The Hudson Valley had a year of highs and lows. Highlights: DG appointed its first ever Hudson Valley regional ambassador, which created a year of robust programming: twelve total Footlights Readings (three cancelled due to COVID, two additional online) with Paramount Theater in Peekskill, Hudson Valley Performing Arts Laboratory in Poughkeepsie, and Sing Kill Brewery/Performance Space in Ossining. On Zoom; First Ever Artistic State of The Hudson Valley Convening at the Paramount in Peekskill, NY attended by DG playwrights, artistic leaders, funders, at-large community members, elected officials, university professors, representatives of the LMDA, and local business owners focused on asset-mapping, developing a list of actions, and formulating “what if’s” for our emerging regional identity; first ever DG/Literary Manager & Dramaturgs of America Panel & Mixer for HV playwrights and local dramaturgs to connect and cross-pollinate, and pitch projects; End of Play Kick-off events and digital celebrations; a series of region-wide Zoom check-ins during COVID Shelter-in-Place; online conversations with master playwrights Deborah Zoe Laufer, Migdalia Cruz, Greg Kotis, Chisa Hutchinson, and artistic leaders.
Community Bright Spots: The Paramount in Peekskill opening its doors to the DG community for events, open playwright workspace hours, and countless community conversation; Hudson Valley Performing Arts Laboratory in Poughkeepsie & Expansive Theatre Workshop having an open-community model and community programming for playwrights to share pages, join master classes, and find community; Howl Playwrights in Rhinebeck, NY led by DG members David Simpatico and Darrah Cloud having one of the most robust and active collective of playwrights across our region serving as a hub of new work and presenting year-round readings and digital presentations, including presentations by DG member Louisa Vilardi; the appointment of Chris Burney, longtime producer of 2ST as the new Artistic Director of New York Stage & Film, along with his community-engaged and education-driven mission in the Hudson Valley aimed at improving connections and visibility for local writers and artists; SPACE on Ryder Farm finding ways to support playwrights with limited and socially distant in-person residencies and cash award programs for writers experiencing hardship.
Challenges: The excellent Shadowland Stages in Ellenville, NY, historically a supporter of new and established work by DG playwrights (recently plays by Molly Smith Metzler, D.W. Gregory, Jen Silverman, Bathsheba Doran, and others) announced the cancellation of the remainder of their season due to COVID in a heartfelt letter to supporters; Denizen Theatre in New Paltz, NY had a rapid explosion onto the Hudson Valley arts scene with a brand new theatre space and producing a season of about a dozen new and established plays before experiencing the equally rapid mass-exodus of the majority of their staff and remaining programming. Looking towards the future: The 2020/21 Season for DG Hudson Valley programming will focus on digital convenings, digital footlights, and recourse and development workshops focused on supporting and educating our HV membership base during a prolonged period of COVID.