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Welcome to HowlRound

a group sitting in three concentric circles inside a large windowed space

Digital + Performance Convening.  Kingston, Ontario. 12 June 2019.

We’re a free and open platform

for theatremakers worldwide.

We amplify progressive, disruptive ideas about theatre and facilitate connection between diverse practitioners. We function as a  “commons”—a social structure that invites open participation around shared values. All of the content (essays, videos, podcasts) on HowlRound comes from the theatre community who chooses to participate—that means you!

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What's New

two graphs: Are at least half the characters specified as females by the playwright. Are at least half of the characters specified as non-white by the playwright?
What Our New Plays Really Look Like
Essay

What Our New Plays Really Look Like

A Statistical Guide to US World Premieres in the 2019–20 Season

21 October 2019

Marshall Botvinick shares the results of the research he undertook about new plays premiering across the United States in the 2019–20 season: who is being produced, what characters are appearing on stage, and what forms and themes are common.

a group of actors onstage
Audiences, Parasites, and Personal Revelations
Essay

Audiences, Parasites, and Personal Revelations

Perspectives on Criticism and Playwriting

20 October 2019

Playwright/critic Ava Wong Davies talks to critic Maddy Costa and plawright Alice Birch about who reviews are for, responses to criticism, self-censorship, and more.

actors onstage
Don’t Wish, Do It Yourself
Essay

Don’t Wish, Do It Yourself

Women Finding Their Power in Cendrillon

17 October 2019

Shari Caplan discusses Opera del West’s recent production of Cendrillon at the Boston Center for the Arts.

Upcoming Events

14 panelists and speakers headshots.
Livestreaming Center for Cultural Innovation's inaugural AmbitioUS convening
Video

Livestreaming Center for Cultural Innovation's inaugural AmbitioUS convening

Encouraging alternative economies and a fresh social contract for artists and cultural anchors

Wednesday 23 October 2019
Oakland, California

Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI) presents the inaugural AmbitioUS convening encouraging the development of burgeoning alternative economies and a fresh social contract in ways that artists and cultural anchors can achieve financial freedom. Livestreaming from Oakland, California on the commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Wednesday 23 October 2019 at 8:30 a.m. PDT (Oakland, UTC -7) / 10:30 a.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 11:30 a.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 15:30 UTC +0 / 4:30 p.m. BST (London, UTC +1) / 17:30 CEST (Berlin, UTC +2).

actors in front of a colorful wall of newspaper
Livestreaming the IETM Rijeka Plenary Meeting
Video

Livestreaming the IETM Rijeka Plenary Meeting

from Rijeka, Croatia

Thursday 24 October to Saturday 26 October 2019
Rijeka, Croatia

IETM presents the IETM Rijeka Plenary Meeting livestreaming on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network from Thursday 24 October to Saturday 26 October 2019.

Five actors on stage dressed in Roma clothes from the 1940's.
Performance of Kali Traš (Black Fear) by Giuvlipen Theatre Company, Romania
Video

Performance of Kali Traš (Black Fear) by Giuvlipen Theatre Company, Romania

On the Roma Genocide during the Second World War

Friday 25 October 2019
Bucharest, Romania

Giuvlipen Theatre Company and State Jewish Theater present a performance of Kali Traš (Black Fear) by Giuvlipen Theatre Company livestreaming from Bucharest, Romania on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Friday 25 October 2019 at 9 a.m. PDT (Vancouver, UTC -7) / 12 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 16:00 UTC +0 / 5 p.m. BST (London, UTC +1) / 18:00 CEST (Budapest, UTC +2) / 19:00 EEST (Bucharest, UTC +3). 

Community Picks

Lists of specially curated content by members of our community.

Climate Change Series Highlights

I've been curating the Theatre in the Age of Climate Change series for four years. Here are some of the pieces that have really stuck with me.

