A provocative blog post making one case for a National American Theater -
Magda Romanska posts a wide-ranging, historic, international perspective on American theater vs. national theater traditions. Here’s an excerpt, read the full post here:
“…. In the U.S., theatre’s function as a marker and maker of national identity has been mostly taken up by Hollywood …. In the popular imagination, theatre remains either a form of commercial entertainment or a function of private expression.Yet, with the increased balkanization of our social and linguistic sphere and the increased bifurcation of our political landscape, an all-inclusive, national theatre, because of its liveness and physical propinquity, can provide the kind of much-needed Socratic dialogue of sustained compromise that’s absent from our public spaces, both actual and virtual.
Without the heavy subsidies that made that dance possible for European theatres, American theatre institutions (by which I mean most – not all – regional theatres) have been confounded by their own contradictions. Freed from the responsibility to speak for the people, they have mostly dissolved into stratified corporate structures, whereas the vision of the artistic director has become the singular vision demanding to be supported by the state and its audiences. Without a history of heavy state funding of its performing arts, and thus, without a history of negotiating the relationship between its artistic interests and the state’s national interests, American theatre is caught in a cognitive loop, demanding, on the one hand, funding from the state and, on the other, the freedom to exist in opposition to the state, while simultaneously preserving the Romantic allure of the theatre artist as the spiritual leader and conscience of the nation. As a result, while aspiring to reconcile these mutually exclusive objectives vis-à-vis a free market economy, American theatre find itself suspended in a stratified corporate structure, whereas the theatre’s implicit mission is to be an extension of the voice and vision of its artistic director, who expects and demands the kind of support – financial and otherwise – of his voice and vision once afforded by the royal likes of Louis XIV.
The best example of this phenomenon is the recent short-lived outburst over Guthrie’s all-male, all-white season, so much at odds with its much-lauded explicit mission of cultural diversity, yet barefacedly demanding to be supported by its audiences and taxpayers. Since there is no tradition of national theatre as such, Guthrie’s government support comes without any implicit or explicit obligation to express the national identity and the voice of the people. Since the government funding is insufficient to bribe the artists into submission, there is no tacit agreement of any kind between the theater and the state. Thus, it’s only logical that the artistic director feels fully entitled to treat the theatre in his care as an extension and expression of his own white, male identity….”
Magda Romanska is an award-winning writer, theatre scholar, & dramaturg. A former exchange scholar at the Yale School of Drama & fellow at the Mellon School of Theatre & Performance Research at Harvard University, Romanska teachers courses in Theatre History, Theory, & Dramaturgy at Emerson College in Boston, MA. She is a research associate at Harvard University’s Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, a member of the Literary Managers & Dramaturgs of the Americas, & a recipient of the 2011 Aquila Polonica Article Prize & the 2010 Gerald Kahan Scholar’s Prize.
Catch the Best of 1he 2012 League of American Orchestras’ Conference
Good news! If you missed the recently concluded League of American Orchestras National Conference – or wish to relive it – you can still catch the highlights.
Video, transcripts, blog posts & more capture inspiring & informative general sessions, practical toolbox sessions, the annual meeting, performances, & other key conference events. Details, video & links below:
This dynamic gathering, supported by the Georgetown University Reflective Engagement in the Public Interest Grant, will bring together more than fifty theater artists, policymakers, government officials, activists, cultural leaders, educators, journalists, & scholars from around the world, as well as Georgetown University faculty, students, & alumni.
Led by Georgetown’s Derek Goldman, Artistic Director of the Davis Performing Arts Center & Professor of Theater &Performance Studies, and Cynthia P. Schneider, Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy, the three-day convening will explore how to maximize the potential of theater & performance in the context of international challenges, & how to bridge the gap between the worlds of foreign policy & global performance. For more details about the convening, click here.
The following sessions will be livestreamed on #NEWPLAY TV at newplaytv.info. To participate in online discussion during the events, put the hashtag “#globalperformance” in your Twitter messages. Follow @newplaytv for streaming updates.
