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The Dramatist LIVE: Artistic Director Roundtable
Faces of the Artistic Directors in the meeting

Towards the beginning of the May 14 edition of The Dramatist LIVE, co-host Christine Toy Johnson announced, “I’m excited to see all the people [on the show] today because they are some of the smartest people I know.” Our guests included Guild Council VP Lisa Kron, who came on to play a lightning round of Ten Questions LIVE. Answering questions about what she needs in order to finish a play and how to get unstuck on a project, Lisa also revealed that writing is not a wholly comfortable process. “I didn’t think of myself as a writer for a long time,” she said. “The point where that changed was when I realized that the sense of extreme discomfort I felt when I was writing is what it feels like to write.”

     Next, a large panel of artistic directors joined the webinar for a roundtable discussion, moderated by Todd London, the DG Director of Theatre Relations, and Teresa Coleman Wash, writer, producer, and the artistic director of Bishop Arts Theatre Center. The panelists included Nataki Garrett, artistic director of Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Rick Dildine, artistic director of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Maria Goyanes, artistic director of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Robert Barry Fleming, artistic director of Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Julianne Boyd, artistic director of Barrington Stage Company. As Todd pointed out, these artistic directors are “working around the clock to keep our profession alive.” The artistic directors described how the pandemic has influenced their commissions and programming, with Maria Goyanes telling viewers about the #PlayAtHome initiative. Nataki Garrett and Rick Dildine talked about micro commissions at their theatres, with 19 at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and 22 Homes at Alabama Shakespeare Festival. The artistic directors remained hopeful, in part thanks to their faith in the spirit and endurance of dramatists. “What we have found over the last few weeks,” said Robert Fleming, “is how resilient artists are, how inspired they are to tell stories in whatever confounding circumstances we may find ourselves in.”

     Beginning March 19, 2020, the Guild presented special online editions of The Dramatist LIVE, co-hosted by Amanda Green, Christine Toy Johnson, and Joey Stocks. If you have any questions or comments about The Dramatist LIVE, please feel free to reach out via email at questions@dramatistsguild.com. We’re here for you!

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