Woolly Mammoth Cancels Festival of Radical New Theatre from Moscow in Wake of Political Tensions

by Jacob Coakley

The heightened tension between Russia and the U.S. has reached the theatre. The Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company has had to cancel their Russian artistic exchange program The Russians are Coming! A Festival of Radical New Theatre from Moscow because the instability in Russia and heightened tensions with the U.S. over the invasion on the Crimean Peninsula has led to a freezing of funds that was to pay for the event. The press release from Woolly Mammoth is heartbreaking with its quotes of how quickly planning and funding for the show changed, Center for International Theatre Development founder and director Philip Arnoult just returned saying “I’m seeing a cultural war being fought against the background of the larger Ukrainian stories. Our artistic partners, as well as organizers in the country, are both stunned and saddened at how quickly the cultural climate has changed.” Woolly Mammoth has not yet announced what program will take place instead of this event on its calendar.

Woolly Mammoth Hires Jocelyn Prince as Connectivity Director

by Jacob Coakley
Woolly Mammoth’s new position aims to try new ways of engaging and enlarging their audience.

 


Woolly Mammoth’s new position aims to try new ways of engaging and enlarging their audience.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., has hired Jocelyn Prince as their new “Connectivity Director.” It’s a new term for me—and perhaps for the industry. It sounds like a mix between social media expert and cruise director, thinking of more fun ways to keep your audience engaged. Woolly Mammoth describes it as a way to “create vital audiences through relationships in the greater Washington community and the cultivation of new audiences, as well as to enrich and enliven the theatergoing experience through unique experiences in the lobby, around the building, and throughout DC.” The position has been funded through a variety of sources—though mainly the Doris Duke Foundation—and Prince is kicking off her tenure around Woolly’s newest play, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play with such activities as a visual art show around the show’s themes, post-show discussions, and trivia contests throughout the D.C. area.

Woolly Mammoth Launches Free the Beast Fundraising Campaign to Support New Work

by Jacob Coakley
Woolly Mammoth will raise $4 million to support new play develeopment

 


Woolly Mammoth will raise $4 million to support new play develeopment

Woolly Mammoth is doing its best to make sure new plays don’t become extinct. They’ve just started the public portion of their fundraising campaign for “Free the Beast,” an initiative that will raise $4 million to develop 25 new plays from 2012-2022, all of which will receive a full production. The initiative will also support research into new commissioning models, play readings and workshops, larger cast size, more technical resources and extra rehearsals. Three plays supported by Free the Beast have been announced. They include: You for Me for You by Mia Chung, Stupid Fucking Bird by Aaron Posner, and Zombie: The American by Robert O’Hara.

Woolly Mammoth Launches Tweet Up Audience Building Project

by Jacob Coakley
Woolly Mammoth is inviting Twitter users into rehearsals to build buzz around their upcoming production of Jason Grote’s Civilization (all you can eat).

 


Woolly Mammoth is inviting Twitter users into rehearsals to build buzz around their upcoming production of Jason Grote’s Civilization (all you can eat).

Attention fast-thumbed and frequently-followed theatregoers: Woolly Mammoth is recruiting Twitter stars for their new “Tweet Up” program. Three winners will be invited to the first rehearsal, technical rehearsal, final dress rehearsal and the press night performance of Jason Grote’s Civilization (all you can eat). The winners will be able to tweet their thoughts about the rehearsals, and the final dress will include live-tweeting from the winners as well as Woolly staff. The idea is to open the rehearsal process to audience members—and not incidentally create online word of mouth before the show opens. Think you’ve got sufficient Twitter star power to get chosen? Better act fast—Woolly Mammoth is announcing a winner Friday, January 13. Hashtags to use and more details on how to enter after the jump.

Woolly Mammoth Opens Space to Technology

by Jacob Coakley
Woolly Mammoth and iStrategy Labs are partnering to promote technological innovation.
Woolly Mammoth and iStrategy Labs are partnering to promote technological innovation.

Well, this is new. Instead of calling for their own fundraising, Woolly Mammoth is opening their doors to help tech companies get funded. They’ve formed a partnership with iStrategyLabs to make a mini-R&D lab in the lobby of Woolly’s theatre. They’ve  given the project the truly terrible “high tech” name of “ideaXLR8R.” The space will be open to technologists, creatives and entrepreneurs Weds. through Fri. from 12 noon to 7 p.m. through April 15, but only on March 26 will investors come to meet and greet people involved. So, uh, releasing this info on Friday, March 25 not so helpful… In any event, full details below if you want to RSVP to the investment round, or simply attend the meet-ups.

Woolly Mammoth Promotes Miriam Weisfeld to Associate Artistic Director

by Jacob Coakley
Miriam Weisfeld is the new associate artistic director at Woolly Mammoth.

 


Miriam Weisfeld is the new associate artistic director at Woolly Mammoth.

Woolly Mammoth has promoted Miriam Weisfeld to associate artistic director. Weisfeld has been with Woolly Mammoth since 2008, starting as a dramaturg then as director of artistic development. In her new role as associate artistic director, Weisfeld will help manage the development and production process as Woolly Mammoth looks to reinvent the process of producing new works with their Free the Beast initiative, which aims to raise $4 million to support the production of 25 new plays over the next 10 years.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company Buys Building It Calls Home

by Jacob Coakley
The Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company moved into their Penn Quarter home in Washington, D.C. in 2005.

 


The Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company moved into their Penn Quarter home in Washington, D.C. in 2005.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company has negotiated a deal to purchase the building their theatre calls home. In 1998 Woolly Mammoth partnered with JPI Apartment Development LP to develop a city-block sized building that would contain apartments, retail outlets and a new 265-seat theatre space. They undertook a $9 million capital campaign, and in 2005 moved into their new space. Since then Woolly Mammoth has seen its patron count double, its budget more than double and has nearly doubled its staff size. With all of this their art continues to impress, as they’re earned 103 Helen Hayes Awards since 2005. In short: The new space has been good for them. And now they’ll own it.

Woolly Mammoth to Host Launch of Cyber Narrative Project

by Jacob Coakley
Though hosted by Woolly Mammoth, the Cyber Narrative Project is a partnership between the Black Women Playwrights’ Group and the Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center-Global

Though hosted by Woolly Mammoth, the Cyber Narrative Project is a partnership between the Black Women Playwrights’ Group and the Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center-Global

Woolly Mammoth is hosting the launch of a one-of-a-kind collaboration. The Cyber Narrative Project is a partnership between the Black Women Playwrights’ Group and the Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center-Global that will partner playwrights of color with tech students to create “cyber-narrative tools” to enchance live productions of plays. The first two projects to be showcased at the launch include a video game based around Kristoffer Diaz’s The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity and an interactive website based on By the Way, Meet Vera Stark by Lynn Nottage. The reception takes place Feb. 22.

Word for Word

by Stephen Peithman

Words are the playwright’s building blocks, but in the plays featured this month, the use of words expands to become the central focus.

Aditi Brennan Kapil’s Love Person is a love story told in three languages—English, Sanskrit and American Sign Language. This beautifully written and insightful work asks whether we can truly express love through language, and whether mere words can bridge the gap between two people.