TRU Community Gathering

Join us Fridays at 4:30pm for weekly virtual Community Gatherings, conversations about creativity and theater in the time of COVID-19, led by TRU executive director/founder Bob Ost. These gatherings are free for TRU members; we ask that non-members consider making a donation to TRU to help keep us running during these challenging times, or join as a member. You can view past conversations below, or visit our YouTube Channel.

To receive the Zoom link for each week's conversation, email TRUnltd@aol.com and use the word "Zoom" creatively in your subject line.


Friday 5/21 - How Virtual Contracts and Costs Have Evolved, and How That Will Impact Live Performance. In the room: R. Erin Craig of La Vie Productions LLC (Austen's Pride, Mr Rickey Calls A Meeting, Into The Wild, In The Heights, Irena's Vow, Velocity of Autumn, High Fidelity, Stalking the Bogeyman, Beatsville, Right Before I Go ) and Martin Platt, producer-general manager Pemberley Perry Productions, Perry Street Productions (The Woman in Black, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, Dames at Sea, The Last Ship starring Sting, Everybody's Talking about Jamie, In the Continuum, an oak tree), plus others tba. The latest look at the ever-evolving agreements for virtual production, and how COVID will effect the cost of returning to live theater. What will the transition look like, and can we generate a viable financial model for reopening?  
(CLICK HERE for 2020 Community Gatherings)
Friday 5/14 - How a Pandemic Created an Artistic Home for Writers. In the room: Cate Cammarata, Artistic Director of CreateTheater/The Experts Theater Company, and TRU members David Kurkowski (Madame Curie), Melissa Bell (Lady Capulet), Vynnie Meli (Orbital Debris) and Joel Krantz (Ocean in a Teacup). CreateTheater was already set up for development of scripts through readings and early production of work, but a pandemic pivot turned it into a theater company and artistic home for writers for the development of new work. Synergistic programs include writers groups, producing groups, readings every Thursday night within the community, and more public Monday Night reading when the work is ready for production. CLICK HERE to register and receive the link.
Friday, 5/7 - Monetizing Virtual Performance: How a Mentalist Has Amazed Us All. Producer Adam Rei Siegel and mentalistJason Suran explain how their hit virtual show Reconnected has sold out 400+ shows since summer 2020, adopted the work for corporate teams at Google, Facebook, Apple, Walmart and more, and attracted the support of celebrities. They will discuss the creation, business development, client retention as well as their plans for the upcoming stage adaptation. CLICK HERE to register and receive the link.
Friday 4/30 (date change) - The Mystery of the Successful Podcast ... Solved! In the room: writer Dorothy Marcic and producer Bill Franzblau of MANSlaughter, a podcast based on Marcic's true crime book about the murder of her uncle, which reached #1 podcast in the US, Canada, UK and Australia! A conversation about adapting a book for podcast, the technical skills needed to generate a professional and engaging product, as well as effective marketing and distribution. 

Friday 4/23 - The Regional Perspective, 4: Rethinking and Redefining As We Prepare for the Future. In the room: Gretchen Shugart, executive director, Carl Sylvestre, director of development and R.K. Greene board member of Theatre Forward, a nonprofit organization supporting a network of 19 prominent regional theaters in their efforts to build communities and make theatre accessible to all; with Kit Ingui, Managing Director and Betty Monz, Director of Philanthropic Engagement at Long Wharf Theatre; and Tom Parrish, managing director of Trinity Rep. What's happening generally at regional theaters now, and what we can expect in the future? Besides the challenges of COVID-19 there new challenges as they re-define their purpose and roles in their respective communities, and try to address social issues. 


Friday 4/16 - Still Swimming Up-Stream: New Advances in Virtual Musical Presentation.
In the room: Joe Barros, Artistic Director and Jen Sandler, Associate Artistic Director of New York Theatre Barn, return to update us on the evolution of their ongoing programming of incubating original musicals in real time and in front of live audiences, and their quest to making musical theatre development the most accessible that it’s ever been both for artists and audiences. We'll continue our previous conversation from last July, about virtual development and projects that converge at the intersection of theatre and film. 

Friday 4/9 - Advocacy, Opportunity and Inspiration During (and After) COVID. In the room: Aimee Todoroff, director, Managing Director of the League of Independent Theater and Chris Harcum, award-winning actor, producer, and playwright (and Director of a Bright Future for LIT). They are co-founders of Elephant Run District indie theater company. The power of advocacy and the founding and evolution of the League of Independent Theater, including initiatives to help theater venues, as well as theater artists, survive the shutdown. And the difference between Open Culture and NY Pop Ups, and their roles in bringing back live performance. 

Friday 4/2 - BroadwayRadio Has Been Listening to Us. What Has It Heard? In the room: host James Marino and co-hosts, theater reviewers Peter Filichia and Michael Portantiere, have been interviewing the theater community since 2009. On radio. The perfect socially distant medium. Has the audience increased during shutdown? What have people been saying? What has changed in the last year? And what are the predominant views of the future of post-pandemic theater? 

Friday 3/26 - A Conversation with David Armstrong (and the Podcast Pivot). In the room: David Armstrong, voice of the Broadway Nation podcasts about the roots of American musical theater; director (Scandalous on Broadway), writer, producer, lecturer, educator and choreographer. The journey from artistic director of the influential Fifth Avenue Theater in Seattle to podcaster, and how he single-handedly created a full year of 37 podcasts. We'll explore the technical challenges of creating a professional sounding podcast, as well as offer lots of thoughts about how outsiders helped shape the Broadway musical.

