Dramaturging the Phoenix 2.0
A Renewed Challenge for LMDA Members

At the recent April 12th Dramaturging the Phoenix Forum, we asked members of our community to check in how they were feeling about dramaturgy. These were their responses:

Where do we want to be in two more years? What are blooms, thorns, and falling petals for us? Share words/phrases in this MentiMeter! And we will be sharing this collective MentiMeter at the annual conference in Philadelphia!

For our Quarter 2 prompt to the wider LMDA community, we invite you to add your voice and tell us how you’re feeling about dramaturgy at this moment.

Add Your Voice

Eligibility: Current LMDA members. If you’re unsure of your status and/or would like to renew, click here to join with scaled membership rates now available, taking full advantage of LMDA’s offerings has never been easier.

Deadline: June 30th, 2022. We expect to generate new prompts each quarter of 2022. Or reach out to us at phoenix@lmda.org and tell us if you need more time. We will be reflecting on the collective MentiMeter word cloud at this summer’s conference in Philadelphia! 

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 phoenix@lmda.org 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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