letter to the community
Every semester the Production Workshop (PW) board holds a “visions” meeting - a conversation where we talk about how we can better serve the community of artists who work in the Upspace and Downspace of T.F. Green. This is an open letter about some of the conversations we had at that meeting and the ways we are hoping to grow this semester.
This academic year challenged us to think about our values as an institution and how the work we produce serves those values. Art doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and the pw board is committed to producing art that is responsible and reflects the varied experiences of our communities.
Here are several new initiatives we are implementing in an effort to include diverse perspectives and hold ourselves accountable for the work we produce:
- Facilitating the proposal process. We understand that proposing to our seasons can be quite a daunting process. To help alleviate that, we will be holding proposal schmoozes earlier than they usually are held, giving interested proposers more time to assemble a team. Past successful proposals will also be printed and available to read! For written works, the board is also introducing an “early-bird” screening process, where proposers who submit their scripts by a certain date can receive a list of topics that could be important for the proposer to address in their proposal/pitch.
Finally, we have expanded on proposal questions so that they explicitly ask proposers to reflect on their positionality in relation to the work, as well as how they plan to navigate their perceived power and privilege throughout the process and in the rehearsal room. In addition, proposers are also asked to state how they see themselves working with their executive producers.
- Crafting a diversity, equity, and inclusion action plan. We will be holding workshops for people of marginalized identities who are interested in Brown theatre, as well as discussing how to create space for those identities and social justice politics in the performing arts. Additionally, the board is creating a resource guide that we will use to educate ourselves as well as incoming teams. The community will have access to this guide, and anyone is welcome to recommend to us readings/viewings that they find important!
- Creating structures to ensure production team accountability. New structures include a separate pre-audition show packet that has helpful guidelines for directors and production team members, as well as additional check-ins before and throughout the process to ensure accountability and transparency.
- Supporting writers in having their work read, staged, and ultimately shared with the community. We understand that some writers are not interested in directing their own work - and that’s okay! We are working on setting up a system for writers to have their plays available to potential directors and welcome all writers to workshops and schmoozes designed with writers in mind.
- Increasing outreach to the Brown and Providence communities! This includes creating community partnerships with organizations whose work aligns with our values and the values of our produced work. We are also extremely excited to bring back Outerspace - an outdoor festival that brings together all forms of art for a day full of fun and joy. Be on the lookout for more information!
- Ensuring that the facilities in T.F. Green Hall are up to professional safety standards. We have been working closely with William Farber at the Student Activities Office (SAO) to acquire and install equipment that will ensure all our facilities are safer for the community to use. We are also adding more frequent maintenance and organization checks on the various rooms PW uses in T.F. Green.
In February, our winter season kicks off with In the Pink, a one-act play written and directed by Molly Littman ’21. The non-linear piece explores the dynamic relationship between a Jewish mother and daughter when the mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. March brings Firefly in the Light, a new musical written and directed by Shayna Toh ’20. This musical follows the protagonist Wendy and her childhood sweetheart Jake in search for city lights, fame, and a long-lost father.
For Two Weeks In The upSpace (TWITS) this February, we welcome Solos/Not Solos, hosted by Nia Sanders and Julianna Marino. This workshop will culminate in a final showcase based on the guiding question: "who else is in the room and how can you/do you interact with them?"
Finally, we would like to invite all members of the community to consider proposing for our spring season, which includes the April and Commencement slots, or alternatively proposing later this semester to our fall season! For more information, visit the proposal tab of our website.
The ideas listed above are part of ongoing efforts to make PW a more inclusive and accessible community. If you have ideas you want to share with us or responses to this letter, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org, drop by our Sunday meetings at 11 AM in the PW upspace, or fill out this anonymous feedback form: https://goo.gl/forms/D19QKoIWzRBqZKfV2
The PW Board