National Reports

Gulf Coast by Anita Vatshell

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Gulf Coast by Anita Vatshell

My initial challenge with transitioning to dramatic writing was how to achieve wisdom. Essentially, which room did I belong in. 

I learned the notion of who gets in the room a decade ago at the Missoula Colony. A concept from my perspective akin to who you know. Being a writer with no formal instruction felt like a barrier to entrance to any room. It appeared an MFA from a well-known graduate program was prerequisite to even gain invite to the party. Attempting self-guided learning is not really a fast track option. However, I have muddled along with the support of many generous writers and theater artists who place more emphasis on what you bring to the room than how you gain entrance.

Fortunately, I’ve been lucky to have joined many quality rooms over the years: Missoula Playwrights, Generate Ink, Southern Rep 6 by 6, Aqua Mob, Montana Rep and Missoula Colony. Every writer needs a home. A place to test your voice. Presently the Gulf Coast Dramatists Guild playwright group is my artistic home. There is a powerful sense of commitment and support among the group and a healthy dose of expertise and forthrightness. Monthly regional Dramatists Guild meetings, events and Footlights productions have been housed at Art Klub, a non-profit performance/artist space here in New Orleans. We have Art Klub to thank for the physical room and support.

Local theater development in the Gulf Coast region is expanding, both in number of productions and new venues. Our region is growing and I anticipate a path for collaboration at new heights. Our monthly New Orleans meetings are focused on participants’ ideas for the coming year with an emphasis on producing and promoting local Dramatists Guild efforts. Expanding the room and outreach to connect writers and produce live theater is a prevalent goal. 

We are creating a Room with a View and ready to shift the Count! I am writing this from a train headed for Florence. Seriously can’t help myself 🙂