This weekend, Baltimore Theatre Project (‘BTP’) presents Myth and Infrastructure and Dreaming of Lucid Living by Miwa Matreyek, a live performance with projected animation. This innovative form of theater highlights BTP’s mission to provide the community with a diverse array of original and experimental theatre, music, and dance – to connect artists and audiences of Baltimore with a global community of performers. Anne Cantler Fulwiler, the group’s Producing Director, shares her perspective on the valuable projects of BTP.
What is the motivation and history behind your experimental theater?
Since 1971, Theatre Project has been dedicated to providing a supportive and professional environment for performing artists who are creating original productions or bold restagings of little-seen works. With an emphasis on experimental work, we have become a home for manylocally-based alternative artists and companies, and a touchstone for touring companies. The historic theatre (originally built in 1887 as a public lecture hall) provides artists and audiences alike with a comfortable and pleasing theater experience.
How did you get involved in the theatre and what is your role at BTP?
I serve as Producing Director, a title that encompasses roles including performance curator, chief fundraiser, and day to day management. Fascinated by many forms of theater at an early age, perhaps due to many hours in a pew observing my father, an Episcopal priest, I first attended a Theatre Project production in 1976 as a teenager. The new world of “alternative” was opened up, and I became particularly interested in artist and ensemble generated work, as well as any form of “hyphenated” theater – African-American work, Movement-theater, dance-theater, multi-media extravaganzas, GLBT-performance, etc.
How do you find your productions and what criteria do you generally ask them to fulfill?
We have a number of ongoing presenting partnerships that help shape every season, including regular collaborations with QuestFest, Peabody Chamber Opera, High Zero Festival, Iron Crow Theatre Company, The Generous Company, and a number local dance groups. We also accept proposals from companies, asking mostly that they explain why their work is suited for our space and audiences. The work needs to be new; perhaps it speaks to a particular viewpoint, provides a cultural insight, or is otherwise diverse in nature. We also look for special opportunities to partner with other presenters to showcase international work when financially feasible.
We were introduced to Miwa’s work by Tim McCarty of QuestFest, who had seen her perform in LA. We worked with the folks at QuestFest to shape a residency around the performances, so Miwa is conducting a master class at the Digital Media Center of Johns Hopkins University in addition to her four performances.
How does your space work for her show?
It should work beautifully! Tech load-in went well. During her time at Theatre Project, Miwa’s also using our facility as a studio as she works on the creation of her newest work. We love when artists are able to utilize our space in that way.
In terms of past productions, any favorites or standouts?
Last week’s Alonzo’s Lullaby by Nana Project was wonderful. Al Letson, a poet, playwright, and NPR host, has presented four stunning plays here in the last ten years. He’ll be back in May with a stage version of his radio show State of The Re:Union. VTDance, Peabody Chamber Opera, Daniel MacIvor, Sandglass Puppet Theater, and many others have presented stand-out productions.
You have one March 19th performance of Dustin Lance Black’s American Foundation for Equal Rights and Broadway Impact’s 8, with proceeds going to the America Federation for Equal Rights. After that, what is up next for BTP?
We have a lot of dance in the next few weeks, including our first collaboration with the Kennedy Center. We have a three-week run by Iron Crow Theatre Company of Daniel MacIvor’s The Soldier Dreams. Daniel is an award-winning Canadian playwright who’s not as well known in the US as he should be. He’s performed at Theatre Project three times in the past, so while he will not be in this production, he is wishing us well!
Information on our upcoming shows is available on our website, which is updated weekly.
Purchase tickets for Myth and Infrastructure and Dreaming of Lucid Living online.