Spring announcements

from me and Small Wooden Shoe

(Mostly) Viewpoints Workshops.

Sunday April 28th and May 5 12–4pm only $100 CLICK HERE to register and for more information. The last two have been great and getting better - the feedback has bee terrific and I think we’re working on performing in uncommon, but very helpful ways. Past folk have included performance artists, actors, choreographers, directors and a stand up comic. And now maybe you?


Introducing: The Context Seminar

I'm thrilled to announce that we’re partnering withVideofag to offer a6 session seminaron some of the non-main streams of theatre practice. It will be mangled journey through influence and (Western) connections — Centuries 20 and 21. Led by me with a couple guest spots, we’ll read, watch and talk through some of the major lines of thought in the western non-mainstream theatre.

There will be a fridge with refreshments - and yes, homework - but we think that will be refreshing too.

CLICK HERE to register and get more details. (mostly) Mondays 6:30–9 starting June 3rd. $75 Exact dates: June 3, June 10, Tuesday 18, June 24, July 1 OFF, July 8, July 15 Preference will be given to those who can attend all sessions.


In non-workshop news:

May 6 - Small Wooden Shoe Reads Difficult Plays and Sings Simple Songs #5

Every few months we gather in a secret location to read a (secret) difficult play and sing simple songs (what do you think it was?)

By donation, but advance notice is needed so we can tell you where it is.

email difficult@smallwoodenshoe.org 

Curated by Leora Morris with interference from Jacob Zimmer

 


In other good news - congrats to Wesley J. Colford- he received a Theatre Ontario Professional Theatre Training Program grant to work with me this summer. We’ll be working on Difficult Plays, producing Antigone Dead People and developing our new project -The Small Wooden Shoe Radio Variety Show (which is all I’m going to say about that... for now.)

I met Wesley at SUMMERWORKS LEADERSHIP INTENSIVE PROGRAM (S.L.I.P) last year, a great program for emerging theatre makers to meet each other, see a bunch of work and ask questions to the people who make it.

The program is now accepting applications for this summer - apply or pass the news on to someone who you think would like it. CLICK HERE for more information.

Deadline to apply online is Friday April 26 at 5pm - the form is HERE

Playing the conditions

"The fundamental challenge remains: How can you foster both a deep and applied understanding of how things currently get done in a professional field, while also deeply questioning those standards of practice?"
-- Traditions of the calling - The Artful Manager

Can we both "play the condition" and work to change those conditions? It's a question that's been rattling around.

Tied as a performer - and as a producer and more importantly as a human being - to the questions in realism and pragmatism, it continues to trip me up.

In theatre school "playing the condition" was a significant part of what I took from the acting training of Penelope Stella and Marc Diamond (still missed.)

"Admit what's going on" is how I phrase it these days.

To see the world as close to as-it-is as I can manage, understand the circumstances that led here and then deal with this moment as honestly as possible. Whether applied to a fictional character, a task based improvisation or group facilitation, I find it hard to imagine "play the condition" not being decent advice to start from.

However, Brought up against a world so needing changing - whose conditions are unacceptable and unbearable for so many - do I play those conditions or try to change them?

In a positive sense, playing the condition is a call to be mindful of the situation on the ground; not to pine for a past that was never as good as we pretend and certainly never going to return; to take the situation as we find it and find a way.

In a less good sense, it can be seen as accepting the status quo and trying, at best, to game the system. It raises the historic failures of "changing the system from within."

It bristles against the hard-liner in my head that wants the conditions radically changed before any playing is to be done. "Playing the condition is the privilege of the few. The rest are played by the condition." …etc, etc.

I don't know that there are answers - but the question seems important.

loose thoughts at the end: It's worth being weary of abstracting performance practices and theories into geo-politics or social principles, but I think it is worth trying on, at least for moment.

Difference if not Contention

In Toronto Theatre: Five Points of Contention Holger Syme raises a lot of good questions and makes his arguments in a clear way. There are things I agree with and things I don't -- but thanks so much to Holger for bringing them out in a non-hysterical mode that allows for generous disagreement.

Below I go through his 5 contentions one at a time, include a brief summery of Holger's point (and approved by him.)

dir /w> 1.Our theatre needs classics 2.Our theatre is predictable 3.There is never enough time 4.Our theatre is a deeply immoral institution 5.Money isn’t doing what money should be doing


1. Our theatre needs classics

Approved summery: There are not enough plays from before the 20th century done in Toronto. This is in part due to false notions of relevance and nationalism.

I would frame this a little differently: Our culture needs context. And so stories are helpful.

My practical answer to most of this is in the becoming-regular Small Wooden Shoe Reads Difficult Plays and Sings Simple Songs

there is something more radically surprising about an innovative staging of an old play than about any staging of a never-before-seen play, because the former comes prepackaged with expectations that can be disrupted.[…]

plays become “classics” because of their ability to remain current — to continue to feel like “emergent” works, to continue to speak to audiences generation after generation (even if what the play is taken to say may shift radically from century to century).

This is, I think, confusing stories with plays.

The story of Iphigenia was well known at the time. Known stories are helpful entry ways into being able to change stuff up. They can also provide structure, which can be super helpful. This is very different from staging the old play.

I love the story of the Oresteia - but I will buy a ticket for a Charles Mee way faster than for a translation of Aeschylus – even for some fancy new translation. We are in a different time. Story telling modes change. (This DOES NOT mean grafting on conceits and technologies of the day - there better be a deeper zeitgeist than that in the modes of theatre)

Obviously - as Small Wooden Shoe finally gets to show people Even Webber’s Antigone Dead People – a show that has been supported by many and took a while to come to the stage – I think a lot about why we return to certain stories. But that’s a whole other post. <top>

2. Our theatre is predictable

Approved Paraphrase: There is not enough diversity of practice and approaches to work - new or old. Every play should be treated as new. Timidity is bad and a healthy competition for innovation would help.

That’s true. And I agree with you on most of this. (Though I think Factory could easily commission new tellings.) And I love the Brecht quotes, but I guess that’s not surprising.

I still think there’s a difference between a story and a play. Between a new treating of an old story and a new production of an old play.

The language has so changed and the way we hear language as people in the world, has changed. The way we understand pictures and what it means to be human has changed since the script first played. Never mind that the understanding is different between Halifax and Toronto. So something needs to be worked, to become local.

This is also true of translations - the Brecht translations (the ones I’m familiar with) need to be updated. They can play fast and with humour and they’re great that way – not the boring museum piece or an overwrought Müller rendition.

