HowlRound is a free and open platform for theatremakers worldwide that amplifies progressive, disruptive ideas about the art form and facilitates connection between diverse practitioners.
We envision a theatre field where resources and power are shared equitably in all directions, contributing to a more just and sustainable world.
- Generosity and abundance—all are welcome and necessary
- Community and collaboration over isolation and competition
- Diverse aesthetics and the evolution of forms of theatre practice
- Equity, inclusivity, and accessibility for marginalized theatre communities and practices
- Global citizenship—local communities intersecting with global practice
HowlRound’s creation was a direct response to: 1) research that suggested artists were increasingly distant from the center of theatremaking within not-for-profit institutional infrastructure, and 2) the new possibilities created by technology to influence theatre practice. Our founding came at a time when we saw too many voices left off our stages, not represented inside of our institutions, and not recognized for their substantial contribution to our past and present. We set about to create a group of tools that would amplify voices and issues chronically underrepresented and unheard in the theatre.
We found an organizing principle in the “commons”—a social structure that invites open participation around shared values. HowlRound is a knowledge commons that encourages freely sharing intellectual and artistic resources and expertise. It is our strong belief that the power of live theatre connects us across difference, puts us in proximity of one another, and strengthens our tether to our commonalities.
HowlRound launched as an online journal in 2011, created by P. Carl, David Dower, Jamie Gahlon, and Vijay Mathew as part of the American Voices New Play Institute (AVNPI) at Arena Stage (founded by Dower in 2009). In 2012 the co-founders and all of the documentation and dissemination work of the AVNPI relocated to Emerson College in Boston under the banner of HowlRound. This included the HowlRound journal, the livestreaming television channel, then called NewPlay TV (now HowlRound TV), the New Play Map (which evolved into the World Theatre Map, a project we have now closed), and all of the convening activity. In July of 2012, HowlRound officially began operations at Emerson College, where we remain today. Co-founders P. Carl and Co-Founder David Dower have now moved on (in 2017, and 2021 respectively), and Co-founders Jamie Gahlon and Vijay Mathew remain at HowlRound alongside a much larger dynamic and talented team. At Emerson, HowlRound is part of the Office of the Arts, a department that is also home to ArtsEmerson, a professional presenting and producing organization.
HowlRound is a knowledge commons that encourages freely sharing intellectual and artistic resources and expertise.
Interested in learning more about HowlRound's history and impact? Check out this executive summary and case study, "The Birth of a Theatre Commons: HowlRound from 2009-2017," by Helicon Collaborative!
HowlRound is a condition—one that results in a howling noise when sound from a loudspeaker is fed back into a microphone. It’s an amplified feedback loop. This idea of a feedback loop represents the condition upon which HowlRound was born in 2011—as a place for artists to provide feedback, learning, expertise, frustration, and vision—in an effort to enliven the fields of theatre and performance to the aspiring and established artist alike.
All of our content comes from our community. We curate according to our values, and we curate by listening to you. And when it comes to written content, we curate through a rigorous editing process done in conversation with you.
Other commons have emerged from the HowlRound commons. One of these is the Latinx Theatre Commons that began as a result of a meeting convened by HowlRound and is now an ongoing collaboration.
If you’re here for the first time, welcome! Visit our Contribute Content Page to see how you can become involved, subscribe to receive our content in your inbox, or just send us an email and say hello. You are the commons. You are HowlRound.
HowlRound functions as an ensemble. We have seven full-time staff and a number of part-time workers that make the magic happen. Want to reach out? Visit our Contact Page!
Jamie Gahlon (Director & Co-Founder)
Jamie (she/her) is a doodler, a dabbler, a list maker, and a libra who shares her birthday with the Boss. She may have to borrow your teacup pig.
Vijay Mathew (Cultural Strategist & Co-Founder)
Vijay (he/him) is a culture producer, an idea cartographer, and father to a fifteen-year-old who wants to help people when he grows up. An aspiring vegan chef.
Julia Schachnik (Creative Producer)
Julia (she/her) is a community builder and curator of impactful live programming. She was born and raised in Greater Boston and when she’s not at a live show around town you can find her obsessing over her tail-less cat, Steven.
Alison Yueming Qu (Associate Producer)
Alison (she/they) grew up in northeastern China (known for its Texas-equivalent vibes) and is a producer of the most niche Asian joy as a way of activism. Sometimes in this theatre kid life, they think about starting a speakeasy bar, a rice noodle joint, or a hot spring resort with capybaras.
Jacqueline Flores (Latinx Theatre Commons Producer)
Jacqueline (she/her) is passionate about theatre, ice cream, and Texas shaped waffles. She enjoys long walks, reading non-fiction books, and hula hooping. Her favorite pastime is running into AOC on Capitol Hill.
Ashley Malafronte (Content Editor)
Ashley (she/her) is a theatremaker, editor, and educator who grew up in the town from Gilmore Girls. She loves stories and really wants to hear yours— preferably over coffee or a bottle of wine. In her free time, you can find Ashley reading, hiking, kayaking, seeing theatre, or viciously defending New Haven apizza.
Thea Rodgers (HowlRound TV Producer)
Thea (she/her) is a theatre addict and wannabe astronaut who's streaming your station from nation to nation on the commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network. She talks a big game but when it comes down to it, you can probably beat her in Scrabble.
Munroe Forbes Shearer (HowlRound Fellow)
Munroe (all pronouns) is a writer, designer, and big idea generator from Essex Junction, Vermont. Outside of the theatre world, Munroe can be found reading poetry, journaling, getting too competitive at video games, and scrounging around New England for half-decent gluten free food.
Yaşam Özlem Gülseven (Graphic Designer)
Yaşam (she/her) is a dramaturg, writer, and graphic designer based in Turkey. She believes her work in both fields improve each other.