Organizational Models

There are many different kinds of theatre organizations, and content in this section explores the diversity of models. Dive in with essays on shared leadership and restructuring a company as a worker’s cooperative.

The Latest

Festivals for a New Age: Models of Responsiveness, Flexibility and Resistance
Video
Festivals for a New Age: Models of Responsiveness, Flexibility and Resistance
Friday 11 June 2021
United States
What Theatre Do We Want to Return To?
Essay
What Theatre Do We Want to Return To?
by Mike Lew, Rehana Lew Mirza
27 May 2021
Reimagining Public Theatres as Collectively Organized Cultural Institutions
Essay
Reimagining Public Theatres as Collectively Organized Cultural Institutions
by Zenkő Bogdán
28 April 2021
globe with connecting lines
Festivals for a New Age: Models of Responsiveness, Flexibility and Resistance
Video

Festivals for a New Age: Models of Responsiveness, Flexibility and Resistance

Friday 11 June 2021
United States

The International Presenting Commons (IPC) in partnership with Global Pillow and HowlRound Theatre Commons presents Festivals for a New Age: Models of Responsiveness, Flexibility and Resistance livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Friday 11 June 2021 at 9:30-11:00 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 11:30 a.m. -1:00 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 12:30-2:00 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

A man inflating a mirror with curtains.
What Theatre Do We Want to Return To?
Essay

What Theatre Do We Want to Return To?

27 May 2021

Mike Lew and Rehana Lew Mirza sit down to discuss how COVID has forced a breakup between artists and theatres and what it will take to get back together again.

An illustration of multiple hands assembling a broken art piece.
Reimagining Public Theatres as Collectively Organized Cultural Institutions
Essay

Reimagining Public Theatres as Collectively Organized Cultural Institutions

28 April 2021

Zenkő Bogdán believes public cultural institutions should be redefined from the perspective of the people around it: it’s artists, employees, and audiences. As an exercise, she has begun to reimagine a future public theatre’s rules of organizing and functioning—and wants each and every reader of the document to participate.

Image of two puppeteers on stage using puppets in front of a digital created forest backdrop.
Spaces of Puppetry in Lübeck
Essay

Spaces of Puppetry in Lübeck

7 April 2021

Antonia Napp, Sonja Riehn, Silke Technau, and Stephan Schlafke share learnings about running KOLK 17, a cultural institution in Lübeck, Germany that combines a puppetry theatre company and puppetry museum, and where the goal is to redefine exhibiting the art form.

Red Eye Theater's seven artistic directors.
Collective Leadership
Essay

Collective Leadership

A Conversation with Red Eye’s Artistic Directors

1 April 2021

The co–artistic directors of Red Eye Theater in Minneapolis talk about shifting to a collaborate leadership model with a horizontal structure and consensus-based process, backdooring their way into traditional funding structures and resources, and more.

Kamilah Forbes portrait.
Imagining a Way Forward
Essay

Imagining a Way Forward

Discussions on Theatre and Race

30 March 2021

Kamilah Forbes, artistic director of the Apollo Theater, speaks with Wes Jackson and P. Carl about the American theatre being a very slow-moving ship, genre-crossing for artists and organizations, systemic racism in the field, and more.

A production photo of three actors in front of projections
Envisioning Change
Essay

Envisioning Change

The Future Is Inclusive

29 March 2021

Andrea Kovich argues that inclusive design can be used to change organizations and the work being produced, leading to a more inclusive and equitable theatre field.

Image of four tableaus with people experiencing time passing.
Letters From Warsaw
Essay

Letters From Warsaw

24 March 2021

Marta Keil and Grzegorz Reske share letters from the past and the future, from June 2020 to June 2029, detailing the changes to the theatrical landscape in their hometown of Warsaw, Poland.

An image of a hand, and in its palm is a shakespearean actor with his arm extended offering an actor from the Lion King, who is offering a clown, who offers a leaping person. They appear in front of a teal background that is bordered by red curtains.
The Future Becoming
Essay

The Future Becoming

22 March 2021

Deborah Cullinan reflects on the path that enabled us to arrive in a future of shared resources and collective power.

three people posing for a photo in an ikea warehouse
Obvious Agency and Creative Cooperative Futures
Essay

Obvious Agency and Creative Cooperative Futures

15 March 2021

Arianna Gass and Daniel Park share their experience restructuring their company into a worker cooperative and what benefits this model offers.

four people posing for a photo outside in a city
Sharing the Load
Essay

Sharing the Load

Adapting to the Pandemic in a Shared Leadership Role

2 March 2021

In a conversation that took place in November 2020, Meropi Peponides and Yury Urnov discuss stepping into shared leadership roles, adapting during the pandemic, paying salaries to actors, and more.

a large group sitting in a circle watching a staged reading
How Sustained Support for Playwrights Impacts Artistry
Essay

How Sustained Support for Playwrights Impacts Artistry

National Playwright Residency Program Evaluation 2020

1 March 2021

Alexis Frasz and Holly Sidford of Helicon Collaborative share their findings from the most recent assessment of the National Playwright Residency Program.

