I personally am remarkably intrigued to see this production but since I can't drive myself to it I will sadly most likely miss out
What a beautifully written article. Great writer!
I wholeheartedly agree with the position that there should be more structured, civic support for the thriving arts community in Durham. Imagine the growth for our community if there was stable, affordable, available space for this talented, creative group of resilient artists to thrive.
Common Ground Theatre was created with the mission of helping make that happen. For over a decade it succeeded. It was a space where companies, artists, directors, writers, musicians could share their talents, and hone their crafts. The work that was produced within those four walls was often great, sometimes brilliant.
Keeping the space affordable was always the mission. So it wasnt the most beautiful building, and it was run with a small staff. But we all knew it was the spark of magic that happens when the lights go down, the world that was created through the relationship between the players and the audience that mattered the most.
I was honored to play a small roll in the growth of the arts community here through Common Ground Theatre. It was an artistic home to me, and many others, for many years. This article was about the need for places like Common Ground. I agree. But separate from that agenda is a different story. A story of an amazing space filled with talent that thrived for 12 years. What this article didnt say, and what I wish it had said, was thank you. Thank you Rachel and Jeff for all your years of love and creativity. Thank you Devra and Shelby, for your hard work and caring for the community. Thank you to everyone who contributed to its success. Our community is better because of you.
Thank you to all the people who came to Common Ground to see our eclectic, experimental and ever changing theatre productions. Thank you to all the artists and producing companies who used Common Ground Theatre over and over again to create brilliant work. Thank you to the few but mighty individuals who gave financially to Common Ground over the years.
Common Ground was a Community Space and served us for over a decade. That's an amazing tenure in our fragile art world. As the Theatre Community rises out of the ashes to build a new and better Community Space (and it will happen), I beg you to question how you can make the next one last even longer. Can you purchase tickets to more events? Can you book the space more often? Can you give a little each year toward the operation costs or to create a paycheck for the administrator of the venue? So much responsibility seems to be put on the back of the administrators when ultimately the loyalty and passion of the Community is also imperative to sustain the venue.
I was so lucky to get to manage Common Ground for 9 years. It was a time of great creativity and joy in my life. I met amazing people and watched the independent theatre scene thrive. Thank you to everyone for making Common Ground Theatre the amazing success it was.
Oh, man. I felt at home when I was on Common Ground. I felt free to create however I chose. That is rare and will be missed by all that experienced this rarified space. Many thanks to my family "in the moment" Jeff, Rachel, Michelle, and Devra (and others too many to list) you all deserve a standing O that never ends.
The Triangle needs to do what Arlington VA did: http://www.arlingtonarts.org/cultural-affairs/arts-incubator.aspx
That said, I've worked in both venues and will sorely miss them.
In praise of the Common Ground: I think what Rachel and Michelle and Jeff and Devra and Shelby did was remarkable. They defined a need in our community and worked day and night to make it a reality. They provided a home for hundreds of artists and were home to some of the best companies we've seen in the Triangle in the last thirty years. More often then not they provided a stage for experimental work that grew new audiences year after year; new audiences that ALL of the theater's benefitted from. They took astronomical risks, all the while making it look easy. And it was always fun to go to the theater at Common Ground. That theater always created community in the most professional way possible. It breaks my heart to lose such an incredibly valuable venue. It was always Rachel, Michelle, Jeff, Devra and Shelby that made that magic. You never realize how important it was and how fragile it is until its gone.
Lost in the negativity of this story - and it is a sad tale - is how much area artists loved Common Ground. It was our artistic home. I always loved playing there. And so many area artists can be proud of the work they did there.
The venue might not have been much to look at, but it consistently drew a knowledgeable and gracious audience - just not a large one. I don't know how the independent local theater community will recover from this blow. I know that i will always remember Common Ground as one of my favorite venues to play ever.
Common Ground allowed me to produce, direct and grow as an artist. I am saddened by this news for CGT and the arts community.
Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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