THURSDAY, JUNE 14 Session 1: DC: A Laboratory for Global Performance and Engagement 17:00-18:30 GMT / 10am-11:30am PDT (San Francisco) / 1pm-2:30pm EDT (Washington DC) / 6pm-7:30pm BST (London) / 7pm-8:30pm CEST (Paris) / 8pm-9:30pm AST (Baghdad) / 10pm-11:30pm PKT (Lahore).
Moderated by Derek Goldman, Artistic Director, Davis Performing Arts Center & Professor, Theater and Performance Studies, Georgetown University.
Alicia Adams, Vice President for International Programming, The Kennedy Center
Michael Dove, Artistic Director, Forum Theatre
Adrien-Alice Hansel Literary Director, Studio Theatre
Chris Jennings, Managing Director, Shakespeare Theatre Company
Shirley Serotsky, Director of Literary and Public Programs, Theater J
Andy Shallal, Founding Owner, Busboys and Poets; Co-Founder, The Peace Cafe
David Snider, Director of Artistic Programming, Arena Stage
Miriam Weisfield, Director of Artistic Development, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Commentator: Peter Marks, The Washington Post
Moderated by Daniel Banks, Co-Director, Theatre Without Borders; Co-Director of DNAWORKS; Faculty, M.A. in Applied Theatre, City University of New York.
Christine Evans, Australian Playwright; Assistant Professor, Theater and Performance Studies, Georgetown University
Jonathan Hollander, Artistic Director, Battery Dance Company
Pam Korza, Co-Director, Animating Democracy/Americans for the Arts
Jennifer Nelson, Director of Special Programming, Ford’s Theatre; Adjunct Professor, Theater and Performance Studies, Georgetown University
Christina Scheppelmann, Director of Artistic Operations, Washington National Opera
Commentator: Diane Ragsdale, former Program Officer, Performing Arts, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Session 3:Global Theater Meets Global Politics 20:15-21:45 GMT / 1:15pm-2:45pm PDT (San Francisco) / 4:15pm-5:45pm EDT (Washington DC) / 9:15pm-10:45pm BST (London) / 10:15pm-11:45pm CEST (Paris) / 11:15pm-12:45am AST (Baghdad).
Moderated by Cynthia P. Schneider, Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy, Georgetown University.
Shahid Nadeem, Pakistani Playwright and Director
Nicholas Cull, Professor of Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California
Nicolas Kent, Director, The Great Game; former Artistic Director, Tricycle Theatre
Susan Loewenberg, Producing Director, LA Theatre Works
Sharon Memis, Director, British Council
Commentators: Alyse Nelson, President and CEO, Vital Voices & Paul Foldi, Senior Professional Staff Member, Senate and Foreign Relations Committee
Moderated by Derek Goldman and and Cynthia P. Schneider.
Recordings available after the session:
Conference sessions NOT livestreamed:
FRIDAY, JUNE 15 (will not be livestreamed on #NEWPLAY TV)
Session 4: Opportunities and Challenges in the Arab & Muslim World
10:00am – 11:15am EDT (Washington DC)
moderated by Cynthia P. Schneider (Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy, Georgetown University)
Marvin Carlson (Distinguished Professor of Theatre, Comparative Literature and Middle Eastern Studies, City University of New York)
JJ El-Far & Tracy Francis (Co-Directors, Hybrid Theatre Works)
Rubén Polendo (Artistic Director, Theater Mitu; Theater Program Director, NYU – Abu Dhabi)
Waleed Shamil (Assistant Professor, Baghdad University; Adaptor/Director, 9 Parts of Desire)
Torange Yeghiazarian (Artistic Director, Golden Thread Productions)
Commentator: Haleh Esfandiari (Director of the Middle East Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars) & Nadia Oweidat (DPhil Candidate, Arab and Islamic Studies, Oxford University; former Analyst, RAND Corporation)
Session 5: Opportunities & Challenges in Africa
11:30am – 12:45pm EDT (Washington DC)
moderated by Roberta Levitow (Co-Founder and Co-Director, Theatre Without Borders; Artistic Associate, Sundance Institute East Africa)
Ping Chong (Artistic Director, Ping Chong & Company)
Belayneh Abune (Professor, Addis Ababa University)
Daniel Banks (Co-Director, Theatre Without Borders; Co-Director of DNAWORKS; Faculty, M.A. in Applied Theatre, City University of New York)
Carole Brzozowski (University Arts Presenter, Syracuse University)