Looking for the Ending (Or is it the Beginning?)
Essay

Looking for the Ending (Or is it the Beginning?)

20 April 2015

Alanna Mitchell talks about transforming her book Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis into a one-woman show, and the conversation she found in theatre.

The Nature of Positive
Essay

The Nature of Positive

22 April 2015

Australian scenic designer Tanja Beer explores designing with the intentions of enriching audiences as well as our environment and communities.

A Courtship with Impermanence
Essay

A Courtship with Impermanence

21 September 2015

New Orleans-based artist Nick Slie writes about creating Cry You One, an interdisciplinary, site-responsive project addressing the ongoing effects of climate change on the Gulf Coast.

I Can't Go On, I'll Go On
Essay

I Can't Go On, I'll Go On

26 September 2015

Kendra Fanconi addresses climate change in her work not as an abstract concept, but as a real and immediate concern that is deeply rooted in a sense of place: the forests of British Columbia.

Dweepa (The Island)
Essay

Dweepa (The Island)

A play with beginnings in the questions of Climate Change

19 April 2016

Playwright Abhishek Majumdar describes the creation of his play Dweepa, inspired by eco-philosophy.

Native Communities and Climate Change, Center Stage
Essay

Native Communities and Climate Change, Center Stage

19 September 2016

Playwright Jaisey Bates urges us to include Native communities and artists in the work to combat climate change and in the work we put on stage.

How Theatre Renewed My Perspective on Climate Change
Essay

How Theatre Renewed My Perspective on Climate Change

21 September 2016

Undergraduate actor Sterling Oliver writes about how performing Forward led him to rediscover a passion for working to prevent climate change.

We Are the Climate
Essay

We Are the Climate

16 April 2017

In this first installment, Playwright Katie Pearl explores the implications of climate change, storytelling, and intersectionality in the theatre community in relation to Donald Trump’s administration.

Kill Climate Deniers
Essay

Kill Climate Deniers

What Happens When You Threaten Murder in the Title of Your Play?

20 September 2017

In the third installment of this series, Australian playwright David Finnigan discusses how he navigated the attacks of climate deniers on his provocatively titled play. 

Queer Climate Performance Art in the Most Unlikely Places
Essay

Queer Climate Performance Art in the Most Unlikely Places

20 March 2018

Peterson Toscano describes his solo show Everything is Connected, which tackles religion, LGBTQ issues, privilege, and climate change.

Alternative ways of living and community-building

These are essential HowlRound posts about the intersection of theatremaking and alternative ways of living and community-building.

Subpoetics International
Essay

Subpoetics International

A Boat Constructed While on Water

22 February 2017

Seth Baumrin, artistic director of Subpoetics International, discusses the history, process, and journey of a company working with the stories of refugees and displaced peoples to find their way.

Ten Transformative Ideas for Community-Building and Cross-Cultural Exchange
Essay

Ten Transformative Ideas for Community-Building and Cross-Cultural Exchange

23 May 2018

Caitlin Cassidy discusses ten principles and practices she's learned as an artist working at the intersection of arts and cross-cultural exchange, and as one of Georgetown University's Laboratory for Global Performance & Politics Fellows.

Towards a Participatory Public
Essay

Towards a Participatory Public

The Meeting of Theater and Community

23 October 2013
Two giant shoes with people gathered around.
Abundance and Transformation
Essay

Abundance and Transformation

2 October 2012

Donna Neuwirth describes the integration of culture and agriculture at the Wormfarm Institute in Wisconsin. 

Growing a Living Culture
Essay

Growing a Living Culture

17 October 2012
Your Guide to Theatre Education
Essay

Your Guide to Theatre Education

Double Edge Theatre Company

10 August 2015

In this installment, David Dudley interviews four members of Double Edge Theatre Company about the company’s unique approach to training and living.