My Brecht is a Brecht for here and now. The translation I like and work on might not play in Germany, that’s fine, I’m not in Germany. All this to say, we need our classics. We’re also not all from one little white area of the globe anymore. Classics are going to be different now, if there’s to be any meaning in them.

I really don’t want to watch a bunch of people try to out innovate each other. They can start a jam band. Or invent a time machine to a different time. Also, I have seen some terribly boring European theatre too. Good work is good work. And the other way.

I worry about defining the problem with the word “timid”, only because my mind jumps to antonyms like aggressive, angry, rash, and to a lot of yelling and serious meaningful faces, and I want to die a little. Or at least, I want to do something else with my night out.

Because it can and must be a good night out. Good ideas are entertaining. The separation of pleasure and theatre is not helping anyone.

But also of course, bravery and courage are required. This is terrifying shit we’re doing and the material rewards are so little as to make us all into amateurs (those in it for love.) And it takes real bravery to work with pleasure and rigour and politics and ethics. And not many people are trying to do that. So that requires some courage. (To be reminded of the cliche that courage is only required where there is real danger and fear.) <top>

3. There is never enough time

Approved summery quote: "You can’t be innovative, or radical, or especially deep, or especially thoughtful in a three-week rehearsal process. It’s just not enough time."

There is magic math I believe in. A math of rehearsal time and interesting-ness. 4 hours is enough. 8 is too long. 24 hours, if in a row, is enough. One week is enough, 2 is dangerous. It goes on. And is imprecise and probably deeply personal.

But something in it holds - with Small Wooden Shoe’s work we think about it a lot. For the big theatre projects, I prefer multiple short chunks of rehearsal (10 –14 days) that have various sorts of pressures - performing for people usually - ideally spread out over longer time frame. I like to have time to let things settle and reflect in important ways. It also gives us the time to change our minds, something dearly lacking.

Also, I am useless after, at most, 6 hours of group work, and I don’t think I’m alone. Quiet time is needed in our life. As is time in parks and with friends doing things other than working on some play.

The intensive model I can get behind is the retreat mode. This often means short rehearsal times because of the cost of room and board - but I like it a lot. Especially on farms. The company eats together and lives together. The grounding happens through that process, and the space created by the distance from home.

For the fast work, we think about the importance of time math. We’re asking performers to swing big and have fun inside challenging material, and we think this can reveal meaning and depth. This means we try to be very clear and that we rely on the actors competencies. It is time to let loose and trust the years of work and pleasures of playing that have come before. It’s about allowing choices to made - getting out of our own way in the same way that long rehearsal periods can be about getting around our blind spots and inhibitions. The readers theatre is really a kind of actors theatre. Given all that, Leora and I are going to play to people’s strengths - a (basically) cold read is no time to get tricky with casting.

In these ongoing projects we build a language and a process and keep a good balance of regular collaborators and new people. This is what a standing company could also do. None of us have the resources to move beyond project funding, and so without alternative economic models, are not going to be able to maintain a “company.” I’m not convinced that that’s the model I’m interested in anyway. I want a creative and strategic core that is a stable and diverse team, but different projects need different people.

What I interested in with Small Wooden Shoe (and I don’t think we’re alone) is to create a more open company structure: where there is leadership and real value placed on previous experience in the processes and a relationship with the values of the work and we recognize the value of bringing new people into the work. (This work interests me - Jonah Lehrer scandal aside)

Part joys of the Small Wooden Shoe Reads Difficult Plays and Sings Simple Songs is that we get to meet and introduce people who don’t know each other. And enjoy reading difficult plays. Even this little blow to alienation from labour is a start.

HONEST QUESTION And besides: How does a Shakespeare scholar support longer rehearsal times, given the modes of production at the time? I don’t want to open the original practices can of worms (or maybe I do.)<top>

4. Our theatre is a deeply immoral institution

Approved summary: It is immoral and unsustainable for theatre to be in a continual semi-pro status. It leads to under-realized projects, one person self directed shows and jack-of-all-trades master-of-none "theatre artists."

The “theatre artist” - for better or worse, comes in large part from a 60s movement of shrugging off the heavy dead velvets of a colonial hierarchy and trying to find room for autonomy. So it’s not shocking that it’s different in the mother country. It came at a time when the silos of universities, big institutional theatres and professional associations had almost succeeded in fitting an art practice into the beurocratic industrial frame. It came when there was so much more new money, that the cup runneth over and a little spilled over the edges of the institutions to almost create an independent scene.

That being said - I agree that skills are varied and that fact should be celebrated and put to use. We all have strengths and weaknesses – things we enjoy and are good at and things we’re bad at and don’t like doing. Largely, I try to find ways to do more of the former. And then find people who compliment those features and try to work with them. Enforcing singular roles on people or people doing things resentfully and poorly isn’t going to help. The money’s not good enough for resentment and the last thing we need is bitter and bad art.

Capacity, talent and desire should shape what people do. Desire usually trumps. Which should be leading to some difficult conversations, but often doesn’t.

We are also in the age of artist/producer - perhaps after only a short and lobotomizing detour. I keep meaning to return to Walter Benjamin’s The Author as Producer. The skills of dealing with the world are changing. I’m sorry that upsets the some part of the current racket. There is another essay coming on that article and how it plays now.

I am in complete agreement about cast size. Love me a big cast.<top>

5. Money isn’t doing what money should be doing

Approved Summery: The funding distribution is broken and supports an unsustainably large number of companies with unsustainably small amounts of money. There are options other than direct Council funding to projects.

I too lean this way time to time. That less people should be getting more money. But I will certainly say, reading it here, I thought, “That’s fine for tenure track to say.” The problem is that when any of us imagine this possibility, we imagine the money going to the projects and companies that we would pick. Which, given history, is an incorrect assumption.

I want encourage living wages, diverse earnings and support amateurism. All at the same time. And if we don’t do the last two, the first one isn’t coming.

Find me one knowledge worker who only does one thing any more? The age of life long single specialization is over. We can have some sadness, regret or outrage about this, but pretending that nothing has change isn’t going to be helpful. I worry sometimes that I missed a golden age that I should fight for the return of. But then, I believe in a guaranteed minimum income for all residents of Canada (not just the one town that one time) - so when we really want to talk economic models that don’t replicate and ensconce power, let’s talk about that.

