Monday, June 28, 2010

We are almost met...

Today Stephen Wagner, our program administrator, and I sat at my dining room table finishing up details about food and space and Costco trips and folders and logos.

And tonight, I have the privilege of beginning the reportage of our pilot season of the NYARTS Summer Theatre Conservatory Program in association with the artists of the Ensemble Studio Theatre.
A mouthful--we're working on it... but then, such is the effort of such an endeavor.

Two and a half years ago, I knew that it was time that the legacy of a great group of artists begin to formalize and filter itself to the next generation. I have been a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre since my first play was produced there in 1977 and it is the spirit of the place that has sustained and allowed me to continue to grow and evolve as a contributing artist and woman in the time I have been here on the planet.

Looking for a home and a partnership for my vision, I met with Dana Tarantino, Project Advisor for the STC, who encouraged and supported the birth and vision of our journey together. We are so lucky and delighted to have joined forces with the NYARTS program and are extremely grateful for the happy partnership borne of that first conversation with Dana. We value deeply the support of Linda Earle, Executive Director of NYARTS, Elane Denny Todd of OWU, Darrell Albon of OWU as well as from Paul Slee, Executive Director and Bob Jaffe, Board Member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre.
And the addition of my partner Rod Menzies, Program Producer and Stephen Wagner, Program Administrator, have completed our inaugural producing staff elegantly.

Our hope in offering this program is to begin to translate to a new community of artists and educators the values and skills of the creative life. The vicissitudes of being a "professional" artist in America can be daunting. We do not aspire to create artists solely for the purpose of working as actors, writers, directors in the professional theatre. Yes, it is part of our work as we, our launching staff and faculty, are indeed all professional and active artists working in our chosen professions-- but our goal is to offer the skills of the artist to everyone, to hone the creative response; thinking outside the box, and recognizing the importance of knowing how to access the most truthful response to a given situation. These skills create art and art is indeed the stuff of our lives. We each make choices that shape our life journeys, finding out to our surprise that it is the journey and not the destination that has created the content of our character.

So, we begin our work together. We are so pleased to be able to share, observe, distill, offer and grow with and for ourselves and the world in which we live.

This blog will document our journey together. We'll post pictures, observations and some work and we look forward to your responses and comments as we move through our inaugural program together.

Susan Merson, Program Director