Posts Tagged Robyn Linden

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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Where Do You Fit In?

By Robyn Linden

Boston is wonderfully saturated with arts organizations, as well as with diverse and dedicated students across many theatre arts collegiate programs. From Cambridge to Jamaica Plain, our town is buzzing with productions, events and education. As a recent graduate of Emerson (December 2008), I have felt continuously inspired and exhilarated by the sheer amount of theatre happening around me. However, I have found the chasm between being a student in a theatre program and being a graduate and new member of the professional community to be quite wide. Many of Boston’s local theatre companies have had years to grow and take shape and, for a new young professional, the experience of encountering these lauded organizations can feel much like standing at the entrance to the Prudential Center looking up, up, up. A flood of questions arises: How do I get in? Where do I start? Will they even notice me? Where do I fit in amongst these established organizations?

Happily, the small theatre scene is largely comprised of young professionals volunteering time and talents to produce, produce, produce. Doing Marketing work with 11:11 Theatre Company and the Small Theatre Alliance of Boston has allowed me to play an active part in the presence and energy of small theatre all over town. Busy as we fringe companies may be, though, it’s hard to ignore the divide between our work and that of the bigger companies’. We hope they’re aware of what we’re up to, but we have a hard time actually connecting to them without applying what little time we have left to volunteer as interns and ushers.
Enter: the Boston Theatre Conference. In years past the conference has been held in August a little ways out of town. This year, though, the conference will be held in February right beside Boston Common, making the event more highly accessible. The conference committee’s efforts to begin the conversation months ahead of time through the Boston Theatre Conference blog represents an open invitation for practitioners of all backgrounds and levels of experience to share in the exploration of home grown theatre. I know I’ll be attending the event to listen, learn, and count myself in as a member of our lively, local community. I do hope to see other students and young professionals participate as well. We may not have years of experience producing professional theatre, but what better way to continue a theatre education than to explore the growth of our community alongside those who have steered it for many decades? Unless, of course, the conversation stops there.

While I look forward to the event, I hope it won’t be the only catalyst for deepening the relationship between companies of all sizes and individual artists of varying levels of experience. Can we use the momentum of the conference to create opportunities beyond February to partner and learn from one another? SpeakEasy is printing their history piece by piece throughout their programs this season, illustrating their evolution over time and proving that fledgling Boston artists can cross the great divide to achieve professional standing. How can we smaller groups learn more from the trials and tribulations of our larger, more seasoned colleagues? By attending open rehearsals and seeing how their productions are born? By taking seminars on budgeting and scaling up logistically?  By inviting the movers and shapers to our industry night performances (hoping they have the time to come) and asking for constructive feedback?

I hope the upcoming conversations about our home grown theatre scene will lead to new opportunities for communication and discovery. I hope to see the possibility of mentor/mentee relationships between the folks who have fought hard for seasons and those of use who are desperate for the chance. If we’re truly home grown, we have to work together to sow and nurture the seeds of our art.

About Robyn Linden:

Robyn will be directing the upcoming world premiere of Her Red Umbrella for 11:11 Theatre Company.  You can follow Robyn’s blog at, Arts Marketing A-Musings.

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