Howlround Theater Commons Home Page

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 doors and a wall with post-it notes and large paper notes
Drawing a Line
Essay

Drawing a Line

17 July 2019

Dawn M. Simmons, John Meredith, and Jen Lewis, from New England’s StageSource, discuss where progress needs to happen to address harassment in the theatre industry.

actors onstage
A Lover’s Guide to American Playwrights
Essay

A Lover’s Guide to American Playwrights

Octavio Solis

16 July 2019

Todd London celebrates one of the most prolific and prominent Latino playwrights in America, Octavio Solis.

a screen shot
Nothing is an Answer, Everything is a Signal
Essay

Nothing is an Answer, Everything is a Signal

On NYC’s the Shed and the Institution of Novelty

15 July 2019

Zach Donovan discusses how the Shed—the state-of-the-art arts complex in New York City’s recent real estate development, Hudson Yards—has become a point of contention in the downtown theatre community.

Upcoming Events

a row of women with linked arms behind date text
Livestreaming the Urban Dance Women's 2019 Summer Leadership Institute Culminating Performance
Video

Livestreaming the Urban Dance Women's 2019 Summer Leadership Institute Culminating Performance

at Gibney Dance in New York City

Saturday 20 July 2019
New York City

Urban Bush Women present the 2019 Summer Leadership Institute Culminating Performance livestreaming on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Saturday 20 July at 4 p.m. EDT (New York) / 3 p.m. CDT (Chicago) / 1 p.m. PDT (Los Angeles), and then again at 7:315 p.m. EDT (New York) / 6:15 p.m. CDT (Chicago) / 4:15 p.m. (Los Angeles). 

shelagh magadza headshot
Livestreaming the Winter Nights lecture ‘On Theatre’ by Shelagh Magadza
Video

Livestreaming the Winter Nights lecture ‘On Theatre’ by Shelagh Magadza

The Blue Room Theatre, Perth, Australia

Tuesday 23 July 2019
Perth, Australia

The Blue Room Theatre presents the Winter Nights keynote lecture ‘On Theatre’ by Shelagh Magadza livestreaming on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network on Tuesday 23 July 2019 at  6:30 a.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 10:30 UTC+0 / 6:30 p.m. AWST (Perth, UTC +8). 

Livestreaming a performance of Alice's Wonderland
Video

Livestreaming a performance of Alice's Wonderland

at the VORTEX in Austin, Texas

Friday 26 July 2019
Austin, Texas

The VORTEX in Austin, Texas presents Alice’s Wonderland by Ingrid Oslund, livestreaming on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network on Friday 26 July at 6 p.m. PDT (San Francisco) / 8 p.m. CDT (Chicago) / 9 p.m. EDT (New York) / Saturday 27 July at 02:00 UTC+0. 

Community Picks

Lists of specially curated content by members of our community.

This is America

A collection of works that help to explore the beauty, dysfunction and opportunity housed in this creative form called Theatre. America has an opportunity to be, support, and change into this.

A poem by Barbara Ann Teer.
The Way Back Home
Essay

The Way Back Home

15 March 2013

Sade Lythcott writes about her mother's legacy as founder of the National Black Theater (NBT), and the importance of maintaining the history and lineage of black theater.

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.

Welcome to the Jubilee
Essay

Welcome to the Jubilee

17 October 2015

The Committee of  the Jubilee makes a call to action to support a vision of every theatre in the United States of America producing work by women, people of color, artists of varied physical and cognitive abilities, and/or LGBTQIA artists in the 2020–2021 season.

Alaska Native Theatre Comes of Age
Essay

Alaska Native Theatre Comes of Age

19 August 2018

Vera Starbard (Tlingit/Dena’ina) introduces the series on Alaskan theatre through the lens of Alaska Native performance and storytelling.

Native Voices On the American Stage
Essay

Native Voices On the American Stage

A Constitutional Crisis

22 February 2015

Playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle kicks off Native Voices Week, “Instead of Redface,” with a personal story about how she came to playwriting from law school and the imperative to tell Native stories.

Deaf Playwriting
Essay

Deaf Playwriting

A New Art Form

7 April 2016

In this installment, Playwright and poet Sabina England shares her process for creating performances for deaf and hearing audiences.

The Composition of Latinx Aesthetics
Essay

The Composition of Latinx Aesthetics

23 August 2017

Georgina Escobar reflects on the past four years of Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) convenings, and developing an understanding of “Latinx aesthetics.”

Thriving as a Recent Graduate

I worry that I'll lose the thrill and merriment I felt while pursuing a degree, so I ground myself in these articles. Definitely read and participate in the comments.

Portrait of P. Carl.
A Creative Room of One's Own
Essay

A Creative Room of One's Own

5 December 2011

P. Carl ruminates on the comparison between an ER and a rehearsal room, and the lessons we can lean as theater makers from both.

 

What I Mean When I Talk About Collaboration
Essay

What I Mean When I Talk About Collaboration

14 August 2011

Deborah Stein breaks down her experience in collaborative theatre settings to its specific characteristics, revealing the agony and ecstasy of creating in an ensemble.

