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For a Resilient US Theater, by UCLA researchers Barbara Fuchs and Rhonda Sharrah, is part of Pandemic Preparedness in the Live Performing Arts, a comparative transnational study on the resilience of theatre post-COVID funded by the British Academy. Between April 2023 and January 2024, a team of researchers from the United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, and Japan examined the lessons learned from the responses of the live performing arts sector and governments to COVID-19 in the G7 countries. The study’s aim is to support sector preparedness for future crises, whether caused by new pandemics, climate-related disasters, demographic changes, economic pressures or the impacts on the live performing arts of national and international politics.

The US report examines the lessons to be learned from the pandemic, while highlighting longer-term trends exacerbated by the COVID crisis. Its conclusions and recommendations speak to theatremakers and stakeholders across the theatre ecosystem, focusing on key issues of sector-wide strategizing, advocacy, and long-term thinking. 

A preview of the report is available here; the full report and recommendations will be posted after 1 April 2024. This research is supported by the British Academy’s Pandemic Preparedness: Lessons to Learn from COVID-19 across the G7 Award.

Panelists:

Barbara Fuchs is a theatre scholar and translator. She is a distinguished professor of Spanish and English at UCLA, where she also directs the Diversifying the Classics project. In 2013, in partnership with Playwrights’ Arena, she launched the Golden Tongues initiative, which adapts Hispanic classical theatre to contemporary Los Angeles. She also directs LA Escena, Los Angeles’ first festival of Hispanic classical theatre, founded in 2018. Her most recent books are Theater of Lockdown: Digital and Distanced Performance in a Time of Pandemic (Bloomsbury/Methuen 2021) and, with Robin Kello and Aina Soley, the forthcoming anthology Golden Tongues: Adapting Hispanic Classical Theater in Los Angeles (Bloomsbury/Methuen 2024).

Rhonda Sharrah is a PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in English at UCLA, with a research focus on translation and the transnational circulation of literature. She has also been part of Diversifying the Classics since 2018.

Greg Reiner joined the NEA as the director of Theatre and Musical Theater in September 2015. Reiner manages NEA grantmaking in Theatre and Musical Theatre and represents the agency to the field. Most recently, Reiner was executive director of Classic Stage Company in New York City, where he launched CSC’s Musical Theater Initiative, the organization’s largest fundraising campaign, and implemented new education programs such as a Teen Council and a Shakespeare scene and monologue competition. Prior to that, Reiner was founding executive director of Tectonic Theater Project in New York City, where he received a Tony nomination for Best Play as one of the producers of 33 Variations. At Tectonic, Reiner also designed and managed the simultaneous opening of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later in 150 theaters in all 50 states, Washington, DC, and eight countries, on the same night, with livestreaming and social media outreach. Reiner has also served as managing director at The Actors’ Gang in Culver City, California, and at the Shakespeare Festival/LA.

Corinna Schulenburg (she/her) is TCG’s director of communications and research. Highlights from her work with TCG include: the Budgeting for Uncertainty and Compounding Crises reports; designing COVID-19 responsive programming; co-hosting TCG’s Climate Action Monthly Meetings; project managing SHINSAI: Theaters for Japan; co-creating the At the Intersections arc for the TCG National Conference; facilitating with TCG’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Institute; launching two iterations of the TCG Circle online platform; and co-designing TCG’s Theatre for Activism series. She served as co-board president for the Network of Ensemble Theatres and is a Creative Partner of Flux Theatre Ensemble. Corinna’s recent work with Flux includes Metra: A Climate Revolution Play with Songs, which included a climate action partnership with Stop the Money Pipeline; and the Sharing Power podcast, which features organizations working with consensus and distributed leadership models. Corinna is a mother, playwright, poet, actor, organizer, and abolitionist.



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