Posts

What It Means to Be an All-Volunteer Community Theatre

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  Community theatre in action by Elizabeth Hunter, Artistic Director One of the defining policies of Theatre@First is that we are an all-volunteer community theatre.  No one gets paid to work with us.  Not our actors, not our production staff, not our crew, and most especially not the Artistic Director.   No one pays to work with us, either.  We do not have membership dues, or costume fees.  While we love it when our participants sell program ads, or fill our audiences with ticket-buying friends and family, there is no requirement or minimum.   This policy has some disadvantages, of course.  There are plenty of people who love theatre and make their living at it, which we respect and support.  And there are people who feel that all theatre work should be paid, or that they cannot afford to devote so much of their time to non-paying endeavors.  We miss out on working with those individuals.  We have no leverage, other than the pleasure we offer of creating theatre in community, for enc

All the World's a Stage

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  by Shelley MacAskill Theatre@First is starting a new program called All the World’s a Stage , a monthly discussion group for plays by BIPOC authors, both American and international. The goal is to broaden readers’ horizons beyond the largely white American- and European-centric theater we’ve seen and read our entire lives. We’ll discuss these works as book clubs often do—things we liked, things we didn’t, who our favorite/least favorite character was. We’ll hopefully also discuss the differences and parallels to our own cultural experiences, and what influences race, ethnicity, religion, and culture have in forming the characters and driving the plot in ways that we may not have expected. What led me to want to form this group? I’ve told this story many times before to friends: Several years ago, a listicle came across my Facebook feed discussing “10 essential plays everyone should read,” or something like that. Okay , I thought, I’m a theater nerd, I’ll bite. I forget the exact pl

Change Is Possible

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BLACK LIVES MATTER    Last month we issued a statement declaring our concern and support for the Black community and our commitment to antiracist change at Theatre@First . Since then we've begun to look at every aspect of how Theatre@First operates and how we need to change in order to build antiracist theatre here in Somerville. Now we're here to tell you about the antiracism actions that we are currently moving forward.           IMMEDIATE ANTIRACISM ACTIONS updating our website to highlight our concern for equity, diversity and inclusion facilitating EDI training for officers and Steering Committee members teaming up with leaders of other local theatres to find resources, support, and accountability for our actions adding regular accountability reports to our Steering Committee agenda adding BIPOC-centered shows to our monthly recommendations to members making the Theatre@First social media forums a space for antiracist theatre resource

Black Lives Matter

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This statement was issued by the leadership of Theatre@First on June 3rd and shared with our participants and supporters via email.  We continue to explore ways that we can dismantle barriers, create change, amplify the voices of BIPOC, and support the protests against racism and police violence as a theatre community.  BLACK LIVES MATTER The murder of George Floyd has been added to the list of too many Black lives that have been taken by police and other perpetrators of white violence. While live performance at Theatre@First is on hiatus, we are still here and we are grieving and raging at the specific injustices and systemic racism that yet again echo across our screens and through our streets.  We are particularly concerned at this time for the Black artists and other people of color within our community, who are especially impacted by the cruelty of recent events.  We see you, you are an important part of our community, and you are not alone.  Black, Brown, an

Changing Lanes at FirstWorks

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Changing Lanes Director Elizabeth Ross Way back at the beginning of the year I was incredibly pleased to be selected to direct a staged reading of Changing Lanes by Maggie Kearnan and Taylor Buehler, the 2020 selection for our FirstWorks program for new plays. When I first read Changing Lanes I knew it was a very special script and its themes of identity, reaching out for human connection, and the difficult necessity of changing plans in the face of tragedy would be profoundly affecting for our audience. Little did I know how much more resonant the work would become during this world crisis.  FirstWorks isn’t like other Theatre@First productions. We’re not just trying to put on the best show possible, the purpose of FirstWorks is to help our playwrights refine their play through the editing process and by receiving responses from our audience. We couldn’t let a beautiful play like Changing Lanes not be produced and it would be a disservice to our authors to not find so

COVID-19 Update - All Live Performances Cancelled

Theatre@First is sad to announce that all mainstage performances have been canceled for the remainder of the 2020 calendar year. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to make it unsafe to gather together in person, we will not let this stop us from bringing the joy of theatre to our community virtually. We will continue to celebrate the arts through a variety of online special projects and events. We encourage you to like our Facebook page and join our community group . Please watch our website for announcements and subscribe to our newsletter for monthly updates.

COVID-19 Update

Theatre@First is committed to playing our part to support the well-being of our community in these times of social distancing. Our leadership continues to monitor the coronavirus situation and make decisions based first and foremost on the health and safety of our actors and production staff. We're excited about what we have planned for 2020 and hope to be able to bring you, our audience, entertaining and thought-provoking live theatre in some form as the year rolls on, but we absolutely will not "reopen for business" until it is safe to do so. Just because we can't put on traditional shows in traditional spaces, that doesn't mean we're sitting on our heels! We've got plenty of ideas in the works for ways to keep the arts alive in Somerville and beyond. We're looking into ways to live-stream our performances. Our reading groups, which once might have met in someone's living room, are now happening over video conferencing. We're doing everyt