Dear friend of Sandglass Theater,
The close of 2018 finds us excited by new possibilities. Our theater is at the center of a growing international movement to reimagine theater — finding new ways of creating, collaborating, and bringing theater to broader communities. As Eric Bass puts it, “Sandglass is questioning assumptions about what theater is, how it’s made, and who it’s for.”
A new model for community involvement: In each town
where our production of Babylon performs (2018: Burlington VT, Portland ME, Brattleboro; 2019: Philadelphia, Boston, Lewiston ME), we partner with a grassroots community organization to hold workshops on the themes of immigration and refugees, bringing newcomers and long-term residents together as well as bringing them to the theater. Jana and Shoshana’s West Coast tour of Punschi also developed this model, with free shows and community partnerships. We strongly believe in such efforts to subvert the stereotyped idea that theater audiences do not include minorities, immigrants, the underprivileged, and youth.
The story is similar at home in Vermont. This year, in collaboration with the Southern Vermont Dance Festival, Sandglass brought renowned dancer/storyteller Amirah Sackett to Windham County with her explosive performance We’re Muslim, Don’t Panic, and Amirah’s presentations at area schools provoked extensive discussions among students, teachers, and parents. The annual Winter Sunshine series expanded its reach into area schools, with tickets for students subsidized by community organizations, and a major venue, the Latchis Theater in Brattleboro, donated space. And our major festival for the year, Puppets in the Green Mountains, brought together ensembles from Taiwan, Montreal, Britain and Brooklyn.
Collaborative creation: Sandglass’ reimagining of theater includes collaborative projects with other companies. In 2019 Eric will join with the emeritus director of Knoxville, Tennessee’s Carpetbag Theatre to develop a new work on the theme of passing generations. Shoshana’s When I Put On Your Glove will have its Taiwanese debut — in Mandarin! — continuing an ongoing exchange that has already seen Eric perform in Taiwan and Taiwanese puppeteers perform in Puppets in the Green Mountains.
Reimagining Sandglass: Within our organization, Shoshana has stepped forward to join Eric as Co-Director, as Eric and Ines move towards relinquishing day-to-day managerial tasks. This year, Shoshana wrote several successful grant proposals as well as taking the helm for Puppets in the Green Mountains. In 2019 we will create a new position of Managing Director, and Shoshana will become Artistic Director. This new arrangement will help Sandglass move into the future organizationally, financially and artistically.
Sharing the cost: Ticket prices cover only a small part of Sandglass expenses. We continue to successfully fundraise through grants; in 2018, we received extremely competitive grants from both the National Theater Project and New England Foundation for the Arts, as well as the USDA and two generous family foundations. These grants help us tour Babylon as well as build capacity sustainably. Yet they only cover part of annual expenses. Another kind of sharing has to fill the gap: you, the members of our community who have helped in the past, or are thinking of helping anew.
Your tax-deductible gift to Sandglass Theater enables us to continue giving back to you and our community in this time of challenge and change. Our goal for this donation drive is $20,000, our largest goal ever (and still less than 10% of our annual budget). If you have given in the past, please consider increasing your gift to help us reach this goal.
THANK YOU! Your generosity makes our work possible.
Yours in puppetry and peace,
Eric and Shoshana Bass