JKB SpringFest


Festival Mission and Values 

We are producing three weeks of exciting, exploratory, and electrifying student-driven theatrical work that is adaptable to the current COVID-19 crisis and reflects the calls for racial justice currently happening on a national and local level. This festival is focused on opportunities for student learning, growth, creation, and experimentation. We aim to reexamine hierarchies in our theater community, including ones in the audition, casting, and proposal processes. We are prioritizing the health and safety of students and faculty above all else in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and are prepared to adapt to any and all changes to the CDC guidelines for the spring, including the possibility of having to move the whole festival online. We will be guided by the demands of BIPOC theatrical artists and creators as laid out in the We See You White American Theatre document as a resource for our commitments, which include but are not limited to: a commitment to culturally appropriate casting, the decentralizing of whiteness and the assimilation of white/Western aesthetic as a learning outcome, the consistent inclusion of BIPOC artists/creators/designers/writers/voices in our projects, and support for our BIPOC students, faculty and collaborators in rehearsal spaces. This festival is a grand opportunity for experimentation, newness, change and fun as we come together as artists, makers, dreamers, and creators to collaborate in ways we may have never thought of before.


Upcoming Dates

Speed dating collaboration events: October 23rd, 5-6pm and November 6th, 5-6pm
Proposals open at noon October 30th
Proposals due by noon on November 13th


Festival Structure and Recommended Guidelines 

The festival will run starting the weekend of Saturday, April 17th to the weekend of Saturday, May 1st. We are encouraging an abundance of projects and hope that our schedule of works will be bursting at the seams.

We encourage students to think about the following performance structures when proposing a project (while also hoping students will think big and reimagine what theater can be):

  • One acts (under 70 minutes)
  • Two handers
  • Fully scripted and staged student works
  • Devised pieces
  • Site specific and outdoor theater
  • Readings of new plays
  • Showings of monologues
  • Projects in collaboration with other departments and community organizations

Students will receive formalized mentorship from faculty in the form of independent studies and senior projects associated with projects in the festival. Opportunities for faculty mentorship will also be available through a student devised piece directed by Marie Glotzbach as part of the festival.

The festival will include self-reflexive processes for engagement and reflection. These may include community discussions, talkbacks with dramaturgs, interviews with community leaders, participatory activities for audiences, or other events of students’ own creation. These events will strive towards examining meaning-making in staged choices, reflecting on how this work makes meaning for us, in our moment, by articulating what we have learned and/or what our next steps might be.

As a way of responding to nationwide calls for racial justice, inclusion, diversity, and access, 70% of voices will be from historically marginalized demographics, including women, trans/nonbinary, BIPOC, queer, undocumented, differently abled, deaf, and other members of the global majority. In formulating a proposal, we encourage students to articulate specifically how their work will adhere to this element of the festival.

We would like to foster interdepartmental collaboration on a student level, inviting and facilitating opportunities for student-to-student communication to gauge interest in working on certain projects. We will encourage students when proposing a project for the festival to think about ways that they might be able to involve students from other departments in their work, and then we will facilitate the outreach to the students in those departments.


Proposals 

This spring, like previous semesters, all student theater productions will go through the process of filling out a proposal form, and submitting it to be reviewed by a faculty panel. These proposals will be submitted through a form that we are creating specifically for the spring festival format. We have opted to use Google forms, as it will allow us to collect all of the application data in one place, and to allow for a socially distant application process void of any physical form submission. This digital form also allows off campus students to propose projects remotely.

Students have expressed interest in the idea of proposing multiple projects for the festival, and while we understand the desire from the student body to create as many unique and challenging plays as possible, individual students will not be allowed to propose more than one proposal as a lead artist. This decision is being made in an effort to give as many students as possible the opportunity to write and direct, so as to avoid giving a select few a wider gamut of project types. However, students can be listed as collaborators on different projects under different roles. Our section on collaboration elaborates on how students can be involved with productions that they do not submit a proposal form for. Collaborators are selected for each project through a process that we cover in that section, and we are scheduling a separate date after the initial proposal process for finalizing technical or design collaborators.


