HowlRound Theatre Commons Celebrates 10 Years

The company has also announced its 2021 10th Anniversary Programming.

By: Mar. 25, 2021
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HowlRound Theatre Commons Celebrates 10 Years

HowlRound, a free and open platform to amplify progressive and disruptive ideas about theatre located in the Office of the Arts at Emerson College, announces its tenth anniversary.

Beginning in January of this year, HowlRound has embarked on a yearlong series of programming to celebrate the contributions of the thousands of theatremakers who have shared their knowledge via the platform and to reflect on the opportunities and challenges the theatre field has faced in its evolution over the last ten years, while also looking toward what's next. Alongside HowlRound's daily work of curating progressive and disruptive content by and for theatremakers worldwide, modeling commoning, and connecting people, HowlRound is excited to announce new programming including the Devising Our Future series, This Day in HowlRound History, and more.

"It's thrilling to be able to celebrate a decade of HowlRound and the theatremakers who have lent their collective wisdom to make this platform the deeply impactful fieldwide resource that it is today. It's even more exciting in this threshold moment and inflection point for our field to imagine the possibilities of the next ten years," comments HowlRound director Jamie Gahlon. In her essay "Devising Our Future Through a Commons-Based Approach," which kicks off the Devising Our Future HowlRound journal series, Gahlon notes,

Any future thinking will need to include solutions that respond to the structural inequities within our theatremaking community, while at the same time addressing the global context in which we are operating: fighting widespread pandemics of systemic racism and COVID-19 while dealing with its extensive economic fallout and working against the clock to turn things around on the climate emergency.

When HowlRound was created in 2011, it was a direct response to research that suggested artists were increasingly distant from the center of theatremaking within not-for-profit institutional infrastructure and from the new possibilities created by technology to influence theatre practice. HowlRound's founding came at a time when HowlRound's founders saw too many voices left off our stages, not represented inside of our institutions, and not recognized for their substantial contribution to our past and present. HowlRound set about to create a group of tools that would amplify voices and issues chronically underrepresented and unheard in the theatre.

In light of the structural inequities that the last year has made abundantly clear, the need for a platform like HowlRound, which centers historically excluded and marginalized theatremakers and anti-oppression, is stronger than ever before. Organized as a "commons"-a social structure that invites open participation around shared values-HowlRound encourages free sharing of intellectual and artistic resources and expertise. For ten years, HowlRound has been a repository of knowledge for theatremakers worldwide, exploring diverse issues across the field in service of co-creating its vision of a future theatre field where resources and power are shared equitably in all directions, contributing to a more just and sustainable world.

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2021 10th Anniversary Programming:

Devising Our Future Series: HowlRound asked a diverse group of theatremakers to reflect on the vision it holds for the future: a theatre field where resources and power are shared equitably in all directions, contributing to a more just and sustainable world. As Jamie Gahlon, HowlRound's director, stated in her introduction to the journal series, "As an open-access commons-based platform founded on 'doing differently,' HowlRound is in a unique position to steward radical imagination and divergent thinking around a multitude of theatre futures." This series, launched 16 February 2021 and running through summer 2021, offers a plurality of radical and specific visions for creating the theatre field anew. In April 2021, HowlRound will release a fieldwide open call following the same prompt to extend and further nuance the visions offered to date. All essays in this series are accompanied by an original illustration, commissioned by HowlRound, as well as an audio recording of the piece to ensure maximum accessibility. This series will be complemented by forthcoming HowlRound TV events that will bring together series authors in conversation to further discuss the potentialities of theatre futures together.

This Day in HowlRound History: HowlRound and the Latinx Theatre Commons have produced thirty-seven in-person convenings over the last decade that have addressed many of the theatre field's most pressing issues. Throughout this year, HowlRound will be highlighting these conversations through the sharing of photos, essays, and archival HowlRound TV convening video that feature learnings and ideas from these gatherings. Through this work that reflects the historical nature of these conversations and their impact on the field, HowlRound will ask folks to reflect on where the field was then, where it is now, and where it's going next.