Polly Carl

Polly Carl is the Co-Artistic Director of ArtsEmerson where he programs an annual season of international work for the downtown theaters of Emerson College. He develops, dramaturgs, and presents an eclectic array of theater from diverse artists from around the globe. Operating from the core belief that theater is for everyone, Carl seeks to use the power of live performance in concert with opportunities for public dialogue to foster civic transformation through the shared experience of art. Carl is also the Director and co-founder of HowlRound, a knowledge commons by and for the theater community. HowlRound is an online platform as well as an in-person convener of theater practitioners that explores key issues in the field and extends an open invitation for international participation. He previously worked as the Producing Artistic Director at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, and as the Director of Artistic Development for Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. He holds a PhD in Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society from the University of Minnesota and works as an advocate for transgender rights and representation in the arts.




NewCritcriticism & analysis

  • Criticism, Vitriol, and Announcing Our NewCrit Critics
    A couple of months ago we announced that we would add criticism to the HowlRound site. The idea met with both great enthusiasm and deep skepticism. We expected this. When we originally discussed this idea with a large group of advisors, a warm and friendly meeting turned tense. Just the...
  • Call for Final NewCrit Critic!
    A huge thank you to everyone who applied. We are opening up the call for critics nationwide to determine our final city.
  • Call for Critics! by Polly Carl
    A call to bring the art of criticism to HowlRound , utilizing respectful dialogue to foster more in-depth conversations about the theatre we work hard to make.

Blognews, trends, insights

  • Carnaval 2015 Opening Remarks
    Lisa Portes, Polly Carl, and José Luis Valenzuela offer opening remarks on Carnaval 2015 at the Theatre School at DePaul University.
  • The Trans Artistic Body
    I’m at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in the women’s restroom washing my hands. A woman walks in, “I must be in the wrong place,” she says and walks out. Then she walks back in, “No, you’re in the wrong place,” she says, seething with confidence. I walk out, not sure of my place.
  • A New Year’s Diet for the Theater
    In hopes that 2014 will be a fruitful year for the whole theatre community, Polly Carl asks for a healthy diet of positive inquiry and generosity to create three-dimensional conversations.
  • Not Planning to Cross Dress This Time…
    Polly Carl writes about his experience cross-dressing to fundraise for HowlRound, and makes an appeal to help us continue our mission of highlighting the dissonances of the theater industry.