(Polly Carl’s article appeared on HowlRound, Oct., 30; via Matt Trueman, Guardian Theatre blog: http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/theatreblog/2011/nov/03/wide-universal-theatre-change-world-maybe.)
Last spring I was asked to lead a panel that would foster a conversation between artists and institutions to address ways to bridge what has become an ongoing and growing divide between them. This all seemed pretty straightforward, and by no means some progressive or cutting-edge agenda. One minute before the panel was to begin, an arts administrator from a large regional theater approached me threatening to close down the conversation. I was so stunned that I could hardly figure out what he was saying, but it went something like, “You’re fueling a divide here and it’s insulting to arts administrators and I can’t sanction this conversation.” I felt bullied and shaken by this confrontation, but because we’re living in America under the rule of a democracy, I decided to go on with the panel conversation anyway.