In Celebration of World Theatre Day

World Theatre Day is March 27th. Did you know that theatres often collaborate with libraries? They have performances over the summer, and many theatres in the Houston area strive to make theatre accessible to all (hey, kinda like our mission to enrich lives and strengthen communities!). 

In honor of the day, I asked some local theatre artistic directors, Dr. Dabrina Sandifer of Esurient Arts, and Stacy Bakri of Live Oak Playhouse, some questions about how libraries have helped them with their theatre careers and how libraries and theatres can work together in the future.

Has the library ever assisted you with a production you were working on? During college? Or maybe while preparing for an audition?

Dabrina: Yes, actually. In college, the architecture library at my college was very helpful. For my costuming history class, we had assignments that were required to be printed as well as submitted with specific sizing. This particular library was on the only place on campus where this, image zooming requirements, etc. were possible.

I’ve also been able to use library meeting spaces for rehearsals, meetings, and auditions for productions by or involving non-profit organizations including non-profit theatre companies. Also, many years ago while preparing to audition for the High School for the Performing Arts, I went to the library to search through monologue books as well as plays for my audition pieces. I got accepted into the school using pieces found in the library. Perusing through selections is also how I was introduced to the works of Suzan-Lori Parks, specifically Topdog/Underdog. She is still one of the top playwrights that I admire and the play is still one of my favorites.

Stacy: Libraries have always been and are invaluable resources and partners when it comes to theatrical production.   This can be especially true for someone who may have limited financial resources or for someone who does not need to add additional ephemera to an otherwise cluttered house or apartment.  When I was an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin, back in the stone age and the days before the internet, the UGL and Perry Castaneda libraries on campus were essential for conducting the business of being a student.  As a fine arts major who spent considerable time as a performance artist, researching other performance artists and their work was a necessary tool to hone my own skills and writing my own performance material.  Biographies of those who had come before me whose work I loved and admired were accessible through the libraries collections. Since I was not in a traditional drama class and was not receiving formal instruction, books on acting, such as “Respect for Acting” by Uta Hagan, were must reads for me.  I still to this day peruse the library for books on performance, acting, directing, stage management, set decorating, and then make the choice to purchase a copy from a retailer.

After I graduated, libraries were my go-to place to see if a particular script was available for perusal for an audition.  Being able to check out sheet music for a musical audition as opposed driving out the way to a sheet music store to purchase the same item was very handy on many an occasion.  If a recording of the same music was available at the library, even better!

How do you think libraries could work with theatres in the future?

Dabrina: Plays are literary works and the possibilities vary. As a lifelong lover of books & libraries as well as a former educator with a niche in arts & academic integration, the possibilities are exciting. This includes workshops, reading, performances, and more. I’d like to continue that conversation and collaborate in bringing this to fruition.

Stacy: I recently launched a new theater company, The Live Oak Playhouse, located in Fort Bend County, our very first production project is in conjunction with the local library system: an interactive morning called “Walking in Verse” celebrating National Poetry Month with actors portraying poets from past and present with whom patrons could converse, ask questions about their work, and then sit and listen to some recitation of their verse.  What a wonderful way for all of these resources to be put to fantastic use.

Did you know that there are also live theatre performances happening at the library? Keep these events on your radar for the summer!

Books Alive!

Houston Grand Opera: Westward Ho, Carlotta!

Houston Grand Opera - Opera Cat!

Here are the books mentioned by Dr. Sandifer and Ms. Bakri, as well as other recommendations:



Rooms With A View

Applied Theatre