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BWW Blog: The TheaterMakers Summit Is “The Zoom Where It Happens”

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Learn how to make theater in a new world at the 2020 TheaterMakers Summit.

Broadway Producer Ken Davenport
2013 Tony Award Recipient for Harvey Fierstein's Kinky Boots
2018 Tony Award Recipient for Lynn Ahrens' Once on This Island

[On the Broadway shut-down]: "Theater is in a crisis right now and we need to collaborate more than ever. I'm looking forward to hearing what others around the world are going through."

Are you an actor, director, producer, playwright, or theater professional? Do you want to be as prepared as possible for when Broadway reopens? If your answer is yes to either one of these questions, The TheaterMakers Summit is the place for you!

Taking place on November 14th and 15th, with a bonus day on November 16th, Tony Award-winning Broadway Producer Ken Davenport (Once on This Island, Kinky Boots) has created a space where the world's top theatrical talent can educate, inspire, and connect with others.

BWW Blog: The TheaterMakers Summit Is “The Zoom Where It Happens”
Broadway Producer Ken Davenport
(Once on This Island, Kinky Boots)

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year's TheaterMakers Summit will be held virtually to allow theatermakers from around the world to attend remotely. The decision to go virtual has its benefits: it is less expensive than previous years, which means the summit can offer more affordable ticket prices than ever before, and there will be more guests, more attendees, and more networking for less!

"The TheaterMakers Summit is the largest theater conference exclusively for those people who want to make more theater and make better theater. We've gathered 100 A-listers to educate, motivate, and inspire writers, directors, producers, actors, etc. on how to achieve their theatrical dreams. There's no other event like it that unites all theatermakers and helps them get their shows on a stage," says Ken Davenport.

Like always, this year's speakers and panelists include a star-studded cast: Tony-Award Winning actress Jessie Mueller (Waitress, Beautiful The Carole King Musical), EGOT-Winning composer Alan Menken (Newsies, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast), President of Disney Theatrical Productions Thomas Schumacher (Mary Poppins, The Lion King), President of the Broadway League Charlotte St. Martin, President/Editor-in-Chief of Robert Diamond, Producer and Creative Programming Director at Feinstein's/54 Below Jennifer Tepper (Be More Chill, Godspell), Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer Tom Kitt (Jagged Little Pill, Spongebob Squarepants, The Broadway Musical, If/Then), and last, but not least, Grammy and Emmy Award Winning Songwriter/Composer/2020 Keynote Speaker Christopher Jackson (Hamilton, Holler If Ya Hear Me).

"Most people know Christopher Jackson from his incredible performance as George Washington in Hamilton, but Chris is a composer, a writer, and an absolute inspiration. He is a true art-reprenuer. I have no doubt that his keynote will inspire others to achieve great things in the theater," says Davenport.

The TheaterMakers Summit is every theatermakers dream event, but what possessed Davenport to create the TheaterMakers Summit, let alone get involved with theater and Broadway in the first place? "...[S]imply because it's the conference that I would have loved to attend when I was looking to break into the business. I am a big believer that the world is a better place if there is more theater in it. There is only more theater in it if there are more people making theater, so it's my mission to provide whatever resources I can to get them to create more theater," says Davenport.

In terms of how he got involved with theater: "My parents got me involved in our local community theater when I was five years old. It was a hobby when I was a kid. I never thought it could be a viable career, but when I saw Les Miz when I was sixteen, I realized I couldn't pursue anything else but the theater as my career".

When asked how Davenport selected this year's speakers and panelists, he shared, "We never do anything without asking people what they want! We surveyed my blog readers as well as the members of The TheaterMakers Studio for the subjects that were on their mind. Our panels were chosen based on these subjects, and then I went out and found experts in those subjects."

Some of the panels this year include "Self Care for TheaterMakers to Make Sure You Keep Creating," "Where are we headed? A Frank Conversation with The President of Disney Theatricals and The Chairperson of the Broadway League, Thomas Schumacher," "Equality: How We Can All Work to Raise Voices of BIPOC On and Off Stage," and "The Next Gen of Broadway Producers: What Are They Looking For?"

Which event is Davenport most excited for this year? "I'm excited about all of our panels, but what I'm also excited about is the opportunity to meet other theatermakers! One of the coolest things about our conference software platforms is the networking connections our attendees can make! You might think you can't network at a virtual conference, well, we're about to prove you wrong!" says Davenport. The conference's technology allows its' attendees to set up their own virtual networking rooms. Attendees are able to invite individuals to private networking rooms to talk face-to-face.

Davenport acknowledges how the Broadway shut-down has affected his career, as well as theater as a whole: "[The Broadway shut-down] has forced me to pause a number of projects, but it has also helped me learn how to pivot, embrace risk, and find efficiencies in my business so I can make it through these tough few years. Theater is in a crisis right now and we need to collaborate more than ever. I'm looking forward to hearing what others around the world are going through."

Buy your tickets to the 2020 TheaterMakers Summit by clicking on this link: WWW.THEATERMAKERSSUMMIT.COM

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