Howlround Theater Commons Home Page

Welcome to HowlRound

a group sitting around a conference table

Arts, Culture, and Commoning Convening. Boston, Massachusetts. 17 December 2018.

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

four actors in rehearsal
We Didn’t Have Any Role Models
Essay

We Didn’t Have Any Role Models

An Interview with the Founders of Wry Crips Disabled Women’s Theatre Group

21 August 2019

Michaela Goldhaber, current artistic director of Wry Crips, talks to the founding and early members of the disabled women’s theatre group about their history.

set of not every mountain
How You Make/What You Make with Kirk Lynn of The Rude Mechanicals
Podcast

How You Make/What You Make with Kirk Lynn of The Rude Mechanicals

From the Ground Up Episode #15

19 August 2019

On this episode of From the Ground Up, Kirk Lynn of Austin, Texas’ Rude Mechanicals talks about their place on the national scene and how they sustain their work as they continue to grow as artists and individuals.

actors onstage
Anticolonial Creative Collaboration and the Development of Mirror Butterfly
Essay

Anticolonial Creative Collaboration and the Development of Mirror Butterfly

15 August 2019

Ben Barson and Gizelxanath Rodriguez, part of the Afro Yaqui Music Collective, talk about artivism—what it means, what it can look like—in relation to building a jazz opera with various communities around the world.

Upcoming Events

Livestreaming a performance of TRANSom
Video

Livestreaming a performance of TRANSom

at Ground Floor Theatre in Austin, Texas

Sunday 25 August 2019
Austin, Texas

Ground Floor Theatre presents a performance of TRANSom livestreaming on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network on Sunday 25 August 2019 at 3 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 5 p.m. CDT (Austin, UTC-5) / 6 p.m. EDT (Boston, UTC-4) / 20:00 UTC+0.

Livestreaming a performance of The Mamalogues
Video

Livestreaming a performance of The Mamalogues

at the VORTEX in Austin, Texas

Friday 30 August 2019
Austin, Texas

Color Arc Productions and The VORTEX present a performance of The Mamalogues livestreaming on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network on Friday 30 August 2019 at 9 p.m. EDT (New York) / 8 p.m. CDT (Chicago) / 6 p.m. PDT (Los Angeles). 

white background with blue text Analogio: in memory we trust
Livestreaming the Analogio Theater Festival 2019
Video

Livestreaming the Analogio Theater Festival 2019

from Athens, Greece

Wednesday 25 & Thursday 26 September 2019
Athens, Greece

Livestreaming events from the Analogio Theater Festival in Athens, Greece on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network on Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 September 2019.

Community Picks

Lists of specially curated content by members of our community.

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.

Decolonizing Theatre

This is a list of articles from the Decolonizing Theatre series, curated by Annalisa Dias and Madeline Sayet.

Working With(In) Communities/ Trabajando Con y Para la Comunidad
Essay

Working With(In) Communities/ Trabajando Con y Para la Comunidad

Modeling Decolonized Practices/Las Practicas Hacia La Descolonización

31 May 2018

Director Megan Sandberg-Zakian talks with representatives of organizations which are intentionally working towards decolonized practices.

Decolonizing Texts, Words, and Communication
Podcast

Decolonizing Texts, Words, and Communication

30 May 2018

In this podcast, DeLesslin “Roo” George-Warren, Jacqueline E. Lawton, Lisa Cooke Ravensbergen, and mia susan amir discuss how we can decolonize the primacy of the written word and text in theatre.

Colonization is Global, but Brown Has No Borders/ La Colonización es Global, Pero El Color No Tiene Fronteras
Essay

Colonization is Global, but Brown Has No Borders/ La Colonización es Global, Pero El Color No Tiene Fronteras

29 May 2018

Four South Asian theatremakers discuss global decolonization, reclaiming narratives, language and representation in theatre, and more.

Decolonizing Creation Processes by Reclaiming Narratives/Reclamando Nuestras Narrativas
Essay

Decolonizing Creation Processes by Reclaiming Narratives/Reclamando Nuestras Narrativas

El Giro Decolonial en el Proceso Creativo

28 May 2018

Robert Goodwin and Mary Kathryn Nagle discuss decolonizing Western theatre, linear narrative structures, the historic silencing of underrepresented voices, Shakespeare, and more.