And I certainly agree that the granting system needs a good shake. But I’m not signing on until it’s clear that established companies aren’t always going to come out the winner. I’m very curious about the changes to Canada Council Operating Grants changes. And IF they were made less substantial after the consultations – who were the current clients lobbying to prevent movement of funds based on value of contribution?

The 3rd party recommender system has real strengths, but it adds a bunch of curation and admin onto the theatres that they might not have interest or capacity in, and not everyone is a curator. It also runs the risk of turning to the NEA where only institutions can get grants and power stays the same.

But, no, don’t dream - You have a university worth of space. Who’s stopping us? The big bad System is a thing we made up and agree to keep making up the same boring way. Waiting for someone else (especially one doing ok in the current system) to change is a mugs game.

We can imagine different ways and agree on those.

It’s not going to be London in the good old days - (was that the bear bating or the blackface?) - nor Chicago or New York or Berlin. It might not be Bathurst Street or Queen Street, and I’m not placing bets on the Distillery. So it probably should be Mississauga or Scarborough or maybe the Junction.

What would we have to do?<top>

Talking about Generation

Working on Antigone - I’m aware that generation divides have a long history in the western world and in the theatre.

[Patti Smith Video]

That children desperately want distance and difference from their parents is so engrained in modern western thought as to be cliché when spoken aloud. The field of psychoanalysis is built around this want.

We are also in a specific time of generational shift. A massive and incredibly privileged generation in the Boomers is getting older. This is causing institutional upheaval all over the place. Theatre is no exception. In Canada, many of our mid-sized theatres were started by Boomers - inspired by the Massey Commission, Trudeau money and alt.theatre.nationalism.

We are no longer in those times, and questions of what comes next and how it comes is very much in the air.

Along with this, there is a mini-baby boom happening with mid-30s artists (at least where I am) - this also changes things: suddenly stability, parental leave and daycare are issues for the “emerging” class. People with babies and mortgages (not to mention years of experience) are less likely to wait patiently.

No matter what the strategies and tactics end up being, pretending there’s no generational difference or tension is irresponsible and naive.

A few things I’m thinking about generations:

Beware of speaking of progress

We need to see these differences and tensions outside the frame of linear progress. Things are not moving only in one, progressive, way.[1] The new doesn’t surpass, oust or necessarily improve the old.

Different times and ages require different responses. Looking for an "objective" better-or-worse is probably unhelpful. Change subjects us all.

The privilege to deny difference.

(A great video game metaphor for explaining privilege)

  • "Race doesn’t matter” says the Caucasian.
  • "There’s no glass ceiling” says the man.
  • "Class doesn’t effect success” says the wealthy.
  • "The generational divide is a construct” says the generation in power.

 

Generational power is weird wonky stuff.

The trouble is that no one thinks they’re “in power.” We can fetishize the aesthetic of young bodies, while dismissing the thoughts of young minds. We can insist on experience and “out of the box thinking”. We dismiss grey-hairs as conservative or old fashioned while relying on their wisdom, experience and resources.

It’s happening all over.

"Now entering retirement age, Boomer administrators are finding themselves hovering between holding on and letting go of their current leadership positions in a field they largely established. The next generation is markedly different from theirs, however, and they are apprehensive about handing over the reins." --(from Boomers, XY’s and the Making of a Generational Shift in Arts Management by Victoria J. Saunders

I believe in mentorship and the wisdom of elders. Experience is real and time on the deck can make us better. And there is something important about change and letting go.

Diversity mandates must include a generational diversity more substantial and honest than fetishizing the next hot young thing, supporting the younger artists who make work that is most like the work of the artists before them and/or condescending to give under 35’s[2] a “break.”

It must include respect and meaningful relationships with elders and experience while acknowledging that there will be consequent difference in intent, aesthetics and approaches - artistically and administratively. These differences will sometimes mean disagreement and conflict.

Finding ways to navigate these questions is going to be the work for the next 5-10 years.


  1. For example, social services have never improved in my lifetime. There has only been a fight to maintain or slow the decline of resources. ?
  2. Luckily as a 36 year old, I’m well clear of such daft categories. ?

Stand up for Justice

A song for your long weekend listening, from me and Sedition, or "Kindness Makes Me Cry Like Nothing Else":the JB McLachlan StoryGo to hear song Click through and play on the site.

From the Summerworks page (look for the face)

“This story I tell you is true, my friend / This story of a miner, a man they couldn’t bend. / In the annals of labour, there’s none stands as tall, / As the great J.B. McLachlan, who fought for one and all.” Jacob tells the story, start to finish, in that order. With the occasional break for a song, in this first taste of a new work.

VENUE

Factory Theatre Courtyard, Sat August 11 and August 15 The Great Hall, Sat August 18

SCHEDULE Sat. August 11, Afternoon Wed. August 15, Afternoon Sat. August 18, 4:00pm

August 11 and 18 Jacob will find you. Free (20 minutes) Tickets for Sat August 18 are Pay What You Can

JBMcLachlan 344 cropped

Jacob's nerd omnibus #1

Something completely different for the day of finishing grants.

In case you didn’t know - I’m a bit of a geek - Mac and iOS specifically. And I am always, perhaps obsessively, trying to figure out best ways of working in this world of dispersed working and laptops, tablets and phones.

We’re also trying to share this info better, so others can play along and help us improve. I sometimes get asked about the programs I'm using and so thought I’d make a catalogue post. This is cribbed from a document I’m making for collaborators. Questions and recommendations welcome.

Word processing preferences

.RTF

For files with basic formatting or less, please SAVE AS RTF (rich text format.)
My favourite text editor at the moment is Byword.
We are currently in a boom of different text editors which is pretty great, if overwhelming.

For more formatted documents, ideally I’d use use Pages. It’s just lighter weight and easier to use than Word, but .RTF is fine.

Microsoft Word is the last option and only gets used when change tracking is important and not everyone involved uses Pages.

Budgets / Spread sheets

Excel

Excel is the default and I don’t fight that. Though for less complicated things, I prefer Numbers- just easier to work with and less features that I don’t need.

Graphic Design:

Adobe Creative Suite 6

Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Dreamweaver - pricey but as a charity Small Wooden Shoe gets discounted access through Tech Soup.
Thinking about switching to cheaper solutions from App Store.

Mind mapping:

Freemind

My old favourite. Easy idea dumping. Cross platform but not Mac native, and doesn’t export great. So I’ve been experimenting with: Mindnode 
More and more I’m using text files or outlining programs.

