Arena Stage Holds National Convening Focused on New Play Development

Arena Stage Holds National Convening Focused on New Play Development

Now in its second year, the American Voices New Play Institute at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater will hold a four-day convening bringing together more than 100 theater practitioners from across the country to further the dialogue around new play development. The convening, entitled From Scarcity to Abundance: Capturing the Moment for the New Work Sector, will take place in the Mead Center (1101 6th St., SW) January 26 - 29, 2011 and will focus on the following: identifying the rich and vital activity that already exists in the new play sector, exploring the gaps and challenges facing the field and strategizing the means of continued and closer collaboration to advance the new work infrastructure moving forward. This convening will build upon the outcomes and initiatives that grew out of last year's convenings: Defining Diversity, Black Playwrights: the Stories We Tell and Devised Work.

This convening is made possible through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

"Once in a blue moon, there is an important convergence of brilliant minds focused on a particular subject," shares Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith. "This convening brings together 100 leading practitioners in new play and new musical development from around America to grapple with the ways we create new work in the theater. Many of the participants have been part of earlier convenings, here and elsewhere, so there's a strong sense of progress being made for promising ideas and initiatives around the field."

The convening kicks off on Wednesday, January 26 with an address from Chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Rocco Landesman on the intersection of for- and not-for-profit theater. This will be followed by a panel focusing on the future of the field as well as an interview with Todd London a year after the release of Outrageous Fortune, the Life and Times of the New American Play. Then participants and the general public are invited to take a sneak peek at scenes from Robert Levi's forthcoming documentary film that delves into the process behind creating the projects of the NEA New Play Development Program (NEA-NPDP), which Arena Stage administered. The day concludes with a panel featuring artists discussing their artistic process as part of that program.

Thursday and Friday, participants will engage in a series of roundtable discussions focused on the following areas: artists and institutions, diversity in new play development, devised work and technology and the new play sector. In the evenings they will have the opportunity to attend performances of the #NewPlay Festival. Friday will also include the unveiling of version 1.0 of the New Play Map for feedback from the field. The convening will end Saturday with a session focused on identifying action steps to move the new works sector forward.

To further the Institute's commitment to documentation and dissemination of all findings, the events of the convening will be live-streamed on #NewPlayTV, with commentary shared by commissioned tweeters (#NewPlay) and bloggers on The New Play Blog. In order to view live-streamed events, please access #NewPlay TV online at http://www.livestream.com/newplay. In partnership with 2AMt, Arena Stage is setting up viewing parties across the country. Plans are underway in Dallas, Austin, San Francisco, Minneapolis, DC, New Orleans, and Chicago. All findings from these communities will be published on the 2AMt blog. In addition, along with the final convening report to be published in the spring, the new online journal Howlround: The Journal of the American Voices New Play Institute will release a special edition specifically around the convening.

The Steering Committee forFrom Scarcity to Abundance: Capturing the Moment for the New Work Sector includes Danielle Mages Amato,President,Literary Managers & Dramaturgs of the Americas; Neil Barclay, CEO, National Black Arts Festival;Emilya Cachapero,Director of Artistic Programs, TCG;Polly Carl, Director of Artistic Development, Steppenwolf Theater;Deborah Cullinan, Executive Director, Intersection for the Arts;Sandra Gibson,President and CEO, Association of Performing Arts Presenters;Adrien-Alice Hansel, Literary Director, Studio Theatre;Jason Loewith,Executive Director, National New Play Network;Todd London,Artistic Director, New Dramatists;Jack Reuler, Artistic Director, Mixed Blood Theatre;Mark Russell, Associate Artistic Director, Producer, Under the Radar Festival;Mark Valdez, National Coordinator, Network of Ensemble Theaters;Shay Wafer, Producing Director,Colored Girl Productions.




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