A conversation between City Theatre’s Director of New Play Development Clare Drobot and Director of Education and Accessibility Kristen Link.
Sitting in City Theatre's administrative offices, with cubicles across from one and other, Clare and Kristen are frequently in conversation about ways to support the artistic community of Pittsburgh. On a recent snowy afternoon, they had the chance to chat about City’s latest educational offerings.
Kristen: It’s been a long term goal of mine to expand the educational offerings of City Theatre outside of a traditional academic setting.
Clare: We call our offices cubicle row and often when we receive inquiries or applications for teaching artists, interns, administrative positions or even play submissions or audition materials, we wish were able to offer in-depth feedback to applicants. While that’s not always feasible in an application process, it leads to conversations often including our colleague Artistic Producer Reginald L. Douglas (or as we say in the office Reg) about how we can share best practices for compiling submission materials. Through these discussions, we’ve noticed that there are few professional development opportunities outside of the classroom in town.
Kristen: All of us on staff, be it through internships, conferences, or other opportunities have all benefited from experiences gained working in the field.
Clare: It feels like part of City’s role in Pittsburgh is to be able to share our knowledge and experiences with the artistic community.
Kristen: Exactly! It’s beneficial to every arts organization in town to have a strong pool of arts administrators, teachers, actors, and playwrights.
Clare: So that was the inspiration behind City Studies—which is subtitled a studio for working artists—to offer affordable opportunities for growth.
Kristen: Really, the workshops are a chance to be able to explore your craft further with other professionals eager to expand their skillsets.
Clare: Hence the pilot program we’ve created. We’re testing out four initial offerings and the hope is to add additional courses in the spring including a directing seminar with Artistic Director Marc Masterson and a crash course in non-profit budgeting with Managing Director James McNeel.
Kristen: With any hope this will kick start the desire for expanded offerings that could span a semester or season.
Clare: We’re excited to hear from the community in terms of what they’re looking to learn. We’re working with one outside artist, actor Cotter Smith. We’d heard from multiple artists who had studied the little know Stanislavsky technique Active Analysis with Cotter how transformative that work had been and he was game to join us in this initial experiment.
Kristen: The staff at City cares deeply for the artistic community in Pittsburgh and we hope that through this endeavor we can support frequent collaborators and have the opportunity to forge new connections.
Clare: Right! If you have thoughts or questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Kristen or me. We’re always open to the conversation unless we’re watching cute dog and/or raccoon videos (not that that never happens during business hours).