When I arrived in Gloucester, I felt very much at home. Although I’m a native New Yorker, I have long called New England home and I was excited to find a new artistic port here at Gloucester Stage.
Unlike some people, I love change. Change can be frightening for most people (fear of the unknown), but not for me; I welcome it. Maybe that’s what I love most about theatre – it’s ability to adapt to change.
From the ‘little theatre’ movement of the 1930s to the ‘black box’ and ‘resident theatre’ movement of the 60s and 70s, theatre has adapted itself to changes in culture, politics, and taste. Today, theatre is experiencing another of those tectonic shifts as our ancient art form is confronted with competition from smart phones, video games, and IMAX experiences. And, successful theatres are changing – adapting in an effort to remain relevant in the lives of their audiences.
I’m really proud that we at Gloucester Stage are embracing change in an effort to grow our audience, expand our impact, and build upon the success of the past 35 years. The Welcome Project – our new audience engagement model – is not a PR spin on old notions, but an entirely new way of thinking about the power of live theatre and how it impacts each of us.
We begin this initiative by expanding our season, shedding our old image as just a summer theatre. We want to be part of your life throughout the year and scheduling more shows and events is just the beginning. Our NeverDark approach to programming brings us closer to our goal of never being dark (a theatre term for being closed).
Each of our mainstage plays will be complemented by free pay-what-you-wish experiences – from play readings to video screenings, to talkbacks with artists – all designed to draw you further into the play, to help make it more relevant to you and your life. Interactive lobby displays and expanded dramaturgy will enrich your theatre-going experience and make your night out even more fun.
I’m especially proud to be introducing a new Professional Apprenticeship Company, The Collaborative. In May 2015, Gloucester Stage will welcome eight recent college graduates who will join us for a year. These early-career theatre makers represent the future of our art. One of them, a Playwriting Apprentice, will work throughout the season on a new play which will have its world premiere on our stage in the fall of 2015.
We are even adding a new holiday show in addition to everyone’s favorite, Holiday Delights so that you and your family can begin new holiday traditions at Gloucester Stage.
The best part of all this is that I get to meet you – my new neighbor. Don’t be shy! If you’ve never been to Gloucester Stage (or any theatre), now is your chance to feel the power of a live theatrical performance. And, if you’re one of our regulars, I look forward to welcoming you back.
Join me in sharing the excitement of 2015 at Gloucester Stage.
See you at the theatre!
*GSC Blog posts are the select opinions of individual employees and may not necessarily reflect the views of Gloucester Stage as a whole.