At a time when many theatres are retrenching because of financial difficulties, Arena Stage is bucking that trend and is actually expanding under the guidance of Artistic Director, Molly Smith. Smith, who has led the theatre for over a decade, has seen the theatre through a $135 million expansion.
The theatre just opened a new space called the cradle and it is is a place to "nurture and stage newly birthed American plays." As the NY Times reported yesterday, the theatre is rebranding itself as a place tha tis attempting to nurture the future of the American play. The beauty of the piece in the Times is that Ms. Smith clearly values women's voices as many of the playwrights mentioned in the piece were women including Melanie Joseph, Claudia Rankine, Katori Hall and Karen Zacarías. They have also rented a house for playwrights in residency and are giving them salaries and health insurance. Another piece of the endeavor is the creation of the New Play Map where theatre across the country can log in their new plays so that everyone working in this area can have access to what is happening. So smart.
Leaving The Light On For Playwrights (NY Times)