A Vibe Thing

The Art & Aesthetics of Hip-Hop in Theatre

Poster for Total Chaos.
Ciphers, Freestyles, and Posse Cuts
Essay

Ciphers, Freestyles, and Posse Cuts

The Parallels of Ensemble/Devised Theatre and Hip-Hop

20 October 2012

Clyde Valentin explores the similarities between hip-hop and devised theatre, and what large-scale theatre companies can learn from hip-hop's culture.

A logo for the Hip Hop Theatre Festival.
Hip-Hop Theater Festival
Essay

Hip-Hop Theater Festival

Making Space in Harlem

29 June 2012

The mission is to bring stories by and about the hiphop generation. Now Hip-hop Theatre Festival is finished with the nomadic lifestyle and have a space to call our own.

 

Where Broadway At?
Essay

Where Broadway At?

Meditations On the Closing of the Tupac Musical.

23 July 2014

Idris Goodwin investigates the potential financial and critical success of Hip-Hop-oriented theatre.

Hamilton
Essay

Hamilton

Five Ways Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hip-Hopped History Musical Breaks New Ground

5 March 2015

There is a sense that this piece somehow transcends theatre even as it embodies it—or, as Hamilton puts it: “This is not a moment, it’s a movement.”

Hip Hop Culture Conversation with Clyde Valentin & Will Power at Double Edge Theatre
Video

Hip Hop Culture Conversation with Clyde Valentin & Will Power at Double Edge Theatre

Sunday 16 March 2014
Ashfield, MA, United States

Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield, Massachusetts presents The Power of Hip Hop Culture: A Conversation with Clyde Valentin and Will Power livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Sunday 16 March at 8 a.m. PDT/ 10 a.m. CDT/ 11 a.m. EDT/ 15:00 GMT. In Twitter, use #howlround.

The Politics and Ethics of Representation in Theatre

From an upper level seminar class, “The Politics and Ethics of Representation in Theatre,” these HowlRound articles fostered debate on controversial issues, modeled strategies for writing a manifesto about our beliefs on art-making and theatrical collaboration, and helped students propose an innovative season of plays that spoke to 21st Century audiences. Plays read included Jenkin’s Appropriate, Hwang’s Yellow Face, Ahktar’s Disgraced, Diamond’s Smart People, Mac’s Hir, Nottage’s Sweat, Baker’s The Flick, and Gao Xingjian’s Wildman.

A portrait of Emily Ball Cicchini.
New Media as Performance
Essay

New Media as Performance

19 January 2012

Emily Cicchini draws parallels between the process of making a new play to designing a new website, and offers inspiration on how that comparison can serve future new play development. 

The New Work of Building Civic Practice
Essay

The New Work of Building Civic Practice

9 July 2012

The needs of non-arts organizations, and theatre artists' assets can intersect through Civic Practice. This guide from Michael Rohd offers examples of application and what this work can accomplish.

I’ll Disband My Roving Gang of Thirty Asian Playwrights When You Stop Doing Asian Plays in Yellow Face* (*Exception
Essay

I’ll Disband My Roving Gang of Thirty Asian Playwrights When You Stop Doing Asian Plays in Yellow Face* (*Exception

David Henry Hwang’s play Yellow Face)

6 October 2014

In this installment, Mike Lew discusses the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, the fraught practice of yellow face, and what equity for people of color actually looks like.

Lynn Nottage Talks Research, Collaboration, and the Fracturing of America
Essay

Lynn Nottage Talks Research, Collaboration, and the Fracturing of America

28 January 2016

Holly Derr speaks with Lynn Nottage about her new play Sweat, a co-commission of Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Arena Stage, currently playing in Washington, DC.

On the merits of Yellowface
Essay

On the merits of Yellowface

why casting the “best” actor for the role is actually just a selection of bias in a racist system

9 October 2015

Nelson T. Eusebio III addresses the argument that the “best” actor must always be cast in a role, regardless of race.

