HowlRound held a conversation for students and faculty last year at Emerson College to discuss the creation of a theater commons. The conversation, however, quickly turned to how the school’s theater community reflected our view of the American theater community. We spent some time working out which companies and productions mirrored the styles and reputations of Broadway, regional theater, and community theater, and struggled with familiar questions: How could the theater department, which sometimes felt isolated from the rest of the college, reach out to other departments? How could more students take advantage of the opportunities to work with the professors and artists that the school offers? How can we diversify the casting and shows so that more people of color, different genders, sexualities, and other under-represented groups are included, to better reflect the world around us and the liberal values of Emerson College?
Our school, like many across the country, serves as a training ground for the “real world” of theater—not just through its courses, but also through the theater culture created by the school and its students. And, like the “real world” theater culture that we are training to enter, we need a place to have these kinds of conversations. What do we want our world to look like? What do we need more of? What are we trying to say, and who needs to hear it? And, hopefully, how do we create the changes we keep talking about?
As students, we are in a unique position. Though there are always issues of space, scheduling conflicts, marketing questions, and budgeting drama—theater is never, and, maybe, shouldn’t be, easy—we don’t yet have to worry about damaging our careers. If we don’t sell enough tickets to a show, no one loses their livelihood. We don’t yet have a professional obligation to produce one lucrative, though, perhaps, unexciting show a year. We can still go from being exclusively an actor to directing Hamlet at a moment’s notice.
The School Days series seeks the student perspective on questions we all struggle with and the questions we haven’t gotten to yet. HowlRound is delighted to expand its commons platform and invite students to share their ambitions, dreams and vision for theater. We are looking for passionate voices and smart, stimulating, and thought-provoking content.
A Call for Submissions
HowlRound is seeking submissions from students from around the world to be part of the School Days series—an online series featuring work from undergraduate theater students, artists, and leaders reflecting their perspective on theater as an industry in the present and their visions for the future.
Possible questions these posts could touch on:
- If you were to become a leading figure in the field of theater, what would you change?
- Describe the pulse of our generation of theater-makers. How is it similar to what we see now and how is it different?
- Give voice to something that you think that theater needs to know or pay attention to from the undergraduate perspective.
- Why do you choose the work that you choose?
The series will feature two student pieces a month, published on the HowlRound blog. Interested parties should submit the following to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- An outlined proposal in one paragraph, or a completed piece for consideration. Completed pieces should be between 750 and 1250 words.
- A one hundred word bio and headshot.
- A few sentences detailing why you are interested in writing about your experience as a theater student, artist or intern and why HowlRound readers would benefit hearing from you.
Submissions are due October 30, November 30, and December 30. At least two submissions will be accepted for publication each month November through January.