Posts Tagged New Exhibition Room

Getting Lively, Lush & Local With: Robyn Linden

Who are you? Robyn Linden

What do you do? I’m the Vice President and Marketing Chair of the Small Theatre Alliance of Boston, and freelance marketer currently collaborating with New Exhibition Room, Vaquero Playground and Exquisite Corps Theatre.

Where are you from originally? Cleveland, Ohio

How long have you been working in Boston? Moved here summer of ’07 to transfer into Emerson, been active in the theatre scene since ’09.

Why do you stay? I have a lot of Boston pride, even if I refuse to root for the sports teams. There’s just so much to uncover in this town, from the history to the people to the arts and cultural events springing up all over the place.

What is your earliest theatre memory? I was in a summer camp production of Oliver in the 3rd grade. I was a pickpocket and got to sing the line “Would you rob a shop?” Not pretty in a midwestern accent…

What’s your first theatre memory in Boston? Say what you will about the subway in the winter, but cheap, easy access to Logan airport is a wonderful thing. On my first visit to Boston I got off the plane, hit the Blue Line, switched to Green at Goverment Center, and finally emerged at street level at Boylston. Straight ahead were signs saying “Theatre District.” I knew I’d be staying.

What was your first job in theatre? I grew up doing musicals. So, rehearsing.

What’s your favorite rehearsal snack? My preferences change with each process. Depends on the local vending machine or convenience store. Lately I’m into Pretzel M&Ms. Where have those been all my life?!

If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be? I want more “non-theatre-people” to walk in the door. There’s something for everyone in our local theatres, and I hope our audiences will expand so the work can reach farther and deeper into Boston.

What kind of theater excites you? I love the kind of theatre that requires me to take a deep breath. It can come from actors really listening to one another or from a specific and beautiful design element. The breath is cleansing and thrilling and unlike any other.

What advice do you have for artists just starting out? Connect. Don’t be afraid to say hello, reach out to someone online, have an informational coffee. We all have stories to share and have probably felt the same kinds of fear and timidity. If you want to get involved just speak up.

The Boston Theatre Conference is focusing on the lively, lush and local aspects of our theatre community. What do you think? I find the sheer number of passionate theatre artists in our community totally thrilling. I hope the conference will start a conversation that will continue for a long time to come, fostering communication, collaboration and inspiration. We have a lot to talk about, and I’m very much looking forward to it!

YOUR TURN! Write to us here!

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Getting Lively, Lush & Local With: A. Nora Long

Who are you? A. Nora Long

What do you do? I am producing associate at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston and I run New Exhibition Room with the amazing Dawn M. Simmons. I also write, direct, produce, translate and dramaturg.

Where are you from originally? Boston

How long have you been working in Boston? erm…15 years?

Why do you stay? Because I love that dirty water and no other place would do.

What’s your earliest theatre memory? A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in Montclaire, NJ – I was 5.

What’s your first theatre memory in Boston? The Puppet Showplace Theatre – I was there for a friend’s birthday and saw something amazing.

What was your first job in theatre? In High School, I was a summer intern at the Huntington, working in the literary, education and props departments.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had before a show? I couldn’t possibly select just one, but a cuban sandwich from Chez Henri has made many impressions before a Cambridge-show.

What’s your favorite rehearsal snack? Whatever everyone else is eating.

Do you eat before you go on stage or do you wait until after your performance to eat? I don’t usually go onstage, but I like eating before, during and after performances. Alright, I just like eating.

The Boston Theatre Conference is focusing on the lively, lush and local aspects of our theatre community. What do you think? Nice use of alliteration. As for the Conference, I relish any opportunity to gather with my colleagues to engage about art. I think Boston’s vibrant and expanding community offers a tasty treat for any pallet.

YOUR TURN! Write to us here!

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Getting Lively, Lush & Local With: Dawn M. Simmons

Who are you? Dawn M. Simmons

What do you do? I work at StageSource, I run a theatre company (New Exhibition Room with A. Nora Long), I write, I direct. Stuff like that.

Where are you from originally? Buffalo, NY.  That’s right!  You don’t even know what snow and cold is!

How long have you been working in Boston? 7 years

What’s your earliest theatre memory? Commercials for “Cats” on WPIX.  Maybe Seasame St. On Ice, before that.

What’s your first theatre memory in Boston? Three of Cups at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre.  I was the ASM.  I was good! Oh, except that time when I was late with the food for the dinner scene.  That was not so good.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had before a show? U Burger burgers if I’m at BPT.  Onion rings at the Parish Cafe’ if I’m over near the Factory Theatre.

What’s your favorite rehearsal snack? Anything crunchy if I’m the director.  Anything chewy if I’m the writer.

Do you eat before you go on stage or do you wait until after your performance to eat? I don’t tend to be onstage, but I like to wait until after the show starts to eat.  I have sympathy nervous stomach.

The Boston Theatre Conference is focusing on the lively, lush and local aspects of our theatre community. What do you think? I think that’s great! You probably want to hear more.  I love that the people who work here feel like family to me.  Especially since mine is miles away.  I love the Fringe and Small theatre scene.  NXR had a lot of fun with them this summer.

YOUR TURN! Write to us here!

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What Do We Have Against Community?

By John J King

Say the words “Community Theatre” to a theatre professional and you’ll often get a Pavlovian eye-roll. For some, there are stereotypes associated with the phrase and most of them aren’t good.

In the midst of starting my own company, thinking in terms of marketing, I found myself thinking, “I want to sell this as a community theatre, but without using those words!”

But what’s wrong with Community Theatre?

At a workshop I attended, Marsha Norman said something that has stuck with me ever since: “A play is a community; every night, the act of theatre creates a community between the story, the artists, and the audience.”

That sense of communion, of theatre as a social act, is what excites me most about the art. It is a shared experience with others, and shared experiences are what blur the differences between people, erasing sects and creating communities.

In light of the Slow Food theme of the upcoming Boston Theatre Conference, how do we embrace the virtue of Community Theatre? A few thoughts that I feel particularly match up with the analogous slow food movement:

  • a theatre in San Francisco involved their audience in the selection of an upcoming season. The company picked 10 plays, each of which were given public readings throughout the year. At the end of the season the audience voted, and the top four plays were selected for the company’s next season. Not only did the audience feel engaged with the work, but the theatre had a chunk of eager audience ready to purchase tickets!
  • We talk about the student diaspora of Boston, with many fleeing to NYC and L.A. We need to “cultivate taste for locally grown” theatre while these young artists are here so they have reasons to stay. How? Internships, workshops, readings at the schools, open rehearsals just for students: all of these are free and relatively easy to coordinate.
  • Collaborations between groups give audiences new and different ways to engage with local theatre. Good examples that have already taken place: FeverFest; The Shirley, VT Festival; Emerging America Festival; Orfeo Group’s COMPLETE WOWS(A) which incorporated local bands and performers as opening acts.

To me, “Community Theatre” is the highest ideal one can strive for. At worst, the phrase may be redundant, because theatre is community. There is no theatre without community.

What excites me about the Slow Arts theme of the Boston Theatre Conference is its implicit assumption that Boston has everything it needs. We do! The Slow Arts movement encourages us to celebrate and better share with our communities what is already here, to create more opportunities for the shared experiences that enrich, deepen, and build communities.

I look forward to the many possibilities of communion that the Boston Theatre Conference will bring.

John J King is a Boston-based playwright who’s work has been produced by New Exhibition Room, Mill 6 Collaborative, and the Orfeo Group.  His new full-length BEAR PATROL will premiere at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, March 3 – 20, 2011.  www.J-RexPlays.com

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