Regional Theater Discussion | WNYC Leonard Lopate Show

Leonard Lopate discussed “regional theater in America today, and its contribution to the development of new American plays and playwrights. Director Bartlett Sher is Artistic Director at the The Intiman Theatre Company in Seattle; Kent Thompson is Artistic Director of the Denver Center Theatre Company; and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel is a professor at Yale School of Drama.” Mike Daisey made some good critiques. Mike has more experience and can speak into some details about the information that was given.

While I do agree with Daisey when he states this particular conversation seems like a side note conversation of a much bigger discussion that needs to happen. I am also curious in what the conversation would have been like if they were not interviewing artists/administrators at top theaters. Intiman, DTC and Long Warf are probably more exceptions to the rules than what the norm would be for new works in regional theaters. Daisey states, “DTC does develop a lot of new work, which makes their presence on this show clear, but it does unfortunately make all of American regional theater sound like it does a hell of a lot more new play development than it actually does, because DTC is an outlier, not the rule.” It is also interesting that the discussion of new works is done without input from an emerging playwright.

Vogel mentions that she changed jobs because she was offerred Artistic Associate at Long Warf, while teaching at Yale, and like Lucas at Intiman, it gives a playwright a space to be heard and incentive to write their plays. It is disappointing that the only emerging playwright that is mentioned is Jason Grote, who had his new play produced at DTC, yet as Daisy points out Grote lives in New York. I see this as a crux of the bigger discussion. The more we can establish artists within communities and part of the bigger picture within the theater, the more it is going to benefit both the artist, the community and the theater as a whole.

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