This is our catalog of inspiration.

*All the things we think are brilliant ideas we want to save. We save them here.*

1. We maintain a reading list – things we want to read, part of our ongoing personal education and attempt to create a common literary/theoretical vocabulary for our company. We are always interested in suggestions. What book(s)/article(s) have most inspired you, artistically or in your day-to-day life? Let us know. And check out the reading list itself by clicking [here].

2. The comments on this page are our idea goulash – thoughts we have, great companies we run across, ideas from other people we find inspiring. Check them out below, and add to ’em.


18 thoughts on “Inspiration

  1. Simultaneous productions of the same play, different cities — you can see the live version of one, a screening of the others. Or having a foreign play in “rep” by streaming it in.

  2. What if there were theater leagues, like major sports leagues, based in NFL or NHL or baseball cities, that were comprised of theater teams, “owned” by local benefactors. And we could use the regional “colors” — you know, everything is black and gold in pittsburgh. And have T-shirts.

  3. Someone (I think Julie) during the Whatifesto (LOVED this): “I worked for INTIMAN and they had this group of “Core Audience” members for 5 years. They got free tickets to every show, on a certain night, and following this they did a 2 hour discussion with each other on what this piece of work meant to them. Not lights, not sets, but PERSONAL….how this story is relevant and affects their lives. After 5 years of training themselves on HOW to discuss with each other and becoming intimate with each other they were able to drop into some pretty heavy duty discussions about these stories- race, sexuality, power, money. They were cultivated from all different walks of life. I haven’t seen anything like it.”

  4. Theatre as CSA…Modify the role of season subscriber: Not only can you subscribe for tickets, but you can subscribe for participation. And participation could be broader than just ushering — to really feel, as a “non-theater” person, that you have a stake in the production might mean inviting “shareholders” to build/break down sets, to be part of many stages and facets of the production — maybe you could be invited to meetings where the artistic director and dramaturg discuss scripts, or to auditions. Open up the entire administrative and production process (shareholders meetings when choosing the next season, for example). And that means that you are then producing shows that: a) your audience has, to some extent, chosen and presumably will attend and actively support and b) you are giving people a stake in the process and thereby in the product — it becomes “their” show, “their” theater.

    • Stolen Chair Theatre
      Community Supported Theatre –

      PlayGround is a Community Supported Theatre or (CST), an innovative new way of connecting theatremakers and theatergoers adapted from Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), where members literally give seed money to a farm in exchange for a season’s worth of harvested produce. In Stolen Chair’s PlayGround, members invest “seed” money in our theatrical process and reap their share of a season’s worth of creative “harvests,” in the form of monthly member meet-ups which present works-in-progress and thematically linked cultural and education events. Our CST concept has been profiled in American Theatre magazine, the Chronicle of Philanthrophy, and the Center for Sustainable Practices in the Arts (CSPA) Quarterly, and the pilot season was the focus of the documentary and the book We Are No Longer Strangers.

  5. Small group of theatre folk do a cross-country trip. Get hosted by theatres of all sizes across the country. First theatre: they share games/wisdom/exercises/monologues/scripts they know (10, say). They collect 10 from that first host. They then travel to the next one, share 10 total — a mix of theirs and things from the first host. They collect 10 new ones. Keep going, exchanging knowledge, bringing knowledge and taking knowledge, blogging about the knowledge. Connections b/t artists across the country = important and difficult…b/c the USA’s so big. And do it on bikes like Bike ‘n Build. Funded by Kickstarter.

  6. — Now entering its third year, Low Lives is an international exhibition of live performance-based works transmitted via the internet and projected in real time at multiple venues. The project celebrates the transmission of ideas beyond geographical and cultural borders. It does this by facilitating intergenerational and multicultural dialogue through visual languages, new technologies, and contemporary expressions. Low Lives offers local and global audiences a critical and contextual frame from which to consider live performance in both the physical and virtual space.

  7. This was from Cory – but I had to share because it is awesomeness.

    “Backstage Coworking is a shared workspace and community based in the Dragon Theater in downtown Palo Alto, California. We’re community-run and open to anybody who is friendly, respectful and has work to do.”

  8. I saw this this morning from Mission Paradox blog. He is super smart and shares great advice. I really liked this, this morning, because it went back to much of what we were talking about in the Yinzerfesto and before:

    Quoted from

    “A bias for speed

    A vital step in picking yourself and building a platform for your work is developing a bias for speed.

    A project that goes up in six months is better then something that would take a year.

    Three months is better then six.

    If you can get something in front of the public NEXT WEEK, that’s even better.

    The idea of moving that fast may make you squeamish. If it does, I understand. The arts tend to move at a much slower pace. It’s not uncommon to hear about projects that are in development for years. We generally hate getting work in front of people unless we feel like it is our very best stuff.

    It’s important, therefore, to remember what you’re trying to do. This is about generating art for the hell of it. The goal is to build a following. One of the most effective ways to do that is by getting as much work into the marketplace as reasonably possible . . . and then responding to the feedback the market gives.

    So if you’re an actress – and you believe you’re good – the best way to demonstrate that is by showing it. Maybe you work with some colleagues to do one five minute scene a month and put it online. While you’re doing that, you are working one an one person show that you can perform a few times a month. You get the idea.

    You’re not waiting for permission to do the work. You are doing it. Over and over. As quickly as possible.

    So get started soon. Even better, get started NOW. “

  9. Verbatim theatre: – “Verbatim theatre is created from recorded interviews with real people, the interviews are then edited and played to the actors on stage through earpieces…The actors have to listen to and repeat the dialogue precisely, copying the exact speech pattern of the interviewee, including all coughs and stutters.”

    On verbatim theatre: “They can’t fall into their own speech-patterns. Their egos get lost in the effort of concentrating, which is acting as it should be, but so rarely is.” (Alecky Blythe)

  10. From this article/essay about Cornerstone Theater Company:

    “During the script-development phase, the text is not only reviewed by community members who are in the cast and crew, but also community partners and focus groups. In some cases scripts are actually put in bars, cafes and other community meeting places, where patrons can jot notes and comments in the margins.”

    Also, at the end, the author notes that Cornerstone, in addition to its “community shows,” does “ensemble shows” periodically in order to maintain the company’s health. That is, “Ensemble members create shows within the ensemble as ways to ‘stretch muscles’ not used in ‘community shows.'”

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