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Thursday, December 16, 2021

The Rep Collaborates With Other Regional Theatres on 'Artistic Caucus'

Posted By on Thu, Dec 16, 2021 at 12:52 PM

A Repertory Theatre production of Hamlet from 2017. - PETER WOCHNIAK
  • A Repertory Theatre production of Hamlet from 2017.

Connecticut, Maryland, Missouri and the District of Columbia are all coming together through theatre: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis announced today it will join a year-long artistic caucus. Four theatres, including the Rep, have hired a group of freelance artists who will participate as key parts of the artistic development teams in each of their institutions.

The artistic caucus is made up of theater artists outside the traditional dramaturgs or literary managers. The members will scout projects, read new plays and proposals and facilitate new relationships with artists on behalf of the theatres.

Washington, DC's Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre and Maryland's Baltimore Center Stage all join the Rep in the caucus. A press release details the four artistic directors of color – Hana Sharif of the Rep, Stephanie Ybarra with Baltimore Center Stage, Jacob Padron of the Long Wharf Theatre and Maria Goyanes from the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company – at these theatres formed a cohort after being appointed to their positions with a goal of “creating artistic homes across the country” that are intersectional, inclusive and focused on the liberation of all people.

"The four of us have been working together formally in these positions for just a few years, but we’ve been informally collaborating our entire careers,” the artistic directors said in a press release. “Our field has long operated through the organic relationships formed amongst theater-makers, and this Artistic Caucus is our latest way of naming that trend and optimizing for it. By combining our intellectual and financial resources and increasing interconnection at every artistic level of our organizations, we are able to force multiply to throw our doors even further open – evolving how we bring artists into our communities towards more equality, more transparency, more accessibility, more trust and more abundance."

A press release says the goal of the caucus is to “support artistic development at all four theaters by making space for more entryways into artistic development pathways, more touch points for artists, more voices in the room, and more visions for what theater can be." It adds that by establishing this caucus, the four theatres are “actively opening up the frequently competitive and opaque artistic development process of our industry by engaging artists to help identify projects, paying them for their expertise and positioning the different artistic priorities for each organization as a place of strength and cooperation."

One of the artistic caucus members, Adil Mansoor, agrees.

“I am especially excited that the caucus brings together an ensemble of folks interested in curatorial disruption,” Mansoor said in the press release. “I appreciate that the strategies and deliverables of our work together weren't predefined and are coming out of our time together. It's thrilling to experiment with a curatorial model that resembles a devising process and encourages emergent possibilities."

Follow Jenna on Twitter at @writesjenna. Email the author at [email protected]
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