Igniting a Transgender Revolution in Chicago
Essay

Igniting a Transgender Revolution in Chicago

12 April 2017

Artist Delia Kropp discusses the state of transgender theatre in Chicago, Illinois and shares current initiatives to produce work by and for trans and gender-variant artists. 

We’re Not Playing
Essay

We’re Not Playing

A Theatrical Protest Initiative

16 January 2017

Playwright Tiffany Antone discusses Little Black Dress INK’s “We’re Not Playing” initiative, advocating the need for theatrical protest for social change.

The Laramie Project Project
Essay

The Laramie Project Project

Uniting Worldwide Stages to Spread Awareness of Hate Crimes

17 August 2017

High school performing arts student Alyssa Sileo discusses how creating a theatre advocacy project based on The Laramie Project helped her unite communities in the face of adversity. 

A tree floating in the air.
The Aesthetic Evolution of Eco Theater
Essay

The Aesthetic Evolution of Eco Theater

23 November 2013

Eco theater is not meant as a protest or an art installation at a climate change conference. It is a complete and independent artistic practice that happens to focus on ecological issues.

Universality in Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar
Essay

Universality in Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar

Does the Intent Justify the Impact?

9 March 2016

Arlene Martínez-Vázquez calls out the racism of Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced, the most widely produced play of 2015 in America.

Fears of the Artist Sustain a Dysfunctional System
Essay

Fears of the Artist Sustain a Dysfunctional System

5 February 2014

In this installation, playwright  and artistic dirctor Jamil Khoury reflects on the controversey spurred over the adaptation of The Jungle Book, which opened this summer in Chicago. 

A Brief History of the Gender Parity Movement in Theatre
Essay

A Brief History of the Gender Parity Movement in Theatre

4 March 2017

Jenny Lyn Bader looks at theatre’s gender parity movement.

Who Designs and Directs in LORT Theatres by Gender
Essay

Who Designs and Directs in LORT Theatres by Gender

Phase Three

7 July 2017

Porsche McGovern discusses the third phase of her study on LORT theatre designers.

Portrait of P Carl.
A Boy in a Man's Theater
Essay

A Boy in a Man's Theater

25 April 2012

P. Carl on why the lack of stories on American Stages about those who do not identify with a single gender, and the need to change it. 

A Collective Call Against Critical Bias
Essay

A Collective Call Against Critical Bias

26 June 2017

A collectively authored essay by leading artists, academics, and theatre advocates about Paula Vogel’s Indecent and Lynn Nottage’s Sweat on Broadway amid a conversation about critical bias toward women playwrights and playwrights of color.

Comedy, Contrivance, and Criticism
Essay

Comedy, Contrivance, and Criticism

A Defense of Smart People

26 April 2016

Anchuli Felicia King on the Second Stage production of Lydia R. Diamond’s Smart People in New York.

Will & War
Essay

Will & War

Shakespeare Through the Lens of a Military Veteran

27 May 2014

The only reason that I am alive, sober, and surviving is because I have community and the performing arts. The performing arts community offers the perfect setting to share my story without being judged or condemned. It has been the performing arts that has kept me from being yet another veteran statistic. By examining and acting Shakespeare through my veteran lens I was able to understand what happened to me.

A person waving out of a window.
Community Building with the Chicago Home Theater Festival
Essay

Community Building with the Chicago Home Theater Festival

24 June 2014

Dani Snyder-Young writes about the 2014 Chicago Home Theater Festival, which places participatory performances inside private homes.

Community-Specific Theatre
Essay

Community-Specific Theatre

Conversations, Connections, and Considerations

10 April 2015

Talleri McRae shares a conversation hosted by StageOne Family Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky about making theatre specific to a particular community.

Art in the Time of Fear and Loathing
Essay

Art in the Time of Fear and Loathing

12 September 2016

Playwright Cherry Lou Sy discusses Vineyard Theatre’s production of Indecent, reflecting on the culture of fear and the queer artists who have influenced her.

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