatre was there; it’s all about the writer. Stockyards Theatre Project was there — their mission: “to give volume to the voices of women by creating positive, substantial roles in plays for female performers”. Underscore Theatre Company was there; they do musicals but will take plays with music as they are interested in the relationship between words and music and how the use of music can underscore a story.
Other theaters with information at the Meet and Greet were:
The Ruckus does such diverse theater, you can tell right off by the type of productions they have in a given season and by the credits.
The Side Project Theatre Company — exploration of the power of hyper-intimate theatre.
TimeLine Theatre Company – deals with plays about history and has two plays by women in its 2013/2014 Season: “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry and “The How and The Why” by Sarah Treem. (50/50)
Northlight Theatre has two plays by women in it 2013/2014 Season: “4000 Miles” by Amy Herzog (ranked #1 play in 2012 by New York Times) and “Detroit ’67” by Dominique Morisseau (which I just happened to read recently – an era with stories that need to be told). (50/50)
Pavement Group is searching for fresh plays, check them out to see if you’re a match…
Pride Films & Plays is looking for well crafted stories, check them out to see if you’ve got something they’re interested in…
Chicago Dramatists has ways for writers outside Chicago to participate. Check them out.
DreamStreet Theatre Company is a new company looking for family oriented stories. I talked with the founder who is really interested in doing great theater. The “times up” call was given in the middle of my conversation so I found myself rushing to get the last bit of information from the remaining tables.
American Blues Theater — (Isn’t that the coolest name?) illuminates the American ideas of freedom, equality, and opportunity… Our hour was up and we were being shooed out the door when I was handed a card, “I didn’t get to talk to you,” she said. Isn’t that the coolest thing? Turns out I was just looking at their Blue Ink Playwriting Award submission guidelines…
In all and I may have missed some theaters, I had a really good time meeting the theater reps.