A New Home for Madness and a Change of the Guard.
Over the past six years “Madness” has traveled all over New York City creating a home for emerging artists wherever we landed. Our search for temporary homes has taken us Downtown to Cherry Lane Theatre, HERE Arts Center, IATI Theatre, the former space of the Living Theatre, 13th Street Rep; Midtown at The Atlantic, Ensemble Studios Theatre, and Playwrights Horizons; Uptown at the McGinn Cazale where Women’s Project has made their new home; Last but not least out to Brooklyn at The Brick. What is so exciting about finding a home of our very own is the opportunity to give back to all those who helped us along the way and for me as the Founding Artistic Director to pass the baton of leadership to others in the company. Without a permanent home in sight for us I knew there was no way of stepping away from the helm. Any Artistic Director can tell you that space is the biggest hurdle in New York City. It’s a Herculean task to acquire one-night event space in a 99 seat house in NYC that is affordable for an emerging artist focused mission. Now that we have a 99 seat home where the company and our mission are supported the job of running Madness is not so all consuming.
When I started New York Madness six years ago I had no idea what it would take to build a company that would go on to produce over 200 short plays in over 30 madness festivals in the following years. Looking back, I can say that had I known the challenges that waited ahead I probably would’ve passed on the whole idea, but much like having children the best and worst parts of the journey remain hidden until you are smack in the middle of it. Madness has helped me grow as a playwright, a collaborator, a producer and most of all as a person. Helming a theatre company successfully for many years has given me a richness to my core that I never would have imagined. It brought out the best in me in terms of my discipline, focus, strength, and generosity. I learned to say “Thank You” and “I apologize” more than I ever thought possible. I had to put the needs of other writers and the night as whole over my ego and at times even over the needs of my own plays. That’s the responsibility of taking ownership of a company, and it’s been a humbling honor to do it.
In the future I will never take for granted the work of those who support a production from folding the programs to fundraising. It’s a rare thing for theater companies to last more than one year, because it’s hard. Being the Founding Artistic Director of Madness gave me a confidence in my own abilities that cannot be bought and it gave my work a depth that cannot be taught. Now that Madness has a supported home it’s time for me to refocus my priorities on my writing and empower other team members to go on that same journey of leadership, which is about giving to the community first and foremost. In the future I hope Madness continues to thrive with the leadership of those coming up who are filled with the same passion I founded madness with to create opportunities for others. I hope that the work maintains the same high level of writing, acting, and directing that we have earned a reputation for over the last many years. I have a lot of faith and trust that those who are stepping up now have the talent, commitment, metal, and madness to make it happen!
Please join us for my last season as acting Artistic Director of New York Madness in our new home at The Kraine Theatre. Season Launch Sept 25th at 8pm.
Special Discount Code NYMFRIENDS for reduced ticket price. Link here for tickets.
– Cecilia Copeland, playwright and artistic director of Madness