Presentation:

Keynote
For slides.

Freemind
For my longer presentations.

Internet:

Minigroup
A light weight online team collaboration tool. It’s a bit like a working social network with posts, links and the ability to comment. We can also create events and tasks (and assign them to other team members) Best of all we can largely use it out of your normal email inbox if you want. best for: - Posting links you find that the group should know about - Works well on smart phones - New program, developers are responsive to feedback. We’re still in progress of developing the systems for this.

Google Docs
For:

  • Files (documents and spreadsheets) under heavy collaborative revision.
  • Once a more stable version is arrived at, an RTF or XLS file should be made in Dropbox
  • Also used for running or quick reference documents:
    • cashflow
    • contact sheets

Dropbox
For:

  • sharing files that are pretty stable
  • Great for reference material and things everyone needs access to.
  • Please inform via Minigroup if there is a change in a dropbox file you need responses to.

Google Calendar and Doodle
Used for scheduling.

Small Wooden Shoe web stuff:

Wordpress
The Small Wooden Shoe website and blog are both Word Press builds with modified templates.

Vimeo
Small Wooden Shoe has a channel and use it to upload videos.

Mailchimp
For Small Wooden Shoe email list.

Eventbrite
For online ticketing. Right now nothing seems to compete. HINT: Charities can get reduced fees.

Skype
For meetings from afar. For meetings of more than 2 people, I prefer instant message chat to voice or video when possible. I just get frustrated easily. 

Skype works best if your computer is wired into the internet. But when does that happen. It also works better with just voice.

Other instant messaging
I like IM, using Adium. I wish there were easy ways to set up an affordable customized messaging with a team that didn’t mean people were also online for chat or Facebook. 37signals has stuff that does that, but are too expensive for us. If anyone has a good solution, I’d love to hear about it.

Other specific things

Scrivener
A great writing tool created by a novelist. Especially for big projects that involve research or reference. Right now I’m finding it an amazing tool for doing script breakdowns as a director. Can export and can import .RTF.

Omnioutliner
Outlining software. Imports and exports RTF and to Scrivener.

Omnifocus
I use this as my task manager. Sadly it doesn’t do my tasks and I’m not perfect at using it, but I’m trying.

Taskpaper
A very light weight task / list app. Great for quick lists and crossing things off. I also use it as an outliner.

MarsEdit
Desktop blog editor, so I don’t need to be online or in-browser while working on a post.

Markdown
I’m trying out writing in Markdown these days it's a keyboard focused way of formatting plain text documents (again avoiding Word.) A fair number of applications support Markdown, especially those aimed at people who write on the internet. For easy reference: 1 Asterix = italic 2 Asterix = bold
# = Header ##= Header level two etc…

ok - that’s it for now. Again, questions and recommendations welcome.

Theatre without ruling

Some thoughts spurred from a few Michaels comments.


I’m not looking to run an arts service or research organization – I’m a theatre director.

I believe in leadership. I believe in curation and position taking.
I’m not looking to run an “open-source theatre”, or a broadly defined “shared stake holder” art space [1]. Nor am I necessarily a champion of the New or the Next. I don’t think of myself or my work as avant-garde or that radical.

For better or worse, I’m absurdly interested in what can happen in the theatre. So, first, I want to find a home for my work [2] as a director and instigator of shows.

I also believe in a kind of generous ethical transparency [3].
I believe in the intelligence of the room and the vitality of agency and investment for collaborators and co-conspirators. There are people I turn to for inspiration, advice, support and deep input. I think there are times when crowd-sourcing is a great strategy. I believe that public, honest conversation can be good and healthy.

My interest in theatre and use of digital networks grew at the same time. The internet is making different things possible across distance and changing how ideas are shared. Expectations for participation, investment in process and recreational practices are changing. Definitions and understandings of “professional” are changing. There can be great and important lessons for the world and art making in all this opening and changing of tools and norms.[4]

Still, I believe in leadership. I believe in curation and position taking.
Not everything goes. The populism I can stand behind makes choices and is willing to articulate those choices. Not everyone will like the choices or the articulation, but that’s nothing new.

Part of the building-dream is that the main hall wouldn’t have to rented for the business plan to work. It would be in use: teaching classes, holding meetings, a space to run around and a place to dream, but first and foremost it should be a home for creating and rehearsing Small Wooden Shoe projects and the projects a couple other resident companies. I think of it as mostly a rehearsal/creation venue with performance opportunity - more Progress Lab than Theatre Centre or Buddies. Toronto doesn’t need even more mandate duplication.

Participation in the neighbourhood, the day care, after school programs, food services etc… might happen in the other spaces of the building, run by people much more qualified than I. There would need to be a connection with the working of the theatre companies - but also important separation.

Somewhere, I think in Brecht’s journals (to show my theatre-geek) - I read:

“How to lead without ruling?”

That’s been my question since.


  1. Those things have value in the world, just that that’s not what I would be best for. ↩

  2. “My work” involves many deep ongoing collaborations and meeting new people - it’s not only theatre but it mostly is. It is not an isolating activity, yet it does make choices. ↩

  3. Though I’m wary of certain calls for transparency, which are often thinly veiled attacks on front line workers and political enemies.  ↩

  4. There is also developments to be opposed and alternatives proposed.  ↩

Public Application Cover letter

Lots and lots and lots has been and continues (great comments in those last two via Praxis) to be said about the situation at Factory.Now the official call has come.

I have been thinking about buildings and space a lot recently. Thinking about finding a home for Small Wooden Shoe and my work, as well as about community centres, curating and supporting artists to make work that matters in our world. I've been thinking about change and the space for positive engagement in creating that change.

Factory Theatre, in this moment of transformation, might be a place for such a thing.

I also think there needs to be options other than: “I will work for this Board” or “The status quo must be restored” “I will only work for Ken” and “Whoever signs the cheque is good by me.” “Any one who applies is a douche bag.” or "This is a chance of a lifetime.”

It is up to us to open those options.

So here is the beginning of my public application to Factory Theatre. I’m going to propose something different than a standard AD relationship, since I don’t want to abandon the work, relationships or investment I’ve created with Small Wooden Shoe – there’s a problem with emerging Artistic Directors abandoning the history they’re making in order to maintain the historic structures. And the models are more malleable than we admit. There will be more coming, but here is the first part.

Thoughts welcome.

A draft of a first page of A public application to the Factory Theatre position.

