OR's Bag&Baggage, MN's CTC, LA's CTG and More Among MetLife & TCG's 2013 A-ha! Grant Recipients
MetLife Foundation and Theatre Communications Group (TCG) announce the sixth round recipients of the MetLife/TCG A-ha! Program: Think It, Do It, which empowers TCG Member Theatres to take groundbreaking approaches to artistic, managerial, production and/or technological challenges and opportunities. Seven theatres were awarded grants totaling $250,000 to either research and develop new ideas, or experiment and implement innovative concepts.
The A-ha! Program has two components: Think It grants ($25,000), which give theatre professionals the time and space for research and development andDo It grants ($50,000), which support the implementation and testing of new ideas. The projects supported by the A-ha! Program will not only impact the recipient theatres, but also serve as models for theatre and arts professionals across the country.
"Theatres are filled with creative and entrepreneurial minds that rarely have access to the risk capital needed to conceive and test out new ideas," saidTeresa Eyring, executive director of TCG. "This round of the A-ha! Program will empower innovative idea development and action in areas like student civic engagement, access to the arts in rural communities, and online platforms for artistry."
"The recipients of the sixth round of the A-ha! Program exemplify MetLife Foundation's commitment to building strong communities through the arts," said Dennis White, president and CEO, MetLife Foundation. "We are proud to be part of this partnership with TCG and serve as a catalyst for the creativity and risk-taking that are essential to the growth of the not-for-profit theatre field."
The 2013 MetLife/TCG A-ha! Program recipients are:
· Bag&Baggage Productions (Hillsboro, OR)
As the only professional performing arts organization within 60 miles of eight rural communities, Bag&Baggage Productions will determine how to connect their work to rural audiences in a more intentional way. Situated between urban/suburban Portland and the rural/agricultural west ofWashington County, the organization will assess their nearby communities, examining issues such as the barriers to accessing performing arts services for residents of rural communities; population composition and effective marketing channels; and community interest in artistic programs both historically for the company and for future projects. This assessment will culminate in a series of performances within these local communities, and will include extensive feedback and conversation between the artists and the audiences they serve. It is the organization's goal that through this process they will deepen their understanding of the specific issues surrounding rural communities, their access to live arts and how the company can intentionally connect their work to these audiences.
· Children's Theatre Company (Minneapolis, MN)
Through the use of interactive technologies, Children's Theatre Company (CTC) will research, develop, and test radical new strategies for engaging artists and audiences in sustainable, collaborative community art-making. CTC seeks to explore using crowdsourcing models to create a community-wide dialogue that feeds the artistic process and results in startling new works of theatre. Through deep conversation with artists, young people who have participated in CTC activities and experts in the field of crowdsourcing technology and software development, CTC will research web platforms and other technologies that support large-scale community conversation as well as ways to mitigate anticipated risks such as intellectual property and online safety for young people. This program will engage CTC in a dynamic, reciprocal relationship with their community; witness new energy, passion, and openness from their artists; and put surprising, wild, and brilliant new ideas onto their stages.
· Golden Thread Productions (San Francisco, CA)
To strengthen and deepen a 15-year history of collaboration and networking with Middle Eastern artists that has been strained in recent years due to the current political and economic climates, Golden Thread Productions will develop a network of artistic teams across the globe by co-creating one-minute performances in dialogue, captured on cell phones, and shared in a common virtual forum. Inspired by the usage of smartphones to capture, disseminate and editorialize on recent historic events in the Middle East, the company will utilize this technology to put theatre artists in the U.S.and various Middle Eastern countries in dialogue with each other. These performances will create forums for expression, dialogue and connection that are cost-effective, manageable opportunities for collaboration among otherwise disconnected artists and will support the creation of a thriving global network of artists that are vocal, active and creative towards building a sustainable, dynamic and responsive community.