December, 2020 Edition
DEI Survey Report and Next Steps: 2020
from the Diversity, Inclusion, Culture, and Equity, (DICE) Committee

Earlier this year The Illinois Theatre Association released a survey, as part of the (now named) Diversity, Inclusion, Culture, and Equity, (DICE) Committee, to gather information about this area, with approximately 10% of our membership responding. Thank you to those who were able to complete the survey. Please click "Read More" to see the summary and insights of the report, check out who our lucky survey drawing winner is, find out what the committee has been up to, and see what's up next for their work."
Helping the Entertainment Industry and Helping Ourselves
by Richard Arnold, ITA College Theatre Division Representative

The pandemic has hit our industry hard, but there are things we can do to help others as well as help ourselves.
Movie-Making Meaning: Professional Film and Television Practices in the Theatre Classroom
by Adam M. Blumberg of the EdTA
Submitted by Lucia Luckett-Kelly
ITA Creative Drama Division Representative

This first-hand account of a professional structure to a movie-making unit in a theatre classroom highlights the beautiful combination of experiential learning of both the creative and practical. As Blumberg guided his students for the first time through the process he shared, "I was more interested in process than product...I was struck by how much they operated like a professional writers' room. They debated dialogue and the logic of scenes. Every so often, they would stop working to shoot the breeze. Recognizing that professionals often do the same thing, as sort of a creativity reset, I let it go rather than redirecting them to work....when it came time to shoot, everyone clicked."
Leslie Odom Jr. Discusses Importance of Arts Education in Schools at AMF Honors Gala
by Eli Countryman from Variety
Submitted by Macy Marie Hernandez
ITA Theatre for Young Audiences Division Representative

The Arthur Miller Foundation virtually hosted its annual gala last month honoring those involved in arts education. Leslie Odom Jr. discusses how his arts education benefited his life.
Insights from "Fostering Inclusive Theatre"
by Kelli McLoud-Schingen from the American Association of Community Theatre
Submitted by Mary Jones
ITA Community Theatre Division Representative

Kelli McLoud-Schingen shares insights she found from leading an online workshop for fostering inclusive theatre for the AACT with participating theatres from across the country. Included are common thoughts and concerns of the theatres, important tips for success, and recommended next steps.
Devising Theatre to Make Our Theatre Matter
from the British Broadcasting Company (BBC)
Submitted by Nathaniel Haywood
ITA Secondary School Theatre Division Representative

With the social change and turmoil of this year, it is more important than ever for theatre to continue to be a powerful force for connectivity and change both in our larger communities and more specifically in our schools. Our young people are clamoring for change and are making their voices heard, and theatre as a living, changing art form must respond. In our schools, there is perhaps a no better or more powerful way to respond to this outcry than through devised theatre.

Devised theatre is a free-formed style in which all members of the creative group work collectively and collaboratively, to design a performance completely from scratch. In the high school setting, that means that students have the freedom and ability to create theatre that speaks to their personal experiences and what they find meaningful and timely for their lives. Whether in short form in a theatre class or fully realized as a devised production, devised theatre gives students a voice in a time where they need it and deserve it. For a theatre teacher new to devised theatre, this can be an intimidating and scary prospect. The following article is an easy-to-follow guide that walks teachers through the process of engaging students in this amazing opportunity.
Theatre Uses its Creativity to Defy Pandemic and Stage Shows
by Mark Kennedy of The AP/Washington Post
Submitted by Patrick Spreadbury
ITA Secondary School Theatre Division Representative
What is in a Name? A Lot, Actually
by Josh Loar of the USITT
Submitted by Steven House
ITA College Theatre Division Representative

As storytellers, the words and language we use are so important. We need to always reflect and consider the ways in which we communicate. While audio devices are often named with rational, descriptive terms, some legacy terms rely on metaphor (male, female, master, etc.) to identify their function. Much can be gained by making the day-to-day language we use more inclusive and less abrasive.
Sound Designer Josh Loar, the author of The Sound System Design Primer (Routledge, 2019), dives into his article from USITT’s Theatre Design and Technology Summer 2020.
Compensation for Musical Theatre Compositions Through a Compulsory Synchronization License
by Chris Johnson, ITA Professional Theatre Division Representative

On August 4, 2011, The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown opened at Norma Terris Theatre, a regional theatre in Connecticut. It was written by Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk based on a concept conceived by Lowdermilk and Zach Altman. The Norma Terris Theatre, which seats 235 audience members, is a stage dedicated to developing new works in an attempt to work out any problems the show may have before the mounting of a more ambitious production. The show closed on August 28, after approximately 30 performances. Samantha Brown will likely never see the inside of a Broadway theatre. Like so many other fledgling musicals, this regional theatre production may be the highest-profile production that Samantha Brown will ever mount.

Stories like this, though perhaps not widely publicized, are commonplace in the world of musical theatre. In at least one respect, however, Samantha Brown became an exception to this rule, thanks to a single song from its score. Two and a half years prior to Samantha Brown’s opening night, Kerrigan and Lowdermilk posted a video on YouTube of Aaron Tveit, a then up-and-coming Broadway performer, singing one of their songs. This video of Run Away With Me, a straightforward but powerful ballad from Samantha Brown, has since garnered over a million views on the user-generated content site and has inspired countless others to post their own renditions. Despite the fact that the staged production of the show at the Norma Terris Theatre was seen by less than 7,000 patrons, nearly 3,500 unique user-generated video covers of Run Away With Me have generated millions of views. Because the current musical theatre licensing framework provides no efficient marketplace for Kerrigan and Lowdermilk, there is no doubt that they were not properly compensated for the use of their work.
Audience Participation: Crowdfunding Large Scale Theatrical Productions Through Regulation A+
by Chris Johnson, ITA Professional Theatre Division Representative

Theatrical financing has been conducted in much the same way for the better part of a century. This method, however, has consistently provided only the shows with access to the deepest of pockets a path to Broadway. The advent of Internet-based crowdfunding provides producers access to a potential source of capital that was previously unavailable. Prior to the promulgation of the SEC regulations regarding Title IV of the JOBS Act, this capital could only be accessed through donation or reward-based financing campaigns, but with the introduction of Regulation A+, there is finally a practical method for the widespread solicitation of investors for theatrical productions. This comment explores the realities of theatrical financing as well as the associated regulations regarding the sale of these sorts of securities. Part I will describe the background of theatrical financing and the governing regulations and will highlight the restrictions faced by theatrical producers under the current framework. Part II will set forth the specifics of Regulation A+ and asserts that this framework for equity crowdfunding is particularly well suited to the unique aspects of theatrical financing. Part III will address potential shortcomings and objections to this assertion.
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