a colorful illustration
The Technological Theatre Experimenters
Essay

The Technological Theatre Experimenters

18 February 2021

In envisioning of the future, Jared Mezzocchi begins by questioning: “What if theatre’s identity is not lost in the digital, but instead is enhanced in it?”

two people posing for a photo seated in front a marbled grey background
Knowing It’s Time to Go / Savoir quand partir
Essay

Knowing It’s Time to Go / Savoir quand partir

A Conversation on Passing the Torch of Artistic Leadership / Discussion sur le passage du flambeau de la direction artistique  

4 February 2021

David Dower and Martin Faucher discuss leaving their leadership positions at Boston’s ArtsEmerson and Montreal’s Festival TransAmériques, respectively; the balance between artistic responsibility and activist responsibility as artistic leaders; passing the torch to the next generation; and more. / David Dower, directeur artistique du ArtsEmerson de Boston, et Martin Faucher, codirecteur général et directeur artistique du Festival TransAmériques de Montréal, discutent de leur départ respectif, de l’équilibre entre la responsabilité artistique et la responsabilité militante en tant que directeur artistique, du passage du flambeau à la prochaine génération, et plus.

Association of Performing Arts Professionals conference logo.
Calling for Radical Change: A Fieldwide Conversation: The Climate Crisis, Performing Arts Touring, and our Future
Video

Calling for Radical Change: A Fieldwide Conversation: The Climate Crisis, Performing Arts Touring, and our Future

Monday 11 January 2021
New York City

How can we as a field address the impending climate crisis while we still have time to do so? What have we learned during this time and how can we build on it? In this session, join arts leaders, climate crisis experts, artists and innovators who are already responding to the crisis and calling for collective action to learn how the performing arts presenting, booking and touring field can tap our power for change and worldwide impact.

a person handing over a ticket
Pay Equity
Essay

Pay Equity

What’s In It For Theatre Companies?

6 January 2021

Elsa Hiltner examines the value of pay equity in the theatre through a fresh lens: how it benefits companies.

End of the Lark
Essay

End of the Lark

The Role of Nonprofits in an Actually Just World

10 December 2020

HowlRound Theatre Commons is excited to lift up the work of The Flashpaper as today’s featured article. In issue two of this print-only publication composed of plays, manifestos, short stories, monologues, essays, and art work, theatre artists imagine what moments of justice could look like in our future. We are excited to share “End of the Lark: The Role of Nonprofits in an Actually Just World,” an essay co-written by Jennifer Haley and Olivia George about New York City’s theatre and lab the Lark.

six people posing for a photo
We Need to Invest in Writers
Essay

We Need to Invest in Writers

Learnings from Administering the National Playwright Residency Program

29 October 2020

Ramona Rose King shares learnings from five years of working on the National Playwright Residency Program (NPRP) and argues that if we want to reinvigorate our art form and come back from this lull with vibrant, groundbreaking work, we need to invest in the artists who are making it.

a person standing on a balcony
The Carnival
Essay

The Carnival

Leadership in a Time of "What If?"

22 October 2020

Susan Booth, artistic director of Atlanta’s the Alliance Theatre, talks about how we are currently living in what is referred to as “the carnival” and shares ideas of how artistic organizations ought to react during this time.

a large group posing for a photo
From Nicety to Necessity
Essay

From Nicety to Necessity

21 October 2020

Jack Reuler, artistic director of Minneapolis’s Mixed Blood Theatre, reflects on how the pandemic might just be the great equalizer in the American theatre and how it’s time for theatre to move from being something nice to being something necessary.

tamilla woodard in a green blouse seated and talking
The Work of the Imagination
Essay

The Work of the Imagination

20 October 2020

Tamilla Woodard, co–artistic director of Working Theater in New York, talks about why she makes theatre and offers several “what if” thoughts about how the field should move forward.

Activating the Cultural Power of a Movement
Video

Activating the Cultural Power of a Movement

Leaders from racial justice, environmental justice, immigrant rights, and economic justice groups share strategies for building movement power together

Friday 9 October 2020
United States

The US Department of Arts and Culture, Arts & Democracy, and Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts NY (NOCD-NY) presented the conversation Activating the Cultural Power of a Movement livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Friday 9 October 2020 at 1 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 3 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 4 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

fists
Exploring an Anti-Policing Theatre
Essay

Exploring an Anti-Policing Theatre

6 August 2020

While global protests have amplified calls for defunding the police, Chelsea Whitaker shares thoughts on how theatre needs to end its own policing of Blackness as well.

three people standing/sitting in a parking lot in front of cars with ribbons on sticks
A Time of Interrogation
Essay

A Time of Interrogation

27 July 2020

Teresa Coleman Wash reflects on how the current state of affairs has fueled an urgency to interrogate all systems of oppression and argues that it’s past time to stop holding Eurocentric theatres up as the pinnacle of success.

a group watching a presentation
Inequity by Design
Essay

Inequity by Design

13 July 2020

Elsa Hiltner discusses equity issues for designers in the theatre industry and offers tips for how artists can work together to change the system.