As part of their monthly series of informational panels, Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) presents Dust off Your Dreams: The Long-Awaited Return of Our Favorite Festivals on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 via Zoom. The panel speakers will include Cate Cammarata, literary manager TRU Voices Reading Series; Gene Fisch, Jr., festival director New York New Works Theatre Festival; Dennis Corsi, artistic director of Fresh Fruit Festival; Glory Kadigan, founding artistic director of Planet Connections Festivity/Zoomfest; a rep from the Dream Up Festival at Theatre for the New City; and Van Dirk Fisher, artistic director of Strawberry One-Act Festival and Strawberry Theatre Festival. Reserve a spot on the TRU event page at truonline.org/events/dust-off-your-dreams, or by emailing TRUStaff1@gmail.com to be put on a list to receive the Zoom link.
The shutdown certainly changed the way we do things, and put a damper on one of our basic stepping stones for the development of new work: the festival. How did our favorite festivals weather the pandemic? Did they use this imposed time off for planning ahead or for reinventing themselves virtually? Do they have plans for coming back? And what did they learn in the last year that they might incorporate going forward? We'll also check in on who's open for submissions, and whether their mission and guidelines have been affected by the ongoing shocks of political and social upheaval in our country.
Doors open at 5:00pm for networking and roundtable introductions of everyone in the room – come prepared with your best 20-second summary of who you are, and what you need. Panel will start at 5:30pm. Free for TRU members, $15 for non-members. Please use the bright red reservation box on the web page, or email or phone at least a day in advance (preferably sooner): e-mail TRUStaff1@gmail.com or phone 833-506-5550.
"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were forced to rethink all TRU programs for Zoom presentation. Turns out that what seemed at first to be a drastic inconvenience has paid off with surprising benefits," said Bob Ost, executive director of TRU. "We now have extended our reach well beyond the New York area, throughout the US and as far away as England, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia. This panel focuses on festivals in the New York area, but sheds light on what theater has been going through everywhere. Which companies survived, thrived and are coming back? Which companies have moved to virtual? Each one has a story to tell."
About the Panelists
Dennis Corsi is the Artistic Director of the Fresh Fruit Festival, and Director of New Works at Live & In Color, a theatre company developing new plays and musicals celebrating diversity. He is the Creative Director of Script Match, a web app connecting playwrights and producers. Dennis is the video director at B • OUT, an LGBTQ media company, where he is directing the new television series In Pursuit. Dennis is a dramaturg for NYMF and is on their selection committee for new musicals. Select theatrical directing credits: The Commedia Cinderella (Theatre Row - winner of Off Broadway Alliance Award), The Phillie Trilogy (Fresh Fruit Festival - winner Outstanding Production 2018), The Fierce Urgency of Now (Fresh Fruit Festival - winner Outstanding Production 2017), Nell Dash (Winterfest - winner Best Director), The Turing Test (Gallery Players), Siren's Den (Gene Frankel), Junie B. Jones (Theatreworks USA), Dust and Ash (Samuel French OOB), and bare (Michigan State University). @corsidennis | http://www.denniscorsi.com,
Cate Cammarata (TRU literary manager) is a producer, director, dramaturg and writer in NYC and is the Associate Artistic Director for Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Theater Collective. Cate has produced The Assignment off-Broadway and My Father's Daughter with Ursula Rucker at La Mama for Rhymes Over Beats. Regionally she produced My Life Is a Musical at Bay Street Theater and has directed many readings of new work in NYC. She is the Literary Manager for Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) and is the Director of Creative Development for MusicalWriters.com. Cate holds a BFA in Acting/Directing from Syracuse University and an MFA in Dramaturgy at SUNY Stony Brook, and teaches Theatre Arts at Baruch College. Her latest book, "Contemporary Monologues for a New Theater," was listed as one of the Top Ten Books for theatre lovers by BroadwayDirect in 2018. catecammarata.com, createtheater.com.
Van Dirk Fisher is the Founder & Artistic Director of the Riant Theatre/Black Experimental Theatre, a non-profit 501(3)(c) organization, of which he is the CEO. He is the producer of the Jocunda Music, Film & Theatre Festival and the acclaimed Strawberry One-Act Festival, which the NY Daily News said, "It's like the American Idol for Playwrights." Since 1995, Mr. Fisher has produced over 1,500 one-act plays in The Strawberry One-Act Festival. This biannual theatre competition celebrated its 33rd season in February 2020. Under Fisher's direction, he has published eight anthologies of The Best Plays from the Strawberry One-Act Festival. As an actor, Fisher has appeared in several plays, commercials and voiceovers. He has directed and written several musicals including: Rock-A My Soul, No Name In The Street – The Biblical Story of Job, Somebody's Calling My Name, Sweet Blessings, Tracks, Loving That Man Of Mine, Revelations and Dream Babies, The Musical about Teens Living in Foster Care. His dramas, which are inspired by real life news stories, include: A Sin Between Friends, The Banjo Lesson, Mixed Blessings, Hotel Paradise and The Atlanta Affair. His play Code of Silence been compared to works by John Grisham and was pitched as a television series. His novel, Loving You, is sold on Amazon.com. For his accomplishments with the Riant Theatre, he earned the prestigious 2009 AUDELCO Special Achievement Award.
Gene Fisch Jr. has been a passionate fan of the arts his entire life. Though only as a hobby these past ten years, he has either produced, directed, or invested in 100+ shows during that span, most all at the Off Broadway and Broadway levels. Philanthropy being his primary focus, he was the lead producer for Carnegie Hall performance / Album that donated the proceeds to establish music programs in NYC schools. He has two television pilots in his repertoire, one of which was his directorial debut that was funded for four episodes by a group who worked for ABC. Fisch is particularly fond of his work directing the Off Broadway parody of the television show, "Dexter". Subsequent to being part of the Broadway producing team for High starring Kathleen Turner, Gene founded The New York New Works Theatre Festival, helping over 1,000 artists by giving them a shot on a top tier stage (historically the Duke and Acorn Theaters). Three shows from NYNW's stages are on their way to Broadway and one ("12 Angry Voices" produced by his mentor and panelist, Lauren Class Schneider) is generating traction for its national tour. Submissions are free and NYNW outlays most all of the upfront costs with the hopes that the NYNW stage is only the first step of the project's journey (Numerous shows have moved forward). Every submission is reviewed by at least one Broadway producer. Gene has led a wonderfully diverse career outside of the arts and currently teaches Engineering Technogenesis at the Stevens Institute of Technology. "The bottom line is that theatre is awesome and if there is a way that we can help someone take their art to the next level while having a ton of fun, we're all in!" nynwtheatrefestival.com.
Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) is the leading network for developing theater professionals, a twenty-seven-year-old 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to help producers produce, emerging theater companies to emerge healthily and all theater professionals to understand and navigate the business of the arts. Membership includes self-producing artists as well as career producers and theater companies. TRU publishes an email community newsletter of services, goods and productions; presents monthly panels as well as the new weekly Community Gatherings; offers a Producer Development & Mentorship Program taught by prominent producers and general managers in New York theater, and also presents Producer Boot Camp workshops to help aspirants develop business skills. TRU serves writers through the TRU Voices Play Reading Series, Writer-Producer Speed Date, a Practical Playwriting Workshop, How to Write a Musical That Works and a Director-Writer Communications Lab. Programs of Theater Resources Unlimited are supported in part by the Montage Foundation and the Leibowitz Greenway Foundation. For more information about TRU membership and programs, visit http://www.truonline.org.