Dear Search Committee,

I am applying for the position of Artistic Director of Factory Theatre. We are in a period of change in Toronto, in theatre production and in the world. Cosmetic change to our organizations and ways of working is not going to be enough. Embracing the history that got us here, we must also alter the systems, structures and relationships at the core of what we do. The internet, changing economies, governments and demographics are creating problems and possibilities for all of us.  As Artistic Director, I believe I can contribute to Factory Theatre becoming a leader in the ever-emerging future.

I appreciate your promise of confidentiality, however, given Mr. Gass’ abrupt dismissal and the protests that resulted and continue, I feel it is important to apply in public.

In order to continue with the process, I have one wish: Even disregarding blame, accusation and specifics, the current position is untenable for significant artistic leadership since community, supporter and artistic faith in the organization has been deeply shaken and nothing is possible without that faith.

Given this, a refresh of the governance of the organization will be needed. Towards that end, I request a binding written commitment from all current Board members to move on by January March 1, 2013. If hired, I would form a committee of leaders and thinkers in theatre, non-profit and organizational best practices to conceptualize and recruit a new Board of Director and a new structural relationship.

The month of December will be enough to transfer institutional knowledge.

In our shared desire for the strength and vitality of the Factory Theatre, I hope you will agree that this is a required step for the organization. Agreement on this point should precede further conversation.

Sincerely, Jacob Zimmer

A busy fall

I don’t really think in “seasons” - given that with Small Wooden Shoe, I prefer to do things a bit different. But we’ve got a lot planned for the rest of 2012, and I wanted to let you know about it.

upcoming highlights

In order of happening

Perhaps in a Hundred Years in Montreal went super well. It was amazing to be a part of OFFTA in the midst of the FTA and the Cassarole. We met new friends and reconnected with old ones.Thanks to everyone who helped us get there. For those on Facebook - there's a great photo set here.

Perhaps in a Hundred Years - photo © Dimitrios Touloumis

I have starting writing more at our blog, Minor Expletives and this is only going to increase with Leora Morris joining me to write, curate and edit. We’ve got some plans. You can subscribe with the RSS feed or by email

In August Small Wooden Shoe will be at Summerworks Live Art Series with a first tasting of Sedition: the J.B. McLachlan Story or “Kindness makes me cry like nothing else” - a solo show written and performed by Jacob Zimmer (yikes) with the assistance of Small Wooden Shoe Regulars.

[I will work on it in July, by the fire at the Caravan Farm Theatre while assisting Artistic Director Courtenay Dobbie on Sean Dixon’s new play The Notorious Right Robert & His Robber Bride. There are horses and cars and actors. I’m very excited.]

Sedition

Upper Toronto wrapped up a month of scenario planning with an amazing group of people. We’ll be doing another in the fall. Look for events mid-to-late August.

Sign up for the Upper Toronto email list to keep informed and get in touch.

Upper Toronto - logo Sasha Plotnikov

After a great success the first time,the second edition of Small Wooden Shoe Reads Difficult Plays and Sings Simple Songs will be August 20 - we’ll email a couple weeks before to make tickets available. Location, play and performers are secret and seating is limited - that’s how it goes. Difficult Plays is mostly curated by Leora with me helping out.

Small Wooden Shoe Reads Difficult Plays and Sings Simple Songs

Then I’m thrilled to be part of Koerner Hall’s program forNuit Blanche. We’ll be performing the third edition of Small Wooden Shoe Reads Difficult Plays and Sings Simple Songs. Koerner Hall is a dream space, and we’re looking forward to reading some Gertrude Stein and singing songs to be sung along with. We’ll be doing a few hours throughout the night. We’ll let you know when once we’re closer.

And the big news

On October 18 & 19 we present a full prototype production of Antigone Dead People, a ghost story by the Dora-nominated playwright and long time Small Wooden Shoe collaborator, Evan Webber. Webber takes on our times through Sophocles and Small Wooden Shoe once again brings together some of Toronto’s most exciting performers and artists to work on a project of international significance.

Antigone Dead People

Maev Beaty as Antigone, Philip Sheppard as Creon with Brendan Gall, Frank Cox-O’Connell, Liz Peterson, Antonio Cayonne, Lindsey Clark and Sky Gilbert. With sound design by Chris Willes, costumes by Vanessa Fischer and scenography by our favourite Trevor Schwellnus. Leora Morris will associate direct. It’s a staggering group of people and a great show.  We’re going to make it part of a great night at the Tranzac Club (like you’ve never seen it before), with concerts and conversations before and after the show. Save the date.

And to close the year, in the dark days between Christmas and New Years, the tradition continues as we return with the 4th 3 Penny Christmas Concert. Performed by our no-experience-required, all-fun choir led by the generous and talented Scott Maynard and joined by musician friends. Tickets, in fact, are three cents at the door (perfect for your soon-to-be-obsolete pennies.) As always we hope to fulfill the function of singing together, like in Elf, when it causes the “Spirit of Christmas” to fly Santa’s sled, with no need to sugar-coat, nor accept, the darkness of the songs. They are beautiful and horrible songs and so are perfect for singing together with friends and accomplices.

Small Wooden Shoe gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Toronto Arts Council and all of the people like you who support our work.

Relating to the people who write.

The specifics of the Stratford v. Slotkin is just stupid- where the the power dynamic is perceived as the big company deciding they didn't want a writer (who mostly publishes online but has a history and connection with newspapers, radio and some other legacy formats) coming any more because she wasn't "friends / fan of the company" Seems petty and like "censorship." Sure. Bad move. Good recall.

BUT.

There are a few legacy-format writers in this town that I'd rather charge to see my work, because I don't think we agree about the point of theatre (and maybe life) and their power is completely out of whack with their relevance to anything I'm interested in except for people seeing theatre.

So would it be better to a) not have more "This action movie is a terrible romantic comedy" reviews that offer nothing and kill curiosity and adventure in people. b) at least have their $15 for their 15 minutes worth of thoughts scribbled down?

Would there be the outcry? Might there be reasons to not want our work look at and written about in a certain frame?

This isn't a question of raves or dislike or online vs legacy - it has to do with people who (for many socio-personal-economic reasons) write destructive, unhelpful reviews that are little more than predictable thumbs up thumb down in the hour after a show and think they deserve free tickets as well as a salary.

