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Imaginary Theater

It has been a tough few weeks. My mind wanders and I worry about what to write. I’m not sure how to articulate how I feel.

I’ve been thinking about the future and what I care about and what I want to do. I’ve never wanted to start a company. I still don’t. I might have to. Maybe it is not a company, but a collective or group.

 

Here is what I imagine:

We own a space somewhere that allows for exploration, big ideas, and dynamic environmental work. Maybe it’s a barn in Illinois or somewhere like that. We don’t always make work there, but it is a place that we can go to make something. It is a place where we can go to get away. It’s an incubator of sorts.

We work with local business, patrons, and organizations to sustain ourselves. We create deep relationships.

The work is diverse, expansive, multicultural, epic, theatrical, and serves the community. We are always creating work to create community. We don’t just say this, but we live by this. We go above and beyond to engage community conversation within the art.

We tell stories about people we want to learn about. We tell stories about people who have been silenced. We cast consciously. We cast to create a diversity of thought and bodies in the room and on stage. We seek to create diversity in our audience. We research, ask questions and reach out to build more diversity. We never stop trying.

We continue to push the traditional boundaries of theater, telling stories utilizing puppets, music, and dance. We take risks. We try weird things. We celebrate failure.

We begin each process with a question. This question may be big or small but it is something we are wondering about. We don’t have to answer it. We ask the community for questions and start there.

We build our seasons around the questions that the community is asking. We use the individuals in our community to spark our imaginations. Often we literally ask, “what is a question you are asking, right now?”

We tour productions to other communities (especially communities where there is not a lot of theater). We have connections with other communities and create sustainable models where both the community and our collective are able to thrive.

Larger companies host us for runs of our shows.

The work is so exciting, that people actually come from all over to see it. If people come from out of town to see us – we find them and we do something nice for them.

We have family potlucks where everyone is invited.

***

This company is improbable, but this dreaming is exciting to me. I am often practical. It’s out of fear. I feel too afraid these days. I think I was afraid well before this election. I was afraid for myself. It is time that I am less practical and less afraid. I’ll dream instead.

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