Penumbra, Pangea, job opportunities and more!

by Levi Weinhagen • Nov. 5

News and notes |

Lights Up! (stupid blog intro, right?)

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Thought this announcement about Pangea World Theater's new initiative was worth including in full.

“Pangea World Theater Unveils New Directing Institute this December
Pangea to gather prominent national directors and create curricula for a first ever Directing Institute.

This winter, Pangea World Theater will launch the first phase of a National Directing & Ensemble Creation Institute designed to address lack of training and opportunities, particularly for directors of color and women directors. An initial gathering of notable directors from the field will be held December 1 through December 9, 2012 to develop curricula.

Directors from around the nation will convene for the first time to share lessons and experiences, generate conversations, and build a curriculum. These participants are also potential instructors for the Directing Institute’s public launch. Pangea World Theater Artistic Director Dipankar Mukherjee, Pangea World Theater Executive Director Meena Natarajan and Art 2 Action Artistic Director Andrea Assaf will lead the gathering in December.

The Institute will explore “future aesthetics” in performance. “In every community,” Mukherjee explains, “there is definitely a distinct aesthetic: common ideologies, codes.” As demographics studies show the United States becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, it becomes increasingly important for the future of performance aesthetics to include non-Western forms and influences.

Both historically and today, women and people of color are underrepresented onstage. The Directors Guild of America found that out of its 967 new members in the year 2009, “72.1 percent were Caucasian males, 16.3 percent were Caucasian females, 8.3 percent were minority males and 3.4 percent were minority females,” bringing women and non-white directors to a total of 29% of total membership. Since the Directors Guild includes film directors, it is difficult to know exactly how many women and people of color are currently stage directors. Pangea’s Directing Institute will serve as a resource and a space for women and artists of color.

Pangea World Theater works with many different communities, and intentionally works with artists from different disciplines and different aesthetics together in the same room. With the Directing Institute, Pangea will take this a step further by inviting artists from a variety of backgrounds and facilitating exploration, conversation and practice that challenges accepted standards about what is mainstream and marginalized.

“There are multiple realities, multiple ways of directing in Pangea because we have had so many cross-connections between genres. There are different ways to access a script, different avenues of imagination. Sometimes they’re contextualized in culture, politics of experience, politics of race, and so forth. There is no one lens; there are multiple lenses,” says Mukherjee.

This December the institute will enter its first phase. Pangea will gather prominent directors, each with their own notion of alternative aesthetics to discuss lessons and teaching methodology. Mukherjee says the process will “give new directors sustained training to push the boundaries of content and form.”

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Longtime actor and dialect coach Joseph Papke is offering a series of speech and accent workshops. Whether you want to deepen some general speech tools or work on a few useful specifics, Papke has expertise to share. And there’s a reduced fee if you sign up for all four workshop sessions.

Speech Skills for the Stage Part 1 and 2
Accent Training for Actors: RP/Estuary
Accent Training for Actors: Classical Southern U.S.

For more info or details on how to register for any or all of these workshops click here

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Springboard for the Arts is seeking proposals from individuals or groups that can deliver one or more 3-5 minute videos, from script to final edit.

Springboard for the Arts (springboardforthearts.org) is seeking the help of writers, performers and artists of all kinds to produce short instructional videos. We are piloting a program to create compelling instructional video based on content that would otherwise be delivered via traditional, instructor-led workshops.

Proposals should be submitted by NOV 9 via this online form: Click for more info

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Minnesota Original recently aired a segment about Mixed Blood Theatre founder Jack Reuler that is well worth the eight minutes it takes to watch.

If you make or consume theater in Minnesota you probably have a familiarity with both Mixed Blood and Jack Reuler and you’ve probably been impressed or moved by something he’s had a part in bringing to the stage. The MN Original segment does a nice job of distilling the strength and impact a leader like Reuler brings to Minnesota’s performing arts community. And it also captures how compelling Reuler can be when talking about his work or his life.

Check it out – MN Original – Jack Reuler

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This weekend the Star Tribune’s Rohan Preston published a commentary laying out what Penumbra can and should do in order to survive. He also lays out why he thinks it's so important for Minnesota and for theater on a wider scale that Penumbra survive and continue making work.

You can read Rohan Preston’s commentary by clicking here

What I’m still really struggling to understand is how an organization like Penumbra that is described as demonstrably important and valuable by pretty much anyone I ask can be at the point of essentially collapsing in on itself. From my very superficial vantage point it looks like deep problems of administrative and business mismanagement. Which makes me ask, where do theater organizations look for guidance on how to manage the business side of things?

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Hope you have a week full of questions that just raise more questions

-Levi