Also, let's not pretend the "theatrical debate" is happening in the newspapers. I'm not sure where it's happening, but it's not in the mainstream legacy press, especially not the ones local to Toronto. Someone (or some committee) decided that the Entertainment section is about celebrity, which some of the writers seem absolutely giddy about.

alas that I won't probably post this because, well, because This is nerve wracking to post because maybe they'll retire someday and a magical turnaround will happen in the newspaper business and the theatre will once again get word count and writers will emerge who write for the curious part of people that is interested in lots of different things, not just celebrity. And I work for companies who need the remote chance that they'll like something and that will help bring people out.

But this situation is part of what is untenable about independent, interesting things gaining momentum in dance and theatre in Toronto. And so it should be talked about in more contexts than Festival v. blogger.

And mostly, actually, I'm not going to worry about banning. I might not send them a release or an invitation, might send it to a different editor / writer in the same outfit, but the banning just means making a scene and they take up enough space anyways. Mostly, I'm going to encourage The Toronto Standard, the Torontoist, BlogTO and others to write about theatre and performance as part of a city that I love.

Some of that is about invitations and creating interesting stories and work, and some of that is about where I choose to place my meagre advertising budget.

And that's not about spite or being petty, that's just about relevance and effectiveness.

(p.s. Theatre is also, of course, a legacy format)

Honest questions about our dreams.

An honest question:If the petition was: “Re-instate Ken Gass or close the doors of the theatre forever” would you sign?

If “no”, what is the difference between the above and a boycott?

As I’ve said before, I think sometimes theatres should be closed, so it’s not a crazy idea that the call be “Ken or nothing.” I might actually be able to get behind its honesty.

Despite my public application, becoming the artistic director of a theatre with 35 years of baggage and a new explosion of dysfunction is, surprise, surprise, not my dream job.* Nor is taking over a worn heritage building in the midst of condo developments.

There’s a church for sale around the corner from my house that I’ve got my eye on. A space with an elevator, industrial kitchen, big front yard - perfect for a creation and performance space with some offices and space for a day-care and food program. It’s in an emerging, economically and ethnically mixed neighbourhood – my neighbourhood. (BTW, remember when theatres led, as opposed to desperately chasing, demographic shifts.) This is my real dream job – for Small Wooden Shoe to have a home to call our own, a home to create the kind of space I would like to work in, to live with.

But, even given the various councils’ current re-thinkings**, the chance of developing the public funding stability that would enable us to cover the operating expenses is next to nil. There is simply little to no room in operating budgets – especially for another Toronto theatre led by a balding white guy (which, given the state of things, is fair.)

So, I (and the others Wheeler thinks are applying in secret) am left with the dream of making something we can believe in with the hand-me-downs of previous generations.

Which is not our dream, but that’s reality.

*not to mention, I don’t think the board is going to agree to resign in order to interview for the position.

** Re-thinks are being challenged/complained about – quietly – by the mids and bigs currently holding all the funds.

The Public Amateur

In the great reads category - Artist as Public Amateur.

There is much in a post on publicamateur.wordpress.com that connects to the thinking of what Small Wooden Shoe is, does and aspires - especially as we set out to Halifax with Dedicated to the Revolutions.

I'm still processing and hope to write more clearly on this - but the public performance of curiosity as an artistic and political process has been a driving force in our work.

All of which is well addressed, but this was the quote that finally made me hit "press this" -

Proliferating sharper tools of outrage is not insignificant, but focusing on the failure of authority to produce a more livable world has not in itself produced a more livable world. In compensation, critique offers a sense of mastery. Attached to our skills, we find ourselves nourishing a detached metaknowledge that becomes its own circle of hell.

via Beyond Face « The Public Amateur.

Getting out of those circles of hell (along with the circles of impatience and laziness) is the necessity I feel these days.

More soon (the promise I mean to keep better)

h/t to Sara Hendren through Tim Maly

 

tricking, teaching and getting it done

some thoughts, delayed, after the harolds[maybe the morning of the Dora announcement is as good as anytime] it's important to come together. it's important to trick your friends: congratulations Leora it's important to be reminded: thank you Caroline, Nadia and Chris and everyone.

It's important to remember that I've (we've?) made some choices. And those choices are consequent. If we stand behind them. there is such a thing as theatre people. and they are different from bureaucrats - even if we are turned by the structure, we have to resist that and we resist it by insisting on our choices, on the reasons.

I think of RAT and Erik Ehn - 12 years later baby needs shoes, but we don't have babies to support the baby shoe sector.

Change the hulks of the 80's. We betray the potential of the movement that founded them if we don't make it better.

We do it together. bond together and buy a building - open a school. teach people to pay the bills and spread the good word. Kids, individuals and group music instruction / recreational contemporary theatre & dance / Brecht for Seniors / [Nothing is ruled out, not everything goes]

start a pop-up movement. other spaces, lobby for it being legit, but don't wait. (Canada was occupied by settlers who moved at the pace of the train tracks, that is, the pace of government. We have to exceed that.)

the city can either change bylaws or just not enforce them. the front line workers probably know this. Cops have better things to do than bust pop-up theatres. [respect your neighbours: ignore the bylaws, but not civility]

AND it is a crime against the city that it is cheaper to leave a storefront empty than it is to have it occupied. My street has 4 empty store fronts and 5 theatre companies running out of their living rooms. WTF? You want to fix the disaster on St. Clair. Quadruple taxes on any space vacant for more than 3 months. [Not to mention Pages.] There are models.

We fight alienation - we make spaces where another kind of coming together can happen. but we don't *intrinsically* do it. It must be conscious.

who's in?

Questioning the everlasting nature

Is there ever a time when it's ok for a theatre company to close?This is the question I keep asking myself these days. I'd like to separate it a bit from the closing of the Vancouver Playhouse, though obviously that is what has it on my mind. I don't know enough about the situation or the scene to comment about the specifics, but there is something general that I think needs to be talked about.

Old Growth Forest

The "ecology" metaphor gets a fair amount of play in the arts. The idea being that a scene is a complex, interdependent network of big and small, a diverse community that relies on each other in potentially unexpected ways in order to thrive. It's a metaphor I've used and genuinely generally am ok with. I do believe in the value of healthy bigs and successful commercial theatre along with the nimble, emergent and experimental and most of everything in between (it is a bloated middle that I worry most about.)

So, if we take, for the moment at least, the ecology metaphor a step further, the problem is that we, as an arts community, seem to want endless growth. Current structures to be maintained while new ones are continually born and grow. Which isn't how I understand ecologies to work. To be blunt, things have to die in order for other, new, things to grow.

