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The HowlRound Challenge

An Open Call for Convening Proposals

Learn more about the four finalists

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
—Margaret Mead

A revolution that is based on the people exercising their creativity in the midst of devastation is one of the great historical contributions of humankind.
—Grace Lee Boggs

As the dust settled after the 2016 US Presidential election, we here at HowlRound began discussing what our response could be to the overt discord and divisiveness that has become the new normal in our country. We did not want to accept this reality passively. As stewards and facilitators of a knowledge commons we considered how to invite the theatre community into this discussion with us, and decided to offer what resources we have to the conversation. The HowlRound Challenge is our response and our offering to you in hopes that together we can move from rhetoric to action, and create new and innovative ways to have real-world impact on our current political and cultural climate.

Through The HowlRound Challenge, we will produce and host up to five in-person convenings in Boston, from September 2017 to June 2019 that will incubate ideas and seed action to make a better theatre and a better world.


The HowlRound Challenge is an intentional intervention meant to resist divisiveness in our communities, to resist discord, to resist isolation, to resist passivity, to resist our temptation to go on with business as usual. Through the HowlRound Challenge, we will produce and host up to five in-person convenings in Boston, from September 2017 to June 2019 that will incubate ideas and seed action to make a better theatre and a better world.

What is a convening, anyways?
HowlRound defines convenings as gatherings of people united by a common interest and/or identity with the purpose of furthering a conversation and organizing an action. Since our founding, HowlRound has hosted twenty convenings bringing together a total of over 600 theatremakers, on a wide range of topics including: ensemble theatremaking, the intersection between the non-profit and commercial theatre, the arts and the military, aesthetics of Latinx theatremaking, the opportunities and challenges facing trans theatre artists, to name a few. Convenings have brought as few as eight people and as many as 200 attendees together, and have run from one afternoon to four straight full days of programming. You can learn more about our past and upcoming convenings here.

What were offering:
We want to bring you and up to thirty of your co-conspirators to Boston to plan your next action and get to work. We’ll cover travel, housing, meals, supplies, and documentation via HowlRound platforms as appropriate. We’ll work with you to design every facet of your gathering according to the needs and specificities of your inquiry. Following your convening, HowlRound staff will be available to support the continued actions of the group through ongoing discussion and access to our platforms.

Who can apply:
A theatremaker or theatremakers with an urgent issue to explore that requires an in-person meeting, and the energy, time, and will to put words to action. Please note that you will need to be available for planning sessions prior to the convening. We will work around your schedule, but know that this is not an insignificant time commitment.

Decision Making Process
HowlRound staff will review all proposals according to the following criteria:

  • Alignment with HowlRound Values
    • Generosity and abundance
    • Community and collaboration
    • Counter-cultural ideas
    • Diverse aesthetics
    • Visibility and accessibility
    • Global connection
    • Timely discourse
  • Relevance
    • How relevant is this convening to the current moment? Does it address a pressing issue in our field?
    • Is it additive to the current landscape (i.e. is it filling a gap) and/or is it building off of other work in an intelligent and non-duplicative way?
  • Creativity
    • How is the proposal innovative? How does it exhibit new ways of thinking or problem solving, or build on past learning in a new way? How is it pushing the field forward?
  • Feasibility
    • Is the lead applicant well versed in the topic and players who will be involved? Do they have capacity to co-create a convening with HowlRound? What is their experience organizing people, and what other kinds of support for work of this nature, if any, is already secured?

Proposals are due by 5pm Eastern Standard Time on Friday, May 26, 2017. Email your completed proposal to [email protected]. Please title your email: Your Name: Proposed Convening Title (i.e. Jane Doe: Arts and the Military). Download the fact sheeet here and download the pdf application here. If the pdf application is giving you any trouble, download the word application here. ** NOTE: The application has been updated to fix a bug as of 5/24/17. Download the current version.**

Finalists will be contacted for interviews no later than June 21, 2017. Final decisions will be made by July 28, 2017.

Information Sessions
HowlRound will host two information sessions via conference call to answer applicant questions:

  • Tuesday, May 9 2:30-3:30pm Eastern Standard Time
  • Monday, May 22 2:30-3:30pm Eastern Standard Time

Phone numner: (857) 216-6700 Access Code: 295731

You can also email questions at any time to [email protected]. We’re so excited to hear what you’re all dreaming up!

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