Friday 3/19 - Thinking in Zoom (3): Our TRUSpeak Writers Share What They Have Learned. In the room: playwrights Melissa Bell, Richard Castle, T Cat Ford, Melvina Douse Manuel, Michele Miller and Joe Nelms talking about the whole virtual process: how they came to submit, and why ... what their expectations were and what the reality turned out to be ... how well they navigated the learning curve and how the experience has changed them as a writer.

Friday 3/12 - How Literary Agents Are Navigating This Virtual New World. In the room: Beth Blickers of APA (Agency for the Performing Arts), Samara Harris of Samara Harris Literary Agency and Michael Moore of Michael Moore Agency. The effect of the shutdown on the role of literary agents: how contracts have changed, and the way of doing business in general has shifted. With a look at how the shutdown has affected the development of new works, and whether the role of an agent has shifted in any way. Are there still opportunities for new works to flourish, and how do agents play an active role? 

Friday 3/5 - Thinking in Zoom (2): Producers and Technologists. In the room: producers Maureen Condon, Jonathan Hogue, Stephanie Pope Lofgren and Claudia Zahn, and technologists Iben Cenholt of RuneFilms and Carley Santori. A conversation with producers and technicians of the TRUSpeak ... Hear Our Voices! benefit. A look at the newly defined relationships, and dynamics, in this new working environment, and the stumbling blocks and solutions along the way. 

Friday 2/26 -
Thinking in Zoom: How Directors Adapted to a New Medium. In the room: directors Cate Cammarata, Van Fisher, Jessica Garrou, Glynn Borders plus tech coordinator Iben Cenholt of RuneFilms. A conversation with four of the directors, and the tech coordinator of the TRUSpeak ... Hear Our Voices! benefit, and how they conceived, collaborated and created something new and exciting using the strengths of virtual presentation. 

Friday 2/19 - More Alternatives to Live Theater: Podcasts and Radio Drama. In the room: Claudia Catania of Playing on Air, a radio program and podcast, dedicated to sharing great short theater with the public. With short plays written by some of the country’s top playwrights. Plus initiatives to help educators across the country share the power of great theater. 

Friday 2/12 - Addressing Social Issues, and Making Art, from a Distance. In the room: Anne Hamburger of En Garde Arts, a company dedicated to Art and Artists programs that reflect a fundamental emphasis on equity, diversity and inclusion; and how that mission is fulfilled safely during the current shutdown. Including current EnGarde efforts to return to their site-specific roots, with plans for activating loading docks, storefront windows, front stoops and more and creating opportunities for countless artists and technicians.

Friday 2/5 - Partnerships, Industry Initiatives and Other Constructive Responses to the Shutdown - with Carla Hoke-Miller, founding director of the first Theater Industry Department within NYC  government. Outlining partnerships, responses to the shutdowns due to the Pandemic, and industry initiatives to address equity and inclusion upon recovery. Including the City Council's Open Culture bill to encourage performances in public spaces. 
Friday 1/29 -  The Limitations, Possibilities and Best Uses of Virtual Performance: A Conversation. In the room: Jane Dubin, producer (The Prom, Tony winning The Norman Conquests, An American in Paris, Peter and the Starcatcher; off-Broadway The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelky, 39 Steps) and board chair of Houses on the Moon Theatre Company; R.K. Greene, producer (Peter and the Starcatcher, The Lightning Thief tour, Farinelli and the King, A Time to Kill; upcoming Beau the musical); Jeremy Handleman, producer (Tony Award nominated for John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons and the revival of On the Town; plus the Off Broadway rock musical comedy Brooklyn Crush, formerly F#%king Up Everything). We continue exploring the frustrations of art during COVID, and how to make the best use of this time.  

Friday 1/22 -  The Dramatists Guild Digital Rights Agreement. In the room: Kristoffer Diaz of the Dramatists Guild’s New Media Committee, Ralph Sevush and Aisha DeCoteau of the Dramatists Guild’s Business Affairs Department to talk about navigating new media in the theater industry. In response to the pandemic, the DG created a New Media committee and promulgated articles and contracts to help their members weather this unprecedented time. Join us as we discuss this journey and why DG thinks that new media in theater is here to stay.

Friday 1/15 - Are We There Yet? The Current Status of New Media Agreements. In the room: entertainment attorney Lee Feldshon, producer/general manager Martin Platt and attorney/journalist Matt Windman. An update on the agreements now in place for AEA and SAG/Aftra, and best practices for new play development – what is clear, and what may still be in question? CLICK HERE to register and receive the ZOOM link. We ask that non-members make at least a $5 donation. Your support is appreciated.
Friday 1/8 - Adapting Works for Socially Distanced and/or Virtual Performance. In the room: writers Betsy Kelso and David Nehls of The Great American Trailer Park Musical. Starting wth the path from the TRU Voices Series to off-Broadway and icensing. Moving to the unique challenge of adjusting “live” material for these times, and the importance of staying open to whatever different theaters feel is right for their market. CLICK HERE to reserve and receive the ZOOM link. We ask that non-members make at least a $5 donation. Your support is appreciated.
CLICK HERE for 2020 Community Gatherings