So, is there ever a time when it's ok for a theatre company to close? Is it that it should only be by clear choice, rather then to avoid the creditors? This seems historically unlikely. For economic reasons, companies refuse to die. The need to maintain the operating support from government alone means that there is a rotation of Artistic Directors, a turning of larger and larger ships, with more and more influence from the Boards and mandates, structures and models developed in the 70's and 80's.

(Da Da Kamera is the only company I can remember closing shop. [Read Daniel McIvor's remarkable account here] It's rare and full of potential and hope along with sadness.)

With "austerity" and a growing radical conservatism meaning arts funding or private support isn't going to keep pace with the ever growing number of applications and companies, the ecology is going to fail if there isn't significant change.

I will admit that an early thought in hearing about the Playhouse closing was "Oh, at least there will be new money at the councils next year." It feels horrible to think these things, like a philistine betrayal of my peers.

But, We rail against greedy investors and CEO's who keep the lid on the 99% for endless growth, but we replicate it. We rail against politicians who want to hold up the status quo of economic relations, but we fight to maintain our own.

I sincerely hope the best parts of the Playhouse can live on. I hope that there are plans for the costumes and props and physical resources to be distributed into the community of companies, that the patrons and audience and supporters will continue to go to the theatre in a city that is doing amazing things. That the staff take their expertise and commitment and help others to grow to fill the gaps, and to create new, unexpected solutions.

The social and political world we live in is different from a metaphoric or even real ecology. There are ideologies and choices being made: agendas and missed chances. I recognize that.

But I also want to ask, is it ok for a theatre company to close?

**** Another possibility worth discussing: mergers

**** Updates: A good post by Ian Leung challenging the use of the ecology metaphor.

In thinking about the Polar Bear extinction issue (if we ruin the planet, that's not part of the ecology) is important. Though any one theatre is not a species.

Running back and forth

On the verge of starting our first workshop for non-identifying artists - (a spot is still available - email me) - I've been thinking, and really beginning to work towards, the ability to move between professional and amateur.This appeared in my inbox today (Via You've Cott Mail)

"Among the consequences of our fetishism of professional status, it strikes me that we have relegated ourselves to being a sector with huge numbers of unsuccessful and underemployed professional artists rather than a sector with huge numbers of successful, part-time or occasional, pro-am ones."

(Via State of the Artist » Blog Archive » Diane Ragsdale: The professional lens: Are we a sector of underemployed ‘professional’ artists or successful ‘pro-ams’?.)

I think Ragsdale's take is accurate in Canada as well the US - though there are some important differences.

The funding structures in Canada also push us towards identifying as either professional or amateur as do the professional associations (unsurprisingly.) The bureaucratic processes and long timelines mean that the momentum and passion that drive doing something "for the love of it" can fade or be crushed.

But it's not the economic or career ramifications of the separation that are most interesting and available for change - I think the art form will get better and I think more people will be interested in that better art, if there is fluidity between the "pro" and the "am."

As I've said before, theatre might be better to do than it is to watch, and it's certainly better to watch if one also does. To prevent this equation from spiralling only towards esoteric practices, it is crucial that there are people running back and forth between the research and the community. Not to approach social work (though this also is good and interests) but to approach a theatre that deals with the world outside of itself and to develop larger communities who both do and watch contemporary work.

Recreational Theatre

I've been thinking a lot about recreational contemporary theatre, and am about to start a pilot program.I’m leading a workshop / rehearsal process for people who have little or no experience with acting and little or no desire to become professional actors. We will be working on Brecht’s Saint Joan of the Stockyards over ten weeks: doing monologues, small scenes and big scenes. Working on speaking, some physical work and some improvisation. We will show something at the end.

We have a great small group starting on March 17th, but a couple of participants had to drop out, so we’re looking for 2 people interested on short notice.

Because this is the first time I’m doing this, the course is very cheap - just $250 for 10 weeks.

I know lots of my friends are theatre people, but maybe (just maybe) you know someone who isn’t and might be interested in this.

Anyone can email me at jacob@smallwoodenshoe.org if they want to ask any questions, get a full outline or register.

Thanks Jacob

 

Elements of Theatre Performance

A Small Wooden Shoe Workshop Series

Dates and Time 10 weeks

(Orientation Weekend) Sat, March 17, 10am - 1:30pm Sun, March 18, 1pm - 6pm

(Weekly Workshops) Sundays, 1pm - 5pm March 25 April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, May 6, 13, 20

Elements of Theatre Performance will engage participants in the process of developing a theatre show, including performing in front of an audience.  

The learning objectives of the workshop series include: Confidence and ease with public performance Text analysis and argument building Staging and spatial awareness Public speaking Knowledge related to theatre and performance - Brecht with Small Wooden Shoe's spin specifically

Things to consider: Comfortable clothes and shoes are important Breaks will be provided, but food won't be This is meant to be fun as well as educational

 

"When they call us snobs…"

"…they're not wrong"

Funny, Catchy and Not Too Challenging, or “At some point, you’re just an elitist f*ck.”: "…Which got me thinking about snobbery […] I’ve got to say that, for me, those middlebrow shows form a disturbingly large portion of my early memorable theatrical experiences—42nd Street, Miss Saigon, Les Miserables. If I had to say what sparked the interest in theatre in me, I’d be hard pressed to come up with an answer that wasn’t a megamusical."

(Via .)New Beans - Clayton Lord on new art and new audiences

On a direct level I can relate (for me Phantom and Les Miz.) - and I've being thinking about my current interest in returning to musicals and scale, and how I can reconcile that with the focus and skills I've developed doing intimate and research performance. I'm less concerned with the "always everyone" option that Lord mentions, and more interested in the possibilities of back and forth.

Intimate and research art are needed for the field and the world and need government and institutional support (since they have less box office and less access to donors) and populist work (that challenge rather than enforce oppressive, status quo beliefs) is also needed and need support in order to not become financially elitist.

AND - artists, producers and institutions should be able to move back and forth. The middle path can lead to awkward nowhereness but the back an forth is what appeals to me.

What are the changes that are needed for this to be more possible?

On Anonymity

“The problem is not, fundamentally, to get people to slow down, or to move without being toxic to their environment. The problem is to make people aware that anonymity is as toxic to the ecology of heart as hydrocarbons are toxic to the atmosphere. The problem is how to restore intimacy, curiosity, trust, and play into the happenstance encounter of citizens, in an era when the happenstance and the unpredictable are a threat.” Pier Giorgio DiCicco [also]

On stage, we are not anonymous performers or artists – we use our names. This is different than the non-anonymity of celebrity because we not celebrities – that’s obvious. We are people making some very poor financial choices in order to stand in front of others and say our names in small rooms.