D. Soyini Madison (Chair, Department of Performance Studies, and Director of Oral History and Performance as Social Action with the Program of African Studies, Northwestern University)
Commentator: Carol Lancaster (Dean of the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University)
Session 6: The Next Generation: Curricular Approaches
2:00pm – 3:15pm EDT (Washington DC)
moderated by DEREK GOLDMAN (Artistic Director, Davis Performing Arts Center, & Professor, Theater and Performance Studies, Georgetown University)
Emma Clark (School of Foreign Service & Theater & Performance Studies, Class of 2013, Georgetown University)
Shiloh Krupar (Assistant Professor, Culture and Politics, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University)
Erwin Maas (Director of Performing Arts, Netherlands Cultural Services USA)
Joseph Megel (Faculty Artist in Residence, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Co-Artistic Director, StreetSigns Center for Literature & Performance)
Juanita Rockwell (Founding Director, MFA in Theatre, Towson University)
Maya Roth (Director & Associate Professor, Theater & Performance Studies, Georgetown University)
Commentator: John Voll (Professor of Islamic History and Associate Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University)
Session 7: Making it Happen: Partnerships and Models
3:30pm – 5:30pm EDT (Washington DC)
moderated by Derek Goldman (Artistic Director, Davis Performing Arts Center, and Professor, Theater and Performance Studies, Georgetown University) and Cynthia P. Schneider (Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy, Georgetown University)
Cynthia Cohen (Director of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts, Brandeis University)
Jonathan Hollander (Artistic Director, Battery Dance Company)
Chris Jennings (President, International Theatre Institute (TCG) and Managing Director, Shakespeare Theatre Company)
Todd Lester (Executive Director, Global Arts Corps)
Roberta Levitow (Co-Founder and Co-Director, Theatre Without Borders; Artistic Associate, Sundance Institute East Africa)
Joanna Sherman (Artistic Director, Bond Street Theatre)
recorded by Art on Air on April 11, 2012 as part of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Access Restricted series.
The participants in this panel discussion were: Jan Cohen-Cruz, Randy Martin, Morgan Jenness , Rachel Chavkin and moderator Amy Whitaker.
This radio program is presented in three parts: panel presentations, topics selected by the audience, and a question and answer session.
The event took place at the intersection of Broad and Wall, where Federal Hall sits across from the New York Stock Exchange, which serves as a physical representation of the proximity of money and politics throughout the history of Lower Manhattan. The discussion explores the complicated and often fraught relationship between art, money and politics, the semiotics of dissent and how this is represented in the current moment.
Access Restricted is a series of public programs exploring the changing face of the city, produced by The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. For more on these programs visit www.LMCC.net. These programs are produced for radio by agreement with the Clocktower Gallery and its radio station operating at ARTonAIR.org.
As part of the 36th Annual Humana Festival of New American Plays at the Actors Theatre of Louisville will hold four panel discussions to be webcast live on #NEWPLAY TV. The first is Saturday, March 10, 2012 at 11am EST / 10am CST.
The Good Groupthink: How Communities Solve Problems
Kris Kimel, founder of Louisville’s IdeaFestival, will facilitate a panel discussion exploring how communities have banded together to generate solutions to current issues. The panel will feature a cross-section of artists, educators and entrepreneurs who will share their insights on the problem-solving power of “crowd” intelligence.
The panel will include: Louisville-based Filmmaker and Entrepreneur, Gill Holland; Russel Hulsey, Artist; Nat Irvin, University of Louisville Business School; Will McAdams, Theater artist specializing in community-devised work, and Dr. Ted Smith, Director of the newly-formed Office of Economic Growth and Innovation.