Freehold Theatre Lab / Studio Receives Mayor’s Arts Award 2012
Freehold was honored to learn that it has been awarded a Mayor’s Arts Award for 2012. To mark the 10th anniversary of the Mayor’s Arts Awards, 10 recipients will be honored this year. In addition to Freehold, the other Mayor’s Arts Award recipients for 2012 are: KEXP 90.3 FM, Li Hengda, choreographer, dancer and artistic director, Lucia Neare’s Theatrical Wonders, Seattle Arts & Lectures, Buster Simpson, public artist, Three Dollar Bill Cinema, TilibSedeb (Singing Feet), Duwamish Tribe youth performance group, The Vera Project, all-ages arts venue and Olivier Wevers, dancer, choreographer and artistic director.
Mayor Mike McGinn will present the awards at a ceremony on Friday, August 31 at noon at the Seattle Center in partnership with Bumbershoot: Seattle Arts and Music Festival. The Mayor’s Arts Award is an annual award which seeks to recognize the accomplishments of artists, arts and cultural organizations and community members committed to enriching their communities through the arts.
Freehold engages people from all walks of life in cultivating the audacity of spirit through the practice of theatre. A creative haven since 1991, Freehold is a thriving collective of artists, teachers, and students collaborating to explore both the mind and the heart. Through education, experimentation, and performance, Freehold continues to work toward a theatre practice that illuminates the human condition, and serves the full, diverse spectrum of our community. Freehold provides a place that nurtures:
• Risk in all aspects of the practice, including acting, playwriting, directing, solo performance, spoken word, improvisation, and devised work.
• Research and experimentation in training and performance for working artists, inspired novices, and willing audiences of every inclination.
Freehold is a Laboratory for working professionals, a Studio for emerging artists, and above all a Destination where anyone with an inquisitive spirit can join in the celebration of the inherent risk of being human.
Upon hearing of the Mayor’s Arts Award announcement, Robin Lynn Smith, Freehold Founding Member and Artistic Director, expressed her appreciation noting:
“We are honored to be one of the recipients receiving the Mayor’s Arts Award this year. In recognizing Freehold, you are recognizing all of the individuals who have collaborated with us in practice over the past 20 years. We are very grateful for all of those in our community who have given so generously of their time and hearts: fellow artists and teaching artists, our lab members, students, audience members, residency participants and the larger arts community.”
Freehold’s Theatre Lab provides a forum for experimentation by professionals, the development of new performance material, and the rediscovery of classics. The Lab enables artists to explore new work – and new ways of working - in order to forge a deeper connection between actor and audience, self and community, life and art. The Theatre Lab’s two programs are the Engaged Theatre program and the Sandbox Artists Collective.
Freehold’s Engaged Theatre program was created in 2003 and has developed partnerships with organizations that represent culturally under-served populations in our larger community. Freehold tours to these unique populations with professional productions of Shakespeare and partners with them to offer theatre residencies which culminate in a performance of original work for an invited audience. This summer Engaged Theatre will tour King Lear to our partner organizations including: the Washington Corrections Center for Women, the Monroe Correctional Complex for Men, Echo Glen Children’s Center, Harborview, Joint Base Lewis/McChord as well as to the general public. Our dedication to enabling artists to explore new work can be seen in our formation in 2008 of the Sandbox Artists Collective, a membership based collective of working theatre professionals formed as a place for mid-career artists to explore their craft in the company of their peers.
From introductory sessions for the curious to master classes for practicing artists, Freehold’s Studio offers an extraordinary range of disciplines and styles to help students develop a comprehensive understanding of theatre craft and acting. Over 100 Seattle Theatre professionals have given back to the community as Freehold Faculty. Some of our esteemed faculty over the years include: Jerry Manning, Y York, Bart Sher, Robin Lynn Smith, George Lewis, Brian Yorkey, Amy Wheeler, Kurt Beattie, Geof Alm, Timothy Piggee, Amy Thone, and Gin Hammond.
Charlie Rathbun from 4Culture extolled Freehold’s contributions recently:
“Freehold holds a unique place in the Seattle arts community, as a training ground for theater artists of all ages and experience, as a laboratory for experimentation, and as a critical touchstone for our region’s thriving theater community. It is Seattle’s only professional theater organization whose mission is directed not toward production and presentation, but toward the fundamental power of the performer and the depth of the theatrical experience.”
It is a privilege for us to do the work we do and to enrich and be enriched by others in the process. We concur with this comment from an inmate from the Monroe Correctional Complex who, after watching an Engaged Theatre performance, eloquently shared about how art can change lives:
“The problems his character’s have are not so different from my own. I reflected and was lost in the show for two hours. I left feeling alive and dreaming of the future. I left feeling validated as a man. I left with the beauty and softness inside that art creates. I left questioning myself in a good way. I was not alone. I have many friends who were similarly touched by the offer of your art. I think we all were starved for beauty. You gave that to us.”
Freehold Theatre Lab/Studio