Decolonizing Theatre/La Descolonización del Teatro
Essay

Decolonizing Theatre/La Descolonización del Teatro

an Introduction/Introducción

27 May 2018

Annalisa Dias and Madeline Sayet introduce the Decolonizing Theatre series by exploring the ways the American theatre has been and still is complicit in the legacy of colonialism.

What We Mean When We Say We Do Dramaturgy

As new play dramaturgs, we spin webs of meaning out of the air. Take a look at some of these essential dramaturgy HowlRound articles.

Portrait of David Dower.
I, Dramaturg
Essay

I, Dramaturg

26 May 2011

David Dower, the Co- Artistic Director of ArtsEmerson, responds to P. Carl's article about finding one's creative voice in theater with charting how he, Dower, became the "creative" person he is, and how that lead him to dramatugy. 

Portrait of P. Carl.
Was I Born This Way?
Essay

Was I Born This Way?

22 May 2011

P. Carl, the Co- Artisic Director of ArtsEmerson, narrates his evoultion of finding his place in the creatative field of theater, and the way the nature and expression of creativity in theatre is tied into the nature and nutrue philosphical arguement. 

New Play Wizard Richard Washer on First Draft and the D.C. Theater Scene
Essay

New Play Wizard Richard Washer on First Draft and the D.C. Theater Scene

6 November 2014

Richard Washer is a Washington fixture, having worked in the Washington, D.C. area for more than thirty years as a playwright, director, dramaturg, and educator. He is humble, unassuming, and quietly essential to many in the DC area who are developing new plays.

A tray of fast food.
Fast Food Dramaturgy
Essay

Fast Food Dramaturgy

12 August 2013

Amanda Boyle disects fast food dramaturgy: a brand that caters to productions' quick and easy needs.

The Dramaturgy of Gender
Essay

The Dramaturgy of Gender

How Audience Expectations Shape Storytelling

12 December 2015

Hailey Bachrach explores the subtle bias of audiences and directors toward female characters by surveying audiences following a performance with male and female actors trading roles.

Convening attendees sit in a circle
Breaking Down the Walls
Essay

Breaking Down the Walls

29 February 2012

Amrita Ramanan describes her literary office of the future—a place with no walls, no seperations, and no more viewing dramaturgy as an isolated practice.

Current Discussions on Race and Gender

This is HowlRound content that I either teach in class or read to prepare for the Race and Gender in Performance class at SUNY New Paltz.

Decolonizing Theatre/La Descolonización del Teatro
Essay

Decolonizing Theatre/La Descolonización del Teatro

an Introduction/Introducción

27 May 2018

Annalisa Dias and Madeline Sayet introduce the Decolonizing Theatre series by exploring the ways the American theatre has been and still is complicit in the legacy of colonialism.

Is Your Theatre Only “Diverse and Inclusive” Twice a Year?
Essay

Is Your Theatre Only “Diverse and Inclusive” Twice a Year?

20 February 2016

Malesha Taylor shares her experience working in audience development and emphasizes the need for regional theatres to continue building relationships with diverse audiences. 

Theatre and Resistance
Essay

Theatre and Resistance

Ten Things You Can Do

25 January 2018

Jonathan Mandell reports on the Martin Segal Theatre Center's 2018 Theatre and Resistance Symposium, and lists ten things theatre community can do right now to make a change.

ConeXión and Aesthetic Resistance at the 2018 Latinx Theatre Commons Carnaval
Essay

ConeXión and Aesthetic Resistance at the 2018 Latinx Theatre Commons Carnaval

6 August 2018

Regan Postma-Montaño reports on the 2018 Latinx Theatre Commons' Carnaval of New Latinx Work, which took place on 19-21 July in Chicago, Illinois.

Manahatta's Gender Flip
Essay

Manahatta's Gender Flip

Equity in Action

2 April 2018

Holly Derr discusses the dramaturgical implications of playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle changing one of her characters to a woman in her newest play Manahatta, which premiered at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in March 2018.

The Ugly Truth about Arts Institutions Led by Women of Color
Essay

The Ugly Truth about Arts Institutions Led by Women of Color

9 May 2018

Founder and executive artistic director of Dallas’s Bishop Arts Theatre Center Teresa Coleman Wash looks at the realities of running a theatre company as a woman of color.

On the Physical Embodiment of Trans Women Onstage and the Follies of Symbolic Representation
Essay

On the Physical Embodiment of Trans Women Onstage and the Follies of Symbolic Representation

1 October 2017

Massimo Monfiletto questions the representation of trans women in a commercial theatrical setting.

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