Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Ball Begins to Roll

David Dower applauds Gus Schulenberg's national new play initiative called the Homing Project, makes a connection to the New Play Development Program, and then makes his own promise:

I'll commit the Institute right now, in this public forum, to hosting a convening of playwrights and organizations committed to the residency model. And we'll use the weekend to investigate and develop the notion of The Homing Project.

Looks like this could get off the ground. Please put your seats in an upright position. AsDavid says, "2010 is the year we will look back on as the year the "next" was born. Let's make it so..."

P.S. David is anticipating a cry of alarm from me, I assume because these commitments aren't necessarily to playwrights who are in the community or committed to staying there. But at this stage of the game, I'm all for any innovation at all. It's not how I'll be doing things at CRADLE, but it's something I could see my Drama Dept participating in, and at this stage anything that moves the ball looks pretty good to me.


David Dower said...

Oh come on-- sing your song, Scott! Any program that results from this work wants to be clear-eyed about the importance of commitments (both directions) and maybe provide an incentive to invest locally.

Scott Walters said...

I KNEW it was a trap. ;-)

August Schulenburg said...

I think that CRADLE has to be a major part of any long term commitment to a truly national theatre. My thought with Homing Project is that there already exists a great deal of infrastructure that could move the way theatre is made significantly in CRADLE's direction. It's about forming the kind of alliances and commitments that could grow organically into that kind of field. But there are enough places without any arts infrastructure at all that CRADLE remains desperately needed. That's why I think HP needs to include colleges and community theatres; I think it might even be useful to partner with high schools. I'd love to see a high school commit to the work of their students or recent graduates. The belief that theatre is somehow separate from local life begins with all those productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, after all; and I feel like there are large swaths of the population who only see theatre when a high school family member is cast in a show. So it's that combination of building where there's nothing and building up where there's something...anyway, it's all still a very new idea but I'm eager to push forward, so thank you.

Scott Walters said...

Gus and David -- CRADLE is committed to a poetics of place (or, as my mentor Patrick Overton of the Front Porch Institute calls it, a poetry of place). If initiatives like the Homing Project or the NPDP can show the benefits of a long-term relationship between artist and institution, it makes my argument easier to make. What attracts me about the Homing Project, Gus, is that it seems open to commitments from a variety of venues, from professional theatres all the way to, as you say, high schools. From my perspective, that is an enormously important change in orientation, one that gives my CRADLE-filled heart succor. I'm not against local productions of "Joseph," but think they ought to be supplemented with stories, songs, and dances rooted in the area.