After a brief holiday lull, NWTheatre is back in action.
But, like the rest of the arts world, that return to live action might be an unpredictable and halting one. Already, I’m aware of at least four January runs postponed for pandemic-related reasons, and that number might climb. Imagine how disappointing that must be for theatre-makers who have already spent more than a year in unpredictability, resolve, hope, and now … more uncertainty.
With that in mind, please double-check show dates, be ready to be a bit flexible if needed, and make a point to support your favorite arts organizations in whatever ways you feel comfortable: by attending in person, by streaming productions online, or by ensuring your donations of money and/or time reflect the value you place on the arts in your life.
Here are three ways this tiny operation is supporting those ends immediately. in ways we hope you’ll find helpful:
1. Offering the most comprehensive Performance Calendar (view it here) we know of for local theatre and dance performances, at no charge to companies or viewers; and committing to keeping it as up-to-date as possible amongst all the pandemic changes.*
2. Maintaining a robust list of local theatre companies and their 2022 productions, with links to learn more, whether they’re producing at the moment or not.
3. Continuing to dream bigger, with an eye toward usefulness, quality, and longevity. Local arts coverage has waned significantly over recent years, but strong coverage remains — from the great young voices reviewing arts on the TeenTix Blog (you can start here to see what I mean), to in-depth coverage of meaningful changes (such as news of director and arts leader Jay Woods’s transition to leadership at The 5th Avenue Theatre). NWTheatre will seek out ways both to highlight the coverage already being written and to identify some places to fill gaps.
* Incidentally, this was where NWTheatre originated. Before it was a slick website (thanks to the knowledgeable, creative, and ever-patient Catherine Blake Smith), it was a calendar I cobbled together and paid an annual fee to host on a site called Localendar. The idea then was to provide a one-stop-shopping calendar of local theatre and dance performances — because as a viewer, I knew with frustration that was something that didn’t exist — and to call particular attention to voices and stories that have been underrepresented on stage. That’s the same mission now, but with bigger dreams for what that can look like.
Looking Back & Forward
Way back in March 2020, NWTheatre was prepared to celebrate its one-year anniversary with a formal launch and some growth to match. As someone who works in healthcare administration during the day, I had a little bit of a hunch that might not be the best timing to hit the gas. But none of us could have predicted that we’d be facing similar uncertainty two years later.
Looking back, if this time has shown us anything about arts organizations, it’s their resilience — as well as how much room there was to do better (for their artists, for their communities) and be better (in their structure, in their mission and values). Virtually every organization I’m familiar with has taken time during this pause to examine itself. I hope that continues to bear fruit in organizations going out of their way to welcome people in, to treat artists equitably, and to ensure that all the stories worth telling are told, both in their boardrooms and on their stages.
The year 2020 may have been a moment, but to precipitate real change it needs to remain a movement. Every little bit helps. If you have a concern, raise it. If you see an injustice, call it out. If you hear a proposal to make the field safer and more sustainable for the artists, support it. If you have an idea for a step an organization can take to be a more welcoming place for people reluctant or unable to come grab a seat, suggest it. Stagnation is one thing the arts don’t thrive upon.
Here’s to a bold and enriching 2022!
– Chase D. Anderson
Founding Editor, NWTheatre