Audition Process

  1. Two nights of auditions, anyone can sign up for any time. Every auditioner signs up for a 5-minute time slot. In those five minutes, they have the option to perform 2 of these 8 options plus an optional short joke:
    1. A 1-2 minute classical monologue
    2. A 1-2 minute contemporary monologue (required for seniors)
    3. 1-2 minutes of text that they wrote (monologue or otherwise)
    4. 1-2 minutes of a song, sung acapella, can be written by you or someone else
    5. 1-2 minutes of choreography, either choreographed by you or someone else
    6. A 1-2 minute stand-up set
    7. 1-2 minutes of spoken word poetry
    8. 1-2 minutes of improv (auditioner asks directors to give them a word)

*Callbacks are up to each director, as they have always have been.


Casting Process

In an effort to reexamine the hierarchy associated with casting in the department, all directors for all of the shows will cast from the same pool of actors at the same time. No project will have the hegemonic positioning of choosing first. As we seek to create a consensual process, actors get final say if they are called back for multiple projects. After the callback process, if more than one director finds themselves wanting the same actor, it becomes the actors choice. Directors or stage managers reach out to those who are desired for more than one project and those actors get 24 hours to respond with their choice.


Collaborations

We hope to assist and facilitate the connection between peers as artists within the festival. It is our goal to encourage students to work and collaborate with each other in a capacity that they hadn’t before. In addition to recognizing the need for opportunities for upper class designers and artistic creators, we will foster new connections between students and allow them to find collaborators whose skill sets they may not have been aware of, reaching beyond those students they know to have established roles within the department. Through this new style of outreach, students are given the opportunity to delve into new projects, promote their interests and collaborate with new people and have a structured way to go about this.

This will take place in the form of two events surrounding the proposal process. Taking inspiration from the concept of speed dating, we will host two events to bring collaborators together for a rapid fire connection opportunity for students to discuss their ideas and projects and hopefully identify students they would be interested in collaborating with on their project.

The first speed dating collaboration will take place on October 23rd from 5-6pm. Here, students will come together with a few preliminary ideas of projects they would like to work on or areas of theatrical interest they would like to explore. Students will meet in small breakout rooms over Zoom with their peers as collaborators to talk about projects and connect. The breakout rooms then shuffle and students get the chance to talk to a different potential collaborator. This continues until all students have had the opportunity to talk to as many collaborators as they wish and get the ideas flowing. This is a chance to create ideas and teams, talk about ideas, meet people, see what other people are interested and excited about working on, and identify collaborators that share similar values and goals.

The second speed dating collaboration will take place on November 13th from 5-6pm over Zoom as the first one did. This will be a focused event where people will come in with a solidified idea for what type of artistic collaborator they will need for their project, with the ultimate goal of confirming who they wish to and are able to work with.


Who We Are 

The following people have been involved in planning the festival and will be responsible for reviewing and selecting proposals.

Face the Strange Class
Char Biggs ’21
Cassandra Clifford ’21
Amanda Hinge ’21
Isabelle Maher ’22
Jessie March ’21
Eliza Martin ’21
Liliana Mastroianni ’22
Joe Newman-Getzler ’21
Fabian Rodriguez ’22
Julian Tushabe ’22

Season Selection Committee
John Michael DiResta
Teisha Duncan
Marie Glotzbach
Cameron Jabs ’21
Lisa Jackson-Schebetta
Sue Kessler
Jessie March ’21
Garett Wilson

To contact us with questions, please email: JKBSpringFest@gmail.com


Resources and Inspiration

Below please find links to resources and theater companies that have inspired the creation and carrying out of this festival.

We See You White American Theatre

American Theatre Magazine: The Most With the Least

Teatro Vista

Free Street Theater

Big Dance Theater

Ripe Time

600 Highwaymen

Theatre of the Oppressed NYC


Land Acknowledgement 

In the Saratoga Springs region, we are living on the ancestral and unceded territories of the Haudenosaunee, Mohawk, Mohican, and Abenaki peoples.  We thank the elders of these tribes for their stewardship of these lands. We acknowledge that it is the violence and genocide of settler colonialism that has afforded us the privilege to occupy these lands.  We recognize that land acknowledgement is only a first, small step towards building ethical, reciprocal, and reparative relationships with the indigenous, Native, and First Nations peoples of this hemisphere.


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