The job of the producing artistic director of a professional theatre company covers a lot of territory. At least that appears to be the case with MetroStage's Producing Artistic Director Carolyn Griffin. MetroStage reopened in its present location a year ago after converting the former Smott's Lumber warehouse in the north end of Old Town Alexandria into a fully equipped 130 seat theatre. Griffin was the primary fundraiser during the four year capital campaign. With the help of a finance committee comprised of many community leaders, she raised over $430,000 to convert the former warehouse into a charming, intimate theatre space.
MetroStage offers a season of unique plays and musicals that are chosen by Griffin from hundreds of unsolicited scripts sent to the theatre from all over the country.
"The challenge is to identify the most eclectic, diverse, unpredictable and unforgettable plays that will comprise a season unique to MetroStage. This is not about remounting last year's Off-Broadway hits, or revisiting the classics. It is about discovering the best playwrights, designers, directors, and actors and showcasing their work on our stage. This is about taking the risks that larger theatres are unable to take in the hopes of helping to develop the work that will serve future theatres and theatre-goers. That is what is so exciting about the process," explained Griffin.
In addition to reviewing hundreds of scripts and dialogue samples with the aid of literary assistants, Griffin stays in touch with playwrights, actors and directors around the country who are scouting material for her. In some cases Griffin actually commissions new work. MetroStage's current production, Three Sistahs, was written and directed by Thomas W. Jones II, writer, director, and actor, who wrote and directed last year's Harlem Rose at MetroStage. Tom is involved in the development of new work around the country and has found a home at MetroStage where some of his work has been premiered.
Join me as I discuss MetroStage with Carolyn Griffin in the upcoming segment of my "Maturity" cable television show which airs at 6:30 on Comcast Channel 69 on Tuesday Nov. 19 and 26 and Dec. 3 and 10.
Joy Chambers is host of Maturity and is an attorney in Alexandria. She is a frequent contributor to the Gazette.