I hope this note finds you happy and healthy and in good spirits.
As we begin planning the Seventh Annual Afterglow Festival in Provincetown for September 11-17, we are pulling up our bootstraps (and out all stops), rolling up our sleeves (and with the punches), to insure that Afterglow remains a critical and popular success in making strides for our artists and our community and our cultural heritage in the creation of new forms in theater and live performance. We continue to preserve Provincetown’s cultural heritage as the birthplace of the modern American stage and as an incubator for progressive live theater and performance even in the face of new challenges many of which fall under the heading of: gentrification. But as the great Uta Hagen once said: “The harder the obstacles the stronger your actions must become!
With top Broadway entertainment mainly treading the boards of the two main performance venues in town, gone are the days when a performer with a ukulele and a poetic mind could just show up to experiment on a stage in season. But the Afterglow Festival continues to provide a sacred theatrical space, as summer’s end, championing as-yet unknown artists along with the emerging, though nonetheless celebrated, or otherwise established, artists—solo playwrights, alternative comedians, dancer/choreographers, neo-cabaret or performance or other such artists—many being Grammy, Tony, Obie even Oscar winners, social arbiters and activists who make headlines around the globe.
This year’s Afterglow Festival proudly presents great performing artists like Our Lady J, Mary Birdsong, Martha Graham Cracker, Lady Rizo, Joseph Keckler, Phoebe Legere, Dynasty Handbag, Dane Terry and a full roster of other talented performers; and the breadth of our work to-date shall comprise a forthcoming feature in the Boston Globe and garner other such influential press attention.
After years at the Crown & Anchor, for which we are grateful, we shall move this year to the Art House in the center of Provincetown. It’s a wonderful dual-theater venue with fabulous lighting and sound. And during festival week, the entire venue will solely be ours. Being that the venue doesn’t own the bar concession—folks still have access to drinks to take to their seats—our rent will be higher, but we shall still offer discount seats to students, seniors and subscribers; and, overall, the theater complex is ideal and we’re over the moon to be staging our artists there!
And there’s more good news to celebrate: The first two seasons of our “Glowberon” series with the American Repertory Theater’s second stage, Oberon, at Harvard University in Cambridge, have been an enormous success. And the A.R.T. has commissioned an expanded third season for next year. Besides bringing more attention to the Afterglow Festival in Provincetown, we have helped our artists reach new audiences in Boston/Cambridge, moving the works originally incubated in Provincetown to that great American Athens. We will present a mini Glow Festival there this summer as well with Justin Vivian Bond, Penny Arcade and others.
We continue to enjoy support, too, from Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater in New York which regularly stages works we’ve premiered at Afterglow. And we hope to expand this scope in the coming years as we seek out other creative venue-partners in other major cities to commission works created by artists in Provincetown as did playwrights Eugene O’Neill, Susan Glaspell, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee and performers like Eartha Kitt, Paul Lynde, Nina Simone, Lynne Carter, Lily Tomlin, Divine and many others.
To date, as an incubator for new plays and performance pieces, the Afterglow Festival has premiered and developed such work as sequel material to Hedwig and the Angry Inch by John Cameron Mitchell, James Lecesne’s Absolute Brightness, which moved Off-Broadway, Penny Arcade’s Longing Lasts Longer, which played St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, Stella Starsky’s Birth of the American Baroness which was performed Joe’s Pub and at Oberon/ART, Mike Albo’s The Junket, Justin Vivian Bond’s Mx. America (Mx. Bond’s Experiment in Terror), Tina Alexis Allen’s In The Name of the Father, directed by Lee Breuer (Mabou Mines), Debs Gatenby’s A Place Called Happiness; Fauxnique’s The F-Word, and Dane Terry’s Anytime Moe, which is being further developed by New York’s PS 122 as part of his receipt of the Ethel Eichelberger award.
Taylor Mac, John Cameron Mitchell, Bridget Everett, Justin Vivian Bond, Joey Arias, Our Lady J, John Early, Lady Rizo, Erin Markey, John Kelly, Penny Arcade, Fauxnique, Drew Droege, Cole Escola, Jay Brannan, Amber Martin, Dan Fishback, Martha Graham Cracker, Heather Litteer, Jill Pangallo, Dane Terry, Carol Lipnik, Rachelle Garniez and Michael Cavadias make up just a portion of the many artists the Afterglow Festival has presented since its inaugural season in 2011.
The festival’s advisory board includes Pulitzer-prize-winning author Michael Cunningham and poet Eileen Myles whose forthcoming memoir is entitled Afterglow inspired by (yes you guessed it) this very festival. Sponsors of the Afterglow Festival include author J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson, The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, The Tony Randall Theatrical Fund, and the Visitor Services Bureau of Provincetown. The Afterglow Festival is a fully fledged 501 c 3 charitable arts organization to which cash and in-kind contributions are tax deductible.
In this pivotal time, the Afterglow Festival needs the support of its sponsors, and we hope you will continue to help us preserve and activate Provincetown’s legacy as a driving force in progressive American theater and performance, and in our efforts to premier, develop and proliferate the works of talented, evolutionary stage artists of all ages from around the country and the world.