As I near the end of my third year, I started to reflect on our past gatherings and recent events. Of course, none of what we achieved would have possible without the hard work and support of our Ambassadors, ERICA MCGEE (NC) and TRIZA COX (SC). For this report, I decided to focus on the two of them to gather their insights and to see what hopes they have for our region.
Jacqueline E. Lawton: As Ambassadors, you have both been passionate advocates for the Guild while bringing attention to the interests and needs of dramatists in your respective states. What you hope for the state you represent?
Erica McGee: I hope that North & South Carolina playwrights will feel a stronger sense of community and that they feel less alone in a profession that requires us to begin alone in our initial creative stages. We may grow to see that we don’t have to be alone at all!
Triza Cox: South Carolina has a plethora of talent, but it lacks the infrastructure of other states which would support emerging and mid-career dramatists. A great and invaluable start would be the forming of writing groups where dramatists could support each other’s work and feed off the creative energy for the group.
JEL: What organizations you feel are particularly supportive of dramatists at this time or anytime?
TC: The South Carolina Arts Commission has been extremely supportive of my efforts as SC Ambassador and of dramatists in general. This state is lucky to have an organization that fosters development and growth of artists of various backgrounds and locations. Moreover, during the COVID crisis, the Commission launched various virtual trainings and support groups to help artists keep their sanity and continue to create in times of uncertainty.
EM: Dramatist Guild has been a particularly bright light in this dark time. Offering ways and reasons for us to gather has been key in keeping our communities alive!
JEL: What advice you might want to give for dramatists in the midst of COVID? How have you been keeping busy and focusing on your craft?
TC: KEEP WRITING!!! I’m very task oriented, so often I would write when I had project deadlines, but I would lose motivation if there wasn’t a specific end goal. Now I write nearly every day to remind myself of my own artistic power in uncertain times. Second, I would encourage dramatists to use this time to build their skill set through virtual playwriting groups or classes.
EM: Looking at drafts and focusing on refinement of existing projects has been a good thing for me personally. Also, finding classes online to take to grow in your education is perfect for right now! I am going back to school and getting my MFA in creative writing! A big step, but it has given me more purpose and drive. Finding a way to keep your mind moving forward, even when we can’t professionally, has been a game changer for my psyche!
JEL: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
TC: In many circles, I refer to myself as a theatre artist because I also act, direct, and produce. As a theatre artist, I have joined many other guilds and professional organizations. By far, the Dramatists Guild, has generated the most benefits of all of them. I have become firmly ensconced in this creative community, as well as found new opportunities for development of my work; moreover, I have had the benefit of serving artists in my state.
EM: I would like to continue with End Of Play.™ programs and special reading events for our states. I find them invigorating and insightful! I think a city swap in our area would be great and I also think that we need to do mare partnering with each other as individual writers for feedback.