Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Interesting Turn

I want to sincerely thank Sean Williams for curating our blog and all of the artists who contributed posts for Indie Theatre Week. James D. Carter, Shaun Bennett Fauntleroy, Gyda Arber, Patrice Miller, and Nat Cassidy all contributed thoughtful and brave posts. 

The question that Sean posed to our guest bloggers was “What is happening right now in the Indie Theater Community, and how do you think it will change in the coming years?" It’s a great question and there was nothing in the question that suggested the bloggers should focus on a specific topic. It could have gone in a thousand different directions. They could have talked about technology, or Shakespeare, or international collaborations, or future generations, or any number of other topics.

The fact that many of them decided to dedicate their post to the Showcase Code was unexpected in some respects. However, the code is definitely something that has a huge impact on the community and so it is not surprising that it is at the forefront of people’s minds.

One reader suggested that by publishing a series of posts about the code that the Innovative Theatre Foundation appeared to be anti-union. We are not anti-union. (And to be clear I do not believe that any of the bloggers are anti-union either. I think everyone agrees that Equity is extraordinarily beneficial and is respectful of their intentions to protect actors and stage managers. Our guest bloggers were all expressing opinions and trying to engage in community debate to explore what they see as issues that need to be addressed). I can assure you that it was not the intention that the blog last week be about Equity or the Showcase Code.

Had we designed it to be a week dedicated to that topic, we would have strategically selected artists of various disciplines and chosen people with different perspectives so that we could more fully explore the topic. It has ALWAYS been our stance that there needs to be open conversation about issues, problems and ideas affecting OOB and our blog has often been a forum for community debate and discussion. It is important that all points of view be included (especially opposing views) in the conversation.

To that point, I understand the reader’s criticism and I think that equal space should be provided to those who might have opposing viewpoints. So, if you feel that your perspective was not adequately represented in last week’s posts, PLEASE contact me.

All of that being said, what an exhilarating week (even if blood pressures were tested). I was so excited to see community members engaging in frank, contemplative, deferential, passionate conversation about such a controversial topic. The public debate helped us understand each other better, it was an opportunity to correct some long-held rumors and sometimes these kinds of deliberations can actually help lead to solutions.

If we never openly discuss topics on which we disagree and never question one another, and sometimes fight and argue our points of view, then we will never be able to learn or grow or change. And ultimately that’s what Sean’s question was about, how do we learn and grow and change from here?

Again thank you to our incredibly courageous guest bloggers. I am in awe of your willingness to put yourself in the uncomfortable and scary line of fire. Thank you Sean Williams for recruiting such complex, knowledgeable and engrossing people. And thank you to everyone who daringly participated in the discussion. You make me proud.

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