Devising Our Future Open Call

Illustration of a stage as an upward-moving and unconstrained path

Illustration by Silent Fox, inspired by the essay

Share Your Vision for the Future with the Commons: Open Call for Contributions to HowlRound’s “Devising Our Future” Journal Series

During this moment of pause and reckoning in the nonprofit theatre field, a lot has been said about the future. Some call for a return to “normalcy” while others seek to make the field anew. It’s clear that any future thinking will need to include solutions to address the structural inequities and the crises facing our theatremaking community amidst the dual pandemics of systemic racism and COVID-19. There should be no going back to the way things were, so we must work toward co-creating and co-envisioning the future we need.

As a part of a yearlong celebration of our tenth anniversary, HowlRound is publishing a series of essays called Devising Our Future, with each piece offering radical and thoughtful musings on the prospects for our theatre field. (Have you read these amazing offerings? You should!)

Now it’s your turn. We’re calling on you, our global community of commoners, to submit your specific ideas for the future, using the HowlRound vision statement as a starting point. Ask yourself: What does the theatre field look like when resources and power are shared equitably in all directions?

“Imagination is crucial to social movement. If people can’t envision a greater world, then they can’t fight for it. If people are fighting for piecemeal things, to make how they live a little better, over a long haul it’s not going to sustain the movement or develop something new. And we need something vastly new and different.”
— Terry Marshall, founder/creative director of Intelligent Mischief

What We’re Looking For

Theatremakers from across the globe are welcome to submit to this open call, and we are excited about receiving pitches from all parts of the field (including students). Before your submit, consider the following:

  • Approach your essay from your own positionality in the theatre ecology—don’t worry about “solving” everything! Focusing on one or two concepts and digging deep is better than trying to cover a lot of ground. Like our work on stage, specificity will make for the strongest essays.
  • We’re looking for nuanced, complicated narratives of the future that are grounded in the same starting place: the realities of the world we currently live in. We’re not looking to build utopias—conflicts exist in the future too!
  • These essays are speculative yet shouldn’t be disconnected from addressing how the change they illuminate comes about. The challenges and solutions in this series are intersectional. If you’re talking about racial justice, you’re also talking about economic and climate justice.
  • Contributors can choose to write about any point in the future they wish. Writers can report from the future, write in the present tense about their vision for the future, or choose any other structure.

“Saying no to bad ideas and bad actors is simply not enough. The firmest of no’s has to be accompanied by a bold and forward-looking yes—a plan for the future that is credible and captivating enough that a great many people will fight to see it realized, no matter the shocks and scare tactics thrown their way.”
— Naomi Klein in No is Not Enough

How to Submit

We will accept full drafts or detailed outlines of ideas through our pitch form between 26 April 2021 and 30 June 2021. All essays in this series will follow HowlRound’s style guide, word count, and editing process. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Word count for all essays should fall between 1500 and 2500 words.
  • Once you have submitted your draft or outline via the pitch form, we will get back to you within three weeks. If your draft or outline is accepted by the editorial staff, you will be connected to our content editor who will work with you on your essay.
  • All essays go through an editing process for style, length, flow, and clarity, which is typical for every piece we publish.
  • If your essay is selected, you will be compensated $500 USD, payable by check or Zelle within thirty days of the publication on the HowlRound Journal.
  • HowlRound is a knowledge commons with a global readership. Don’t assume everyone reading your essay is from the United States.
  • HowlRound is not an academic journal. The writing style should be clear, accessible, and public-facing.

If you have any questions about this process, please email editor@howlround.com.

Submit to Devising Our Future