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New Year’s Highlights from the Commons

by California Digital News

The spring brings with it other NPRP residencies in Boston and a potential gathering of our Advisory Council. Through it all, our cultural strategist Vijay Mathew will be co-teaching a class at Emerson called the HowlRound Seminar with partner teacher Annie Levy. Now in its second year, the class introduces upperclassmen and graduate students to major conversations in the theatre field in United States and internationally, using the HowlRound anthology, Essays and Conversations From the First Ten Years, as a primary text.

Through it all, we’ll be looking for new ways to directly engage with our community—that’s you! Many of our team members are planning to attend the Theatre Communications Group (TCG) National Conference in June; if you’re there, say hi if you see us! We’re also excited about planning our own future in-person events and piloting new forms of connecting digitally. We’re working on making our social media accounts more active spaces of connection, so we encourage you to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter/X, Threads, and LinkedIn, and look for new types of content and opportunities to engage throughout 2024.

We’re also focused on deepening our connections with educators. In our 2023 annual user survey, we learned that over half of you identify this way (often among other things), and we’re eager to continue to provide useful resources and rich opportunities for this subset of the community. In November, three staff members attended the ASTR Conference, which gave us a chance to connect in person with past contributors and other attendees and livestream a fascinating playwrights panel. We look forward to attending similar events in the future! In light of how popular our first six free lessons plans have been, we will be published six new ones by curriculum writers emi aguilar and Meg Greene early in the new year! If you’re not already on our mailing list, sign up for daily, weekly, or quarterly updates to be the first to know when they’re available.

Surfacing and amplifying the knowledge of the global theatre community freely and openly—no paywalls, no tiered subscriptions—remains central to our mission and our work.

What’s on Your Mind?

Our name comes from the term for an amplified feedback loop—the howling noise that happens when sound from a loudspeaker is fed back into a microphone. (A horrible thing to actually experience, but an apt metaphor!) Amplifying field-facing conversations will always be at the core of what we do. How can we amplify the conversations you’re having or trying to have? Do you have an essay or livestream idea you’ve been sitting on? Please let us know; we would love to hear from you. HowlRound’s editorial team meets once a week to discuss all submissions, and we publish on a rolling basis. We fundraise in order to pay a $200 honorarium for each essay author we publish. 

Everything we do is possible because of the support we get from Emerson College, our funders, and individual donors. If you would like to be part of sustaining this free and open platform, you can make a fully tax-deductible gift here.

If anything in this essay sparked something for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Please note that our office is closing 22 December through 2 January so the team can get a well-deserved break, but we look forward to getting back to you early in the new year. 

From all of us here at your favorite international theatre commons, we wish you a year full of time with loved ones, meaningful artistic experiences, and progress toward a more just and equitable world for all.

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