I’ve been spending some time trying to think about what I think our city needs, theatrically, that it doesn’t have, especially from the perspective of those of us who write plays. I thought it might be good to run some ideas by the world at large — specifically those of you who live and make theater in the DC area — to gather folks’ feedback.
Before I share a few capsule descriptions, however, I need to note: a couple of these I have already been working on, in ways big and small, for some time now, and some will in fact be coming to pass. A couple of others, however, are ideas that have been floated in front of me for a long time but that I haven’t pursued (for different reasons). And a few are ideas I don’t particularly like. I won’t say which are which, in an attempt to get (roughly) unbiased feedback.
Okay, so: the ideas.
Idea #1: an annual event designed to show off the newest work written and devised in DC: in the spirit of the Humana Festival, but without the same production values or the national scope (yet), this curated showcase of half a dozen staged readings would “announce” the great new work of DC’s theater makers every year.
Idea #2: an annual daylong conference of the area’s playwrights that would serve as a chance to build community, network with others, provide professional development opportunities, and raise our visibility.
Idea #3: a 13P-style group of playwrights working together to develop and produce each other’s plays.
Idea #4: a formal non-profit organization (similar to Chicago Dramatists) devoted to the cause of promoting playwrights in DC.
Idea #5: a calendar/clearinghouse of local productions, readings, lectures, and classes by DC-area playwrights.
Idea #6: a monthly writers group that would include not only writers, but dramatugs as well; the idea would be that in discussing new work, partnerships would form and work would be developed in less isolation.
Idea #7: a larger-scale networking/matchmaking event (not like the playwrights speed-dating events) that would connect people in all disciplines interested in doing devised theater work
Any other ideas you’d like to throw into the mix, too? By all means…
And while I’m at it, I want to ask a bigger question: one that Rich Espey (the Baltimore regional rep for the Dramatists Guild) and I asked at yesterday’s Playwrights Rally at the Kennedy Center. What are YOU going to do for the DC playwriting community? We all want it to be even stronger than it already is. (Which is pretty strong.) So what might you contribute to the community to make that happen? We all, in the end, need to pitch in.