You may be wondering why suddenly in January you start hearing about all sorts of small theater festivals around New York City. The reason these festivals exist is because of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference which takes place every January in New York City. The main purpose of the conference is to bring together presenters and artists, agents, and producers. The theater festivals were created to offer more showcase opportunities to put new work before presenters but the festivals are ticketed events and open to the public.
Under the Radar at The Public Theater is the 11 year-old granddaddy of
these January festivals but PS122's COIL is celebrating it's 10th year (Check out my interview with Artistic Director of PS122 Vallejo Gantner on Flavorpill where he gave me the scoop on this year's fest).
Certain festivals have a particular focus--Prototype is an opera-musical
theater festival--but many of the festivals are interdisciplinary and
host all sorts of live performance styles including traditional plays
and dance but also installation, durational, and new media work. Have a listen to what festival shows I'm most excited about on the
Although the APAP conference is primarily for the performing arts
industry professional focused on the business of "arts presenting"
there are some activities open to the public. Before the APAP conference
officially kicks off the public is welcome to attend pre-conference
events. The pre-conference offerings involved discussions of jazz, classical music, world music, dance, and family programming. I
went to one presentation on festivals where speakers ran arts, culture,
community, and music festivals in Ann Arbor, Asheville, NC, and San
Jose, CA and heard about how festivals are integrating local communities into their events. Another panel focused on how to use data collected on
patrons with presenters from New York including 92Y and Roundabout
Theater Company. It's no doubt inside baseball but if you're like me
and wish you understood why theaters do what they do it's a wonderful
place to get some professional business context. And in that instance
it was great to see how Roundabout was trying to reach more under-served
communities with their Access 10 program and how the data collected on the tickets sold has helped them focus their efforts on further outreach.
This year marks the first year APAP also offered live streaming of
various events that the public could tune into on HowlRound (RSVPs are necessary but just fill out a quick form). Speakers at
these live stream events include Ira Glass, Misty Copeland, and
GRAMMY-award winner singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo. HowlRound has archived the events that have already taken place so if you were not able to watch live there's still an opportunity to view them.
A young performers classical music performance on Monday January 12th at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall is free and open to the public as well.
The January arts calendar might be a bit quiet on the uptown Broadway
front, but because of APAP it's a great time to check out new works from all over the world which have come to town.