Our Story
HowlRound came about because David Dower met Polly Carl, who met Vijay Mathew, who met Jamie Gahlon, and we all thought artists should have more say in how the American theater is run. But that story is only the smallest part of why HowlRound exists. Four people multiplied into four hundred and four hundred became four thousand, and well, you get the gist. HowlRound went from I to we and together we—our 25,000 readers, 500 contributors to the journal, the folks that combined to watch 50,000 hours of HowlRound TV, the 4,000 organizations and artists who have put themselves on the New Play Map, and 400 convening participants—are now the story of HowlRound. HowlRound is a story of artists and theater makers sharing dissonant opinions, engaging in in-depth dialogue, and promoting best practices with the hope of ensuring a vibrant future for our field. Our stories live in a theater commons—shared resources available to all.

Our Purpose
We design and develop online knowledge platforms and in-person gatherings that promote access, participation, organizational collaboration, field-wide research, and new teaching practices to illuminate the breadth, diversity, and impact of a commons-based approach to theater practice.

Our HowlRound Knowledge Platforms
An online journal
A livestreaming TV network
A New Play Map
Commons Producers studying playwright residencies
Convenings & Symposia
The Weekly Howl

Our Statement of Principles

  • We believe in the not-for-profit frame as our organizing principle, to understand theater in the context of its communities, artists, and institutions as an instrument of civilization.
  • We use a commons-based approach to our work that includes open-sourcing, peer-to-peer processes, and community-sourced knowledge that we share freely through internet-based technologies and in-person gatherings.
  • We embrace the concepts of open innovation and believe that the theater field will be advanced only through the pooling and sharing of knowledge and resources.
  • We, thus, strive to be a space where people can bring the knowledge and resources they are able to share and to use the knowledge and resources they need.
  • We engage our role as global citizens and participate in international efforts that align with our commons-based thinking.

HowlRound is modeling a commons.

We are not The Commons.

A theater commons, if it is to be manifested, will need to be cocreated by others committed to its existence.

Meet the Team
For conventional biographies, click on the names below. For something more interesting, keep reading.

Polly Carl is a scholar and dreamer. A bicycle enthusiast, and tattoo aficionado, her most recent ink job features her pup Joey riding a blue Schwinn, tennis ball in mouth. She makes her ravioli from scratch.


Lynette D'Amico is a fiction writer, a wordsmith, and possesses a green thumb that will grow your kale, cook it, and blow your mind. She understands the importance of a creative brief and hopes you do too.


Jamie Gahlon is a doodler, a dabbler, a list maker, and a libra who shares her birthday with the Boss. She creates a mean budget and a meaner master schedule. She may have to borrow your dog or teacup pig.


Vijay Mathew is a culture producer, a cartographer, and father to a five year old who wants to be a farmer when he grows up. He has technology on his side and he knows how to use it. When climate change accelerates, meet him in his garden.


Emma Baar-Bittman is a lefty, a camp counselor at heart, and a lover of going to bed early. She won’t ever say no to swimming in the ocean or playing cards. A New Haven native, you don’t want to argue with her about where the best pizza comes from.


David Dower is an infrastructure identifier and alignment specialist. A superstitious sports fan and former bartender of the year, he will make you a perfect cocktail if you cheer for his team the right way.


Diane Ragsdale is an investigator, an innovator, an idealist, and an American in the Netherlands. Now that she understands why the tulip bubble burst, she is focusing her attention on the economic factors at play in our sector throughout history to see how we might move forward.

Abigail Vega is a wanderer with a plan, a military brat, and a beach baby with an iced coffee addiction. A former B-list celebrity child chef, she has a formidable seashell collection and isn't afraid to use it. In her youth she flunked out of Chinese language Kindergarten, but don't worry, it has all been uphill since then. She produces the Latina/o Theatre Commons. 

To contact the team, click here