Monday, October 25, 2010

How do you define "Community"?

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Contributed by Guest Blogger of the week Amanda Feldman.

I’m exhausted. Today (Sunday) was the last day of Playwrights Week at the Lark. Playwrights Week is a festival of play readings – eight readings in five days to be precise – that is the culmination of Lark’s open access submission program. I feel like I just ran a marathon it’s been seven days of ten to fourteen hour days in the office filled with rehearsals, dinners, receptions, dozens of actors, tons of script copying and lots of wine and coffee and more coffee. As the week was swirling by, this group of artists instantly became each other’s friends and supporters. It was inspiring to watch how good theatre people are at creating and being part of a community.

Of course this makes sense, our art is nothing if not intensely collaborative, but what is so wonderful about being able to create and sustain communities is that I truly believe it gives theatre artists a leg up on the rest of the world. (I can’t prove this but I have a hunch that it’s true.) Anyway, I would like to take my turn as the IT Awards guest blogger by discussing the various theatre communities that I call home.  Also I want to talk about some things I think we can do to strengthen these communities that we all cling to and claim as our own.

Now I am not so na├»ve to throw the word “community” around willy-nilly. It’s definitely a weighted word. We all have our preconceived notions of what a community is and how we define it. Plus the word “community” is definitely one of those hot button grant speak words. People want to know who is in your community? How big is it? How diverse is it? I’m going to try to be clear in my various definitions throughout the week but bare with me as I navigate through my arguments – these are not pre-vetted so you’ll be reading as I’m thinking these thoughts. And, while I don’t plan on being overtly controversial, I do hope to put my own spin what I think is the value of community.

I think it’s only fair to finish this introductory blog post with a question…
Indie theatre artists, how do you define your theatrical community (or communities)?

[On a side note, for those playwrights who read this blog, Lark is currently accepting submissions for Playwrights Week 2011. Just go to Lark’s website for more info. Submissions are due November 20th. http://www.larktheatre.org/programs/submission.htm]


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