The Theatre of the Future
Essay

The Theatre of the Future

9 February 2011

In this installment of the series From Scarcity to Abundance: Capturing the Moment for the New Work Sector, Meiyin Wang hypothesizes on the future of theatre and the impact it can have on the world.

Several actors stand and pose wearing colorful tutus, wigs, and makeup as an audience watches.
A Culture of Trust
Essay

A Culture of Trust

22 September 2011

Taylor Mac discusses actor professionalism, and trusting rather than auditioning them. 

Photo from Blindfolded in the Bathroom with a Blood Orange.
Pop Theatre
Essay

Pop Theatre

Revitalizing and Reimagining a Dying Artform

12 February 2018

Zach Donovan addresses the shortcomings of nonprofit theatre, the glut of self production, and considers Pop Theatre as an alternative theatrical vehicle.

A poster that reads Your Comfort is My Silence.
How Can You Eat When Everyone Is Starving?
Essay

How Can You Eat When Everyone Is Starving?

29 March 2017

In this political moment, Genée Coreno considers the need for industry reform in the theatre.

Against Entrepreneurship
Essay

Against Entrepreneurship

9 December 2016

Matthew Sekellick argues that identifying as entrepreneurs is not merely a survival strategy, but a false consciousness that alienates us further from our fellow artists and artisans. As theater artists, what we have to do is … imagine a world outside the confines of the present: a world beyond the horizon of entrepreneurship.

2018 Trans Week of Awareness/Trans Day of Resistance

In honor of 2018 Trans Awareness week (12-19 November), Trans Day of Remembrance (20 November), and Trans Day of Resistance (21 November), here's a list of some of my favorite HowlRound content for and by trans and non-binary theatremakers. We are here, we have always been here, and #WeWillNotBeErased.

Gender Futures
Essay

Gender Futures

A Talk with Christian Appel and Renée Imperato of the TransGenerational Theatre Project

24 August 2017

Patrick Gaughan interviews Christian Appel and Renée Imperato about how they used applied theatre, writing, and utopian world-envisioning to create the all-trans, ensemble- based TransGenerational Theatre Project in NYC. 

How We Grow
Essay

How We Grow

An Interview with Azure D. Osborne-Lee

15 August 2015

MJ Kaufman interviews playwright, director, and performer Azure D. Osborne-Lee about his plays and what he sees in the field as a trans artist.

#BreakingtheBinary
Essay

#BreakingtheBinary

an interview with SK Kerastas and Lisa Evans

26 January 2017

Regina Victor interviews SK Kerastas and Lisa Evans about their work to make theatre institutions more accessible for trans* people, on and off stage.

The Trans Artistic Body
Essay

The Trans Artistic Body

23 October 2014

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.

My Gender is Hot Fire
Essay

My Gender is Hot Fire

The Birth of the Non-Binary Monologues Project

30 October 2017

K. Woodzick talks about creating The Non-Binary Monologues Project, and the need for more resources for non-binary theatremakers.

Oh Gender, Up Yours!
Essay

Oh Gender, Up Yours!

18 November 2015

Three transmasculine playwrights discuss working in the theatre.

A Non-Binary Awakening in Philadelphia
Essay

A Non-Binary Awakening in Philadelphia

12 September 2018

Pax Ressler looks at both the successes and challenges for non-binary theatre artists in Philadelphia.

Don’t Call me Ma’am
Essay

Don’t Call me Ma’am

On the Politics of Trans Casting

29 September 2013

MJ Kaufman offers compelling insight on the politcs of trans casting.

Notes from the Trans Theatre Artists Convening
Essay

Notes from the Trans Theatre Artists Convening

11 March 2016

Azure D. Osborne-Lee and Kestryl Cael Lowery recap the Trans Theatre Artists Convening that took place in December, 2015.

#BreakingtheBinary: A Dialogue on Accessibility for Trans People Working in the Arts
Video

#BreakingtheBinary: A Dialogue on Accessibility for Trans People Working in the Arts

Monday 30 January 2017
Boston, MA, United States

#BreakingTheBinary is a free and public symposium focusing on accessibility for trans* people working in the arts presented by the American Repertory Theater at the Oberon. The event included a panel discussion of trans-identified theatre workers—livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer-produced HowlRound TV network howlround.tv Monday 30 January at 12 p.m. EST to 1:00 p.m. EST (Boston) / 11 a.m. CST to 12 p.m. CST (Chicago) / 10 a.m. MST to 11 a.m. MST (Denver) / 9 a.m. PST to 10 a.m. PST (San Francisco)/ 17:00 GMT—18:00 GMT. Follow the conversation on social media via the hashtag #BreakingtheBinary and follow @howlroundtv.

Making Theatre Out of Slam Poetry
Essay

Making Theatre Out of Slam Poetry

25 March 2018

Yan Chen talks with poet, performer, and playwright Kit Yan about the intersections of genre and intersections of identity in his work.

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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