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Boston Theatre: Raising Our Standard 2008
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Boston Theatre: Raising Our Standard
A Boston Theatre Conference
sponsored by Bank of America
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Arsenal Center for the Arts

On Saturday, August 9, 2008, over 260 members of the Boston Theatre Community convened at “Boston Theatre: Raising Our Standard”, a Boston Theatre Conference sponsored by Bank of America. Participants took part in panel discussions, breakout sessions, moderated lunch groups, and a feature conversation with Artistic Directors Diane Paulus (American Repertory Theatre), Peter DuBois (Huntington Theatre Company), and Providence’s Curt Columbus (Trinity Repertory Company).

A FULL RECAP with notes from panels, lunch groups, the featured conversation with Artistic Directors, and breakout sessions can be downloaded here.

Conference Agenda

8:00-9:00 am        Registration, Vendor fair (lobby)

9:00 am                 WELCOME  (Mosesian Theater)
Jeff Poulos, Executive Director, StageSource
Performers:  Adrianne Krstansky, Doug Lockwood, Craig Mathers, Karl Baker Olson, Paula Plum.

Judy Braha, Program Head, MFA Directing, Boston University School of Theatre
David Colfer, Brandeis Theater Company, and StageSource Board Chair
Paul Daigneault, Producing Artistic Director, SpeakEasy Stage Company
Greg Maraio, Artistic Director, Phoenix Theatre Artists
Cheryl D. Singleton, Actor, Gold Dust Orphans, Zeitgeist Stage, Way Theater Artists, Queer Soup, ImprovBoston
Joyce Van Dyke, Playwright
Jeff Poulos, Executive Director, StageSource (Moderator)

10:40 am               BREAK, Visit Vendor Fair in Lobby

10:50-11:50 am   BREAKOUT SESSIONS I
Conference attendees are invited to join the breakout group by affiliation.
Actors: Kerry Dowling, Actress
Actors: Bob Murphy, Actor
Directors and Artistic Directors: Diego Arciniegas, Publick Theatre
Designers/Production: Gail Astrid Buckley, Costume Designer
Managers/Administrators: Sara Glidden, Lyric Stage Company
General: Darren Evans, Theatre on Fire and Boston Center for the Arts
Playwrights: Patrick Gabridge, Playwright; member, Rhombus

11:50 am               BREAK, Visit Vendor Fair in Lobby

12:00-12:50 pm   ROUND TABLE LUNCHES
Join fellow theatre artists for informal group discussions and a box lunch.
Lunch group assignments are indicated in your registration packet.
Lunch Group Moderators
ANTIGONE: Michelle Baxter, ACT Roxbury
BLANCHE DUBOIS: Meg Taintor, Whistler in the Dark Theatre
GODOT: David J. Miller, Zeitgeist Stage Company
HEDDA GABLER: Amy Merrill, Playwright
JOE TURNER: Brian C. Fahey, Gurnet Theatre Project
LADY BRACKNELL: Janet Bailey, Janet Bailey Associates
MacHEATH: Bob Murphy, Actor
MAJOR BARBARA: Troy Siebels, Hanover Theater
MAMA ROSE: Julie Hennrikus, Emerson Stage
OPHELIA: Sarah Newhouse, Actors’ Shakespeare Project
OTHELLO: Antonio Ocampo-Guzman, Northeastern University’s Department of Theatre
PRIOR WALTER: John Edward O'Brien, Mill 6 Cooperative
WALTER LEE YOUNGER: Matthew Woods, Imaginary Beasts

12:50 pm                               BREAK, Visit Vendor Fair in Lobby

1:00 pm                 RECONVENE in MOSESIAN THEATER
Fight Test by Angie Jepson and Georgia Lyman (with help from and thanks to Jack Neary).  Featuring Angie Jepson, Georgia Lyman, Adam McLean, and Brett Marks.  Directed by Brett Marks.

1:15-3:00 pm        CONVERSATION WITH ARTISTIC DIRECTORS (Mosesian Theater)
Artistic Directors:
Curt Columbus, Trinity Repertory Company
Peter DuBois, Huntington Theatre Company
Diane Paulus, American Repertory Theatre
Scott Edmiston, Director
Kate Snodgrass, Artistic Director, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and Boston Theater Marathon

3:00 pm                 BREAK, Visit Vendor Fair in Lobby

3:15-4:45 pm        BREAKOUT SESSIONS II
Directors and Designers: Collaboration from Concept to Creation
What is the unique and creative process in which directors and designers engage during the mounting a production? Hear about successful and thought-provoking director/designer relationships and experiences, and take part in the discussion by sharing your stories.  Moderators Spiro Veloudos, Producing Artistic Director, Lyric Stage Company, and Rafael Jaen, Costume Designer and Design Tech Faculty, Emerson College.

Emerging Leadership: The Next Generation of Theatre Leaders
What opportunities exist for the next generation of artistic, executive and managing directors? How will these future leaders grow into these roles? Are Boston theatres preparing for the next generation -- if so, how, and if not, how might the theatres better prepare? Join this lively and interactive discussion moderated by Rebecca Curtiss, Huntington Theatre Company; Summer L. Williams, Producer/Director, Company One; and Dawn M. Simmons, Programs and Marketing Manager, StageSource.

