Written by Marianne DiMascio and Angie Albeck, Fall 2011 Recipients of the Vermont Artists’ Space Grant.
If you are an artist with an idea for a new project, there’s an important opportunity that you should know about, and the applications are now accepted on a rolling basis and reviewed upon receipt. Twice a year, the Flynn Center Center for the Performing Arts awards a Vermont Artists’ Space Grant. In 2011, we applied for this grant to support our sketch writing project, now called Stealing from Work. It would be difficult to overstate the importance of the grant in the progression of our work. In case you have considered applying for the grant, but have not yet done so, let us tell you what it gave us.
1. Space. Yes, space is right in the title of the grant, and it is oh-so-important for a performing artist. Renting rehearsal space can be expensive and difficult, and performance space is even harder to come by. The grant gave us space to bring together actors, improvise, play, and collaborate. Our work in progress was presented in the FlynnSpace, where some of the best theatre in Vermont can be seen.
2. Deadlines. Though we have been committed to our work together since the beginning, without a deadline our writing could have remained in “draft” format indefinitely. Having a date set to present our work in progress helped us make important choices and focus on the work to be done.
3. Publicity. Our work-in-progress performance was advertised on the Flynn website, on the blog, and in FlynnTix mailings. We just provided some photos and a blurb.
4. An audience. Really, isn’t this the most important part? We got to put our work in front of a packed house of our supporters. We handed out feedback forms to gather people’s opinions of each sketch and to solicit suggestions for the development of the work. This information was invaluable to us as we went back to the rewrites, just one week after the performance. Some of our favorite theater people were there, and they were able to get a good sense of our work and had seen brilliant actors bring the work to life. When we approached them about joining us in the work, they had more than a vague description of what we were up to and were therefore willing to join in on the fun.
5. Momentum. We knew immediately that we would want to continue writing and eventually develop the work into a full production. We set a target date and started acquiring a team (including a couple of our aforementioned favorite theater people—Robin Fawcett as director and Jess Wilson as Stage Manager). We’ve revised the script—adding some sketches and removing some others, and it is a ton of work. In spite of the demands, because of the feedback we received and the willingness of others to join the party, we successfully staged Stealing from Work this past fall from October 17 to 20 at the Off Center for the Dramatic Arts. To learn more about our sketch comedy, check us out at www.facebook/StealingFromWork
Without the Vermont Artists’ Space Grant, we’d still be writing, but our work would be in a very different place in its development. The deadline is now rolling, apply today and hear where you stand in as few as two months. We encourage you to apply.
Learn more about the grant at www.flynncenter.org/press-room/spacegrant.html