Here are a few goals of The Open Source Theatre Project:

  • Exploring how to make theatre sustaining in all senses of the word
  • Making theatre more environmentally friendly
  • Bringing together the theatre arts community to eliminate competition and encourage collaboration and exchange of ideas
  • Creating a place to support the wildest ideas in theatre and see if they can’t benefit the entire community
  • Fostering an environment where you can express your ideas, work for your goals, and create your theatre are some wacky ideas to get your creative energy flowing:

  • Think about all of the trees destroyed and waste produced by thousands of paper programs distributed every night at area theatres?  Why not e-mail programs to patrons with a link they can pull up right on their smartphone?  No paper, not much money, and gives patrons easy access to your website to donate.
  • Theatre in a rock climbing gym?  Hmm...
  • A comprehensive curriculum that teaches all subjects through theatre (math through building sets and tech; science through lighting, sound, special effects, environmental theatre; history through reading, producing, and writing theatre pieces; life skills through improvisation; the list goes on...)
  • A play where the audience members are the actors.
  • Many companies are embracing office gyms, yoga classes, team building workshops, what about office theatre?  
  • One huge theatre development project bringing together tons of actors, musicians, designers, and leaders all creating theatre together under the same roof

The Open Source Theatre Project takes its name from the technology term “Open Source.”  According to Wikipedia, here are a few main points that characterize “Open Source.”  

In production and development, open source as a philosophy promotes a) universal access via free license to a product's design or blueprint, and b) universal redistribution of that design or blueprint, including subsequent improvements to it by anyone.

A main principle and practice of open-source software development is peer production by bartering and collaboration, with the end-product, source-material, "blueprints", and documentation available at no cost to the public.

Your first question might be “so what’s wrong with theatre today and why try to start another new program?”  The answer: absolutely nothing.  The theatre arts community across the country, and in the Washington DC area, has never been stronger.  So many theatre companies, non-profits, schools, student groups, individuals, and families are creating and supporting so much great work from education programs and summer camps, to experimental theatre, community theatre, professional theatre, and national touring productions.  But, with so many different organizations, so many different leaders, and so many people trying to take part in the process, we miss out on the ideas and input of many members of our community in our effort to be competitive and financially successful.  Taking the basic concepts of “Open Source” and applying them to theatre, and to the creative process behind it, could enable us to involve even more people in the theatre community, give everyone the chance to exchange ideas, to benefit each other, and create the most exciting and out-of-the-box theatre together.

Why do we support theatre?  Why will we continue to support theatre in the future?  What is the next generation of theatre?  How do we ensure theatre remains sustainable?  And, how can we give everyone the chance to share their ideas and participate in the development of theatre arts?

These are all huge questions that we don’t immediately have the answer to.  But, we do know that the most important part of theatre is all of YOU -- the audience, supporters, actors, leaders, and many more.  Let’s start the conversation now so that we can all continue to express ourselves and ideas through theatre arts.  Let’s start to talk about how we can make theatre more environmentally friendly and sustainable.  Let’s start to talk about how we can all work together, support each other, and involve each other.  Let’s start to talk about how we can continue to make fully participatory theatre accessible and successful for YOU.  And then, let’s share those ideas.

Open Source Theatre Project