National Theater Conference in Atwater Village

With Broadway focused on revivals and musicals based on movies and star vehicles, new plays often go by the wayside. If you are an unknown playwright, it’s nearly impossible to be produced.

Not so at The Arena Stage, however, and they’ve been working intensely for a national dialogue that includes all voices – new playwrights, established playwrights, and the people who decide which plays are produced. Arena Stagey began a New Plays Convening yesterday in DC, and Los Angeles participates on Saturday, in our brand new Atwater Village Theatre!

Circle X Theatre Company and Ensemble Studio Theatre-LA, with the partnership of LA Stage Alliance, will host the New Play Los Angeles theater satellite meetup to coincide with the final day of the national convening, entitled Scarcity to Abundance: Capturing the Moment for the New Work Sector, organized by the American Voices New Play Institute at Arena Stage in Washington, DC.

The Los Angeles event will be held Saturday, January 29 from 9:00 am-1:00 pm. Participants will view the pre-recorded round table discussions from the national convening, and discuss the themes within the context of the Los Angeles theater community.

Dennis Baker, a local actor asked by Arena Stage and 2amtheatre to organize the LA meetup, believes this convening can “continue to bring the LA Theater community together in discussion. Any time there is a reason to dialogue and share, I think it is a good thing.”

Baker highlights more ways people can prepare ahead of Saturday morning:

“There are various degrees participants can prepare. The national convening is four days long, with most, if not all, the round table discussions being live streamed through out the four days.” Click here for the full schedule of those discussions.

Watching any of these will bring context to the two round table discussions, and “Endings” event that we will be watching on January 29.

You can also read the institute’s blog by clicking here.

If you want to dig even deeper, the recent book from the Theater Development Fund, Outrageous Fortune: the Life and Times of the New American Play, has the most up-to-date research on the topic.

The national convening will focus on the following: identifying the rich and vital activity that already exists in the new play sector, exploring the gaps and challenges facing the field and strategizing the means of continued and closer collaboration to advance the new work infrastructure moving forward. This convening will build upon the outcomes and initiatives that grew out of last year’s convenings: Defining Diversity, Black Playwrights: the Stories We Tell, and Devised Work.

Circle X Theatre Company and Ensemble Studio Theatre-L is located at the Atwater Village Theater, 3269 Casitas Ave. There is street parking.

Click here for more information from the Dennis Baker website.

Portions of this article appeared on 1/25/11 in Bitter Lemons.

Cindy Marie Jenkins is a Storyteller and Coach based in Atwater Village. She also contributes to The Inspired Classroom, Bitter Lemons,and the  LA Stage Times.

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