It’s a Blog Blog World: Theatre Journalism, Audience Development and Web 3.0.
Session leaders will share examples of utilizing new media in audience development campaigns including social networking, audio and video podcasts, mobile devices and other resources. Web journalism, blogs, user-review sites and the impact on traditional media and theatre criticism will also be discussed. This session will be moderated by Charlie McEnerney, ArtsBoston; Nicholas Peterson, A.R.T.; and Susan Koop,

Producing Your Own Work, with Gary Garrison, Dramatist Guild of America
Playwrights, writers, performers, directors and all theatre enthusiasts are invited to participate in a discussion on mounting your own work and the challenges to taking a piece from page to stage. Moderated by Gary Garrison, Executive Director of Creative Affairs of the Dramatist Guild of America. 

Mid-size, Small & Fringe Theatres: a Network of Peers
Boston has a rich and diverse spectrum of theatre companies working often with limited resources. Some of the most powerful and valuable resources are the individuals working at these theatres themselves. How can a network of peers benefit each other? At the fringe, small and mid-sized theatres, it is often all hands on deck including actors, directors, designers and production staff, from finding the props and costumes and building the sets to raising the money, promoting the productions, and running the theatre. Can a culture of sharing be fostered and be of benefit to the growing number of these theatres in Boston? A roundtable discussion moderated by Kristin Baker, Suffolk University, and Managing Director, Rough & Tumble Theatre. 

A Wicked Good Boston Accent, with Christine Hamel
Boston actors have often benefited from voice-over opportunities and film work continues to come to this region at a record pace. Beyond Fenway Park and the Freedom Trail, one of the unique gems of our region is our regional sound. This “hands on”, or should we say, “voice on”, session will introduce participants to achieving a “wicked good” Boston accent. Session leader Christine Hamel, Actor and Assistant Professor, Boston University School of Theatre.

Women of the Theatre
Hear from women currently working in Boston theatre.  This panel will discuss the possibilities and changing landscape of Boston theatre and the growing presence of women in it.  How will women affect programming, design, and the aesthetic of Boston theatre? Join Debra Wise (Underground Railway Theatre), Danielle Fauteux Jacques (Apollinaire Theatre Company), Liz Hayes (Actor, Founding Member Orfeo Group), Lydia Diamond (Playwright), Sara deLima (Actor), Jackie Davis (Actor, Director, and Choreographer).

4:45 pm                 CLOSING REMARKS  (Mosesian Theater)
Reception in the lobbies at the close of the Conference.

Conference Planning Committee: Sarah deLima, Anne Gottlieb, Rick Lombardo, Amy Merrill, Bob Murphy, Sarah Newhouse, Jeff Poulos, Harriet Sheets, Spiro Veloudos

StageSource Staff: Jeremy Johnson, John King, Maureen Lane, Dawn M. Simmons.

StageSource Board: David Colfer (President), Bob Murphy (Vice President), Amy Cahoon (Treasurer), Gail Astrid Buckley (Clerk), Janet Bailey, Kristin Baker, Michelle Baxter, Skip Curtiss, Sarah deLima, Neil Donohoe, Anne Gottlieb, Thom Kauffman, Sue Kosoff, Ken Kozik, June Lewin, Rick Lombardo, Deb McMartin, Paul Melone, Amy Merrill, Sarah Newhouse, Jacqui Parker, Troy Siebels, Cheryl Singleton, Jeremy Thompson, Spiro Veloudos, John B. Welch, Summer L. Williams.

ASL Interpreters: Chris Robinson, ASL Coordinator; Interpreters Lucy Annett, Nathan Fowler, Michael Sullivan; Onsite Assistant Krystin Balzarini.

Special Thanks
Rick Lombardo, Harriet Sheets and the New Repertory Theatre staff
Martin Holbrook and the Arsenal Center for the Arts staff
Ari Barbanell, A.R.T.
Scott Edmiston
Brad Peloquin
Bluefin Productions
Georgia Lyman and Angie Jepson
And the many many StageSource Volunteers who made the Boston Theatre Conference possible

The Boston Theatre Conference is sponsored by Bank of America, with additional support from Kennison Staffing.



Snapshot of Metro Boston Theatre Community
Summarized by Jeff Poulos, StageSource Executive Director, May 2008

In February 2008, StageSource distributed two online surveys, one to individual constituents (actors, directors, designers, playwrights, production and administrative theatre personnel) and one to theatre companies of the Metro Boston Theatre Community. The surveys were intended to take a snapshot of the theatre community at a given moment in time focusing on issues of training, working in the theatre, union and association affiliations, earnings and benefits, employment, facilities, productions, challenges and opportunities facing individuals and theatre companies in the theatre community, and artistic and personal growth in the next five years and what is needed to fulfill goals.

There were 645 individual respondents (75% of which are StageSource members), and 54 theatre companies responded. We provide here a summary of responses collected to help launch our discussion at the Boston Theatre Conference on Saturday, August 9, 2008. 

Download a PDF of Snapshot of Metro Boston Theatre Community 
Or to receive a copy, call the StageSource office at 617.720.6066.

StageSource Partners