Who to thank

Below is a letter I sent Monday to my city councillor. He's both on the Executive Council and not quite a Fordist hard-liner.On Thursday some of the cuts, including to the arts, were pulled off the table [read about it.]

Which is better.

I am grateful for the people who wrote and called their councillors, those who spoke to council and kept media attention going, to those who made their voices heard. And I am grateful to the staff and councillors who are working so hard to make the city work despite Fords' best efforts.

But I'm not sending thank you notes to the Executive or to Palacio just yet. First, I am suspicious of the strategy of announcing more cuts than intended in order to "save the day" at the last minute. This strategy usually means a whole bunch of cuts slip through with little notice and an opposition with no wind in their sales. It's going to take a lot more than one day of being marginally less terrible for the city to have me sending notes of thanks Ford&Co.

The pressure needs to continue, and the real work of changing a city and changing the conditions that made Ford resonate to voters needs to happen. I have little faith in politicians changing their minds. I still, despite all the possible cynicisms, believe that in ourselves and our fellow residents is where change can occur. Let's work on that.

One election day away.

Dear Councillor Palacio,

I am writing to ask you to reconsider your position as a supporter of Mayor Ford.

I moved into the riding in May 2011, buying a first home with my partner on Carrick Street. I love the neighbourhood. I love the economic, ethnic and resident diversity. I'm close to the Silverthorne Library, the hydo-line parkette and I have good access to to the West Toronto Railpath, which is amazing for my year round cycling. The Keele busses and the St. Clair street car make getting to the subway easy (I would love a few less stops, but that is a minor complaint.)

I am looking forward to interacting with the the community centre and park more in the coming year- passing by the full pool in the summer and the rink in the winter is a real delight that makes me happy and proud to live in Toronto and our neighbourhood.

One frustration is the empty storefronts along St. Clair by my house. Between Caledonia and Old Weston, there are almost as many "for rent" signs as there are business. I understand that the neighbourhood is changing and that there will be pains as things shift. But right now the only thing that seems likely to stick is Jonah Schein's constituency office.

I run an small but, potentially, growing theatre and events company. I want us to be a "local" company in many ways. Our shared office is on Dundas West and Keele and I am mindful of supporting local businesses. My ambition includes a real engagement with local schools and community centres, along with a rehearsal, teaching and performance space in the neighbourhood. As I pass by these empty storefronts, I think about these dreams, and the dreams of other young social and artistic entrepreneurs I know. I think about how we all dream of space, and I think about how we all face scarcity. We have ideas, skills and drive to make the city better, to contribute to our community and the lives of those who make it up - but the current administration is attacking the structures and feeling of possibility that make all that possible.

The relentless focus on cutting and destroying the social fabric and infrastructure is disheartening and makes our work and lives harder. The jargon of "tax-payer" over "citizen" or "human" crushes our higher potential and reduces everything to a base and petty level. A level that we should all be trying to live above. The feeling of absurdity and hopelessness for a better city that comes from hearing about a council willing to turn down free and necessary public health nurses; that spends more to have less safe cycling; that attacks the programs that house and care for our most at-risk while promoting red herrings like monorails and a war on public servants is crippling.

To reframe a revenue problem as a problem of expenses is small politics that aims at dividing and deconstructing our society for the betterment of the few. It should come as no surprise that these ideas come from an independently rich Mayor who inherited his wealth and influence. They are ideas that make starting new things very hard, ideas that keep things going the way they are currently going - environmental and social decline that increase that gaps between the rich and the rest of us.

While I'm well aware that lobbying for one's own particular field is limited, but I wanted to give a concrete example for you:

Right now I am preparing to submit an application for annual operating funds to the Toronto Arts Council. It won't be for much money, maybe $10,000 a year, not event a tenth of our yearly expenses, but it will make a huge difference in the stability of the company and reduce the amount of time we spend writing project grants - time we could use developing connections and programs to benefit the community and people of the city. It will also mean we could afford more space - perhaps one of those store fronts. With that kind of space, we could offer classes and performances that would benefit the area through participation and engagement as well as bringing new people into the neighbourhood who will support local businesses and activate the streets in a way that inspires new, grassroots businesses and services. But I am applying with the knowledge that we will not receive that funding. With the proposed cuts and/or freezes, there is simply no room for new companies to receive operating funds. My best chance of getting the stability those funds provide would be to take a job with a more established company - none of which are in this neighbourhood, so I will have to leave the storefronts empty, I will have to continue to support the development of other communities. I also have the fear that without transit, increased cycling infrastructure or neighbourhood community strength, any business that I start in the neighbourhood would fail.

Civic services aren't the cure-all but they provide an important part of making our city a better place to live, and I ask you, as a resident, voter and as a person who wants a better city, neighbourhood and life for everyone, to stop dismantling the city we love. Reinstate the vehicle registration fee and Transit City look for better relationships with the other levels of governments and revenue sources. I am sure there are places to save and decrease bureaucratic bloat, but please stop participating in the destruction the morale and capacity of our, potentially, great city.

We will all remember your efforts,
Sincerely,
Jacob Zimmer
Artistic Director, Small Wooden Shoe

Storytelling

IMG 2358The fear is that it is "natural conservatism of age"But I am certainly thinking along similar lines:

Anne Bogart:

"As a theater director and a child of postmodernism, during most of my career I avoided the charge of storytelling.  I was more interested in subverting stories, turning them on their head, reversing them, twisting and turning them inside out rather than serving them up in a conventional way.  The destructive impulse led my approach to stories.  To me, stories could be renewed only through their deconstruction.

And yet, something new is brewing in my approach to making new work.  The storytelling that comes naturally to me in daily life is entering into my thinking about theater.  I know that telling stories in life is a powerful tool to communicate ideas and lessons drawn from experience, but until now I have avoided fully embracing the subject in my work as a director."

(Via December 2011 - Wright the Story | Anne's Blog - Blog | SEE | siti.groupsite.com.)

I'm doing a new version of the Populism talk tomorrow (Tuesday December 13) at Dancemakers at 6:30. While tipped a bit towards dance, there is something that relates to the storytelling question in there too.

more soon, but thought the link was worth a read.