brown university's only completely student-run theatre
State of PW - 2016
Production Workshop 7 Young Orchard Avenue Providence, RI 02912
//PRE-SCRIPT//Hello there. After being held accountable by members of the community following the first publication of this address, we'd like to acknowledge that our original statement failed to identify the specific institutional problems that we are attempting to address. We agree that without acknowledgment of problems, there can be no progress. Those problems include structural racism, in board self selection and show choice; nepotism, in repeated use of the space by the same small groups of people; tokenism, in show selection, solicitation, and presentation, and in community representations; economic discrimination in expectations of commitment to certain scheduled times, regardless of employment or non-choice scheduling needs; as well as implicitly promoting and failing to work against toxic masculinity, heteronormativity, and cissexism within our productions and theatre choices. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and we ask that anyone (who may have the energy and willingness to) to continue to hold PW accountable for our actions. Even though the truth is sometimes hard to look at, it's absolutely the most constructive path to positive change.
Every semester, the PW Board holds a Visions meeting.In this meeting, we talk about where PW is now, and where we want it to be in the future. While we believe PW is stronger than ever before, make no mistake: we also acknowledge that there are real problems that need to be addressed. We are trying to address them in a number of ways. The guiding thought during our meeting was that our primary role as an institution is to give time, space, and resources to the artists in our community. PW's essential function is to support the work that happens in our space. But this support extends beyond providing basic resources to promoting accessible infrastructure, fair policies, fruitful conversations, and a vibrant sense of community. The work that happens in this space should be a reflection of these values. This newsletter, this "State of PW," is a first step towards sharing the work of PW equally between all community members. It's an outline of the concrete things we're doing to work on some problems that we have. We're excited to figure out what the next step is, and the next one and the next one - together.
PW In The CommunityUntil this semester the projects happening in our Upstairs Space (Upspace) were chosen by a lottery system. Anyone on Brown or RISD's campus could submit their project to be randomly chosen by the aptly named "random.org." The winners were given a week, no matter what the project, to do whatever they wanted. The lottery's spontaneity and creativity is an important part of PW's mission, and for years has supported the values we cherish. But it became very clear to us last semester that this original spontaneity and creativity was stagnating, slowly starting to be perceived as a manifestation of a nepotistic tendency to see the same people performing in the space over and over again. We also thought about how by relying on the lottery, we make ourselves less flexible - we lose the option to change our operating procedure based on the voices in the community. If people don't feel comfortable proposing to/making art in our space, we're not going to shrug and say "that's how we work." Instead, we're going to try something new. So we set our sights on trying to draw new people into the space, as creators and spectators both. This led to our decision to establish The UpFest, which will be happening from March 15-24. The UpFest is a (you guessed it) festival that aims to bring as many unique people & groups into the space as possible over a 10 day period! Instead of giving away the space in week-long chunks, we'll be able to open the space to people and groups who really need space but don’t need an entire week to use by themselves. If you or your group are interested in being a part of UpFest, email firstname.lastname@example.org! In addition to the UpFest, we are thrilled to welcome Nudity in the Upspace back for a fourth consecutive year from May 3-7. NITUS has been instrumental in creating a safe space for all bodies, and we are honored to be partners in that mission. Stay tuned for more info from the indomitable NITUS coordinators! Of course, these changes mean we need to change how we advertise. In our own little social media spheres, advertising bounces off the same people over and over again. When we advertise in neutral spaces like the Blue Room, morning mail, and others, we are advertising not to our sphere but to the wider Brown sphere! Have any suggestions for neutral spaces to advertise in? Email email@example.com!
InfrastructureIt's possible (cross your fingers!) that we will be getting funding from UFB to buy brand-new seating platforms to replace our old set! This is a once-in-20-years big deal, and we are hopeful it gets done as soon as possible. Of course, the old plats will need a home, and we have a perfect candidate in the Upspace! We think this will give Upspace directors a much easier time just creating the art they want to create, and not worrying about hauling 100-pound platforms up and down the stairs. We wanted to use this forum to draw attention to our absolutely beautiful, full concert, Steinway Model D grand piano, and to gauge community interest in seeing this instrument restored. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have thoughts!
ProposalsUnder our old old proposal system, we would accept 3-4 submissions for each slot, and have a week to read the plays and proposals. Now that we accept proposals seasonally, there are simply too many proposals to read in such a short time. We're switching to a longer reading slot after submissions, to give fairer and deeper consideration to each play and proposal.
Designer HandbookIn an effort to make picking up a new skill as easy as possible, we're working on a handbook to assist would-be designers and managers in rolling up their sleeves and doing their jobs well. If you don't know where to start, or if you just have a small question, the handbook will be the perfect place to look. Email email@example.com with thoughts on what should be included.
OpportunitiesOur April slot show, The Flick, will be holding auditions February 24-25. No preparation is necessary, and all people are encouraged to show up. Look for the Facebook event! Our next Upspace and DownSpace shows are looking for designers of all experiences! Experienced designers are great – but we would also be thrilled to provide mentoring to designers just starting out. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more! We will be accepting application to WITS (Week in the Space) sometime in the coming months. WITS is an entire week in our Downstairs Space from April 26-May 2. Put on a puppet show! A jazz festival! An art installation! Use our biggest space! The Wizards are back! The board will be hosting various training sessions, dates TBA, for members of the community to come and learn how shows get put up! Get shop trained! Learn how to work a soundboard! Focus lights! Set up scaffolding!
SchmoozeWe're hosting a welcome-back schmooze on Wednesday, February 10th, at 11:15 to discuss the state of PW, these changes, and the community. Please come; there will be milk and cookies. With these changes, we hope PW will become more welcoming and accessible than it has ever been. PW was founded in 1960 to give an artistic voice to anyone who wanted it. PW moved into a beautiful space in 1980 to give those voices a home. We want to give you that space to raise your voice, to do what you want, and to be who you are.
And by doing that we hope to prove, now more than ever, that PW is you.
Get involved in the downspace...
Are you a carpenter?!
If you are interested in working in the downspace as a technical director, your lucky day has arrived! TWO of our shows (Tallgrass Gothic & A Silly Sort of Thing) are looking for folks to help them build their sets. Experienced builder? Tallgrass Gothic has a slightly more complicated set... Email Emily or Duncan for more information. Looking to try your hand at building for the first time? A Silly Sort of Thing could use you! Email Kathy
Say hello to winter...
written by Sophokles
adapted by Anne Carson
directed by Jason Roth '17
performances February 12-18
written by Melanie Marnich
directed by Emily Garrison '16.5
performances March 11-14
written by Annie Baker
directed by Sam Rubinek '17
performances April 8-11
written Peter Shaffer
directed by Ana Stacy '17
performances May 25-28
Out with the old...
The New Works Grant!
Wrote a new play or devised a new project?
Looking for the funds to produce it?
Apply to the New Works Grant, applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Email Liz for more information.
The Mess With The Audience Grant!
Directing a project that interacts with the audience in an unconventional way?
Looking for that extra bit of cash to make it?
Apply to the Mess With The Audience Grant.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Email Liz for more information.
Tell us what you think...
Do you have ideas that would make pw work better?
We want to hear them!
Use this form to send us your feedback and suggestions.