Greetings, dramaturgs and other colleagues! 

We hope you were able to enjoy the July conference, the summer heat of Philadelphia, and our DtP gift boxes—in person or asynchronously.

The Dramaturging the Phoenix 2.0 planning group is preparing for a new season. We have big hopes and open hearts looking for input, growth, and sustainability. In our effort to return strong and to ensure that DtP continues to serve the LMDA community, we have created a 5-minute survey about your experiences with the initiative. Give us your thoughts, brief or otherwise, by Thursday, September 15. Your responses will inform our DtP 3.0 season planning.

Give us your thoughts!

Next DtP Sessions

Tuesday, September 13, at 5pm Eastern/2pm Pacific: Fall Forward with DtP! 

If you’re attending, be prepared to share how the theater companies, universities, and freelance projects you’re working on are navigating the ongoing pandemic. Are masks optional? Are performances all in person or hybrid? Our plan is to do what LMDA is best at: discuss shared insights from fellow colleagues. We hope this session inspires, raises questions, and strengthens us all as we move forward (or fail forward) into our next dramaturgy projects. This is a time to share perspectives with the ethos that “stories stay” and “learnings leave.”

Register for the Forum!

Tuesday, September 27, at 5pm Eastern/2pm Pacific: Midterm Elections, DtP style!

Every choice we make as dramaturgs and literary managers, from season planning to audience engagement, is political. After a summer that began with the Dobbs decision throwing personal rights into question, we’re gathering today to hear how fellow LMDA members are engaging in the political process this season, from calling voters to working the polls to even running for office.

Register for the Forum!

Also at this session, we will share the results from the DtP Survey. Again, please take a moment to fill it out!

Following our meetings in September, we will incorporate lessons from our DtP survey to inform the next iteration of this program.

~xo Dramaturging the Phoenix Team 2.0 

Anne, David, Deanie, Heather, Liana, Martha, and Russ

PS: Let us know if you would like to be part of shaping Dramaturging the Phoenix’s future. Come stoke this fire with us!

Dramaturging the Phoenix

In April 2020, LMDA asked its members to contribute short essays to boldly inspire, provoke, and explore theatre’s potential to transform through global crisis. The Dramaturging the Phoenix challenge challenged writers to imagine the “radical dramaturgy” that will lead theatre and performance into the next year, decade, and century. What ideal theatre-making will heal the communities, nations, and the globe during the long recovery ahead? How can dramaturgical imagination and practices shape the theatrical phoenix that will rise?

The first round of responses – over 50 of them – were overwhelming. They are musings, manifestos, meditations, poems, song lyrics, calls to action, lesson plans for teaching dramaturgy during COVID-19, program notes without a show, recipes for the future, and eulogies for the dead.

They are views on dramaturgy from the floor, from a window, from a forest, from a narrow sidewalk and more. Views on classical literature and past plagues. Views from an audience on an unexpected closing night – and new views of what an audience means now. Views on silence and the meaningfulness of rest, and reminders that we need time and space to fuel the Imagination. Views on commercial and regional theatres – as well as what community theatre should mean.

Dramaturgs don't want the same working conditions in theatre that we had before. There's a heartfelt, passionate desire for systemic change, and these reflections imagine so many possibilities of what theatre could be and should be when we're allowed to gather again, and capture a moment in time and present the voices of dramaturgs in process. 

We invite all LMDA members to read the collected work here. (For access, make sure you're logged in and your membership is current.)  Our unique experiences and visions, expressed in diverse essays, constitute an invaluable archive of dramaturgical thought and feeling in this paradigm-busting era. Please make your mark, and send your essay to today!

These creative dramaturgical reflections are merely the springboard for Dramaturging the Phoenix. The roundtable discussion of essay authors that kicked off LMDA's first virtual conference on June 19, 2020 was accessed by over 2000 people in 42 countries via HowlRound. Offers to publish essays have rolled in from Howlround, Page-By-Page, and The Flashpaper. As we pursue more opportunities for the work, we encourage authors to share their essays where they see fit.

Our Dramaturging the Phoenix Forum (the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at five pm ET on Zoom) has been extended through 2022 as an essential community check-in as we face the challenges of past, present, and future together. The extension will allow us to feature a diverse rotation of essays and related projects for deeper discussion. Those unable to attend the Forums will be able to access a video archive of the Zoom sessions on the website. Upcoming speakers will be announced on the listserv and social media as they are confirmed.

Read the Essays Watch the Forum

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