Spent the weekend in Orlando, Florida, at the National New Play Network annual December event, the National Showcase of New Plays. Boy, I love this event. Hosted by the amazing Orlando Shakespeare Theatre this season, the facility and staff are absolutely fabulous. So grateful to have the chance to be here again this year.
A few solid days of theatre – seeing 6 full length readings, having practically non-stop chats and meet-n-greets, brainstorming sessions, handshaking and discussions about plays, playmakers, theatres, institutions and programs and process. You come out the other side of it thoroughly exhausted, but also feeling a sense of inspiration that is incredibly energizing. So many people who have a single thing in common: We all believe in the power of Theatre.
The thing that kept hitting me this weekend, too, was the variety of theatre that we believe in. Everyone there has a process, a target audience, a mission that’s the core of their work, and no two companies or artists are alike… but we all spend this time exploring how we do what we do, and learning how others do what they do, so that we can all get better. So that we can DO better.
Of course, like any conference, there’s lots of business-card exchanges, and people you see only once or twice a year that you get to re-connect with, and lots of people you meet for the first time. There’s opportunity for discussion in formal, moderated meetings, as well as wonderful opportunities to continue those conversations relaxing with a beer late in the evening. Ideas are thrown around and concepts are challenged and challenges are explored.
Now I get to return home and, hopefully, continue to help make a difference in the community we serve at Williamston Theatre. This wonderful reminder of the opportunities I have, and the responsibilities I have, has been a tiring, but invigorating few days, and it has left me with a big handful of excellent questions to take back to my work.
First, though, I need to sleep. Then, tomorrow – let the work begin again!