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Manifesto #476

August 15, 2009


Headless Sullivan Theater loves manifestos. We sometimes have to remind ourselves that we actually need to do theater, and not just write and argue about our manifestos. I have all our manifestos, adopted, tabled, revised, abandoned, in a big manila accountant’s folder and every few weeks I have to find a new rubber band, bigger and stronger, to hold them all in. To relieve the pressure, I’m taking one out, putting it here, and then throwing it away. So, without further ado, an aspirational statement:

The Manifesto of Headless Sullivan Theater (to the tune of “Big Iron” by Marty Robbins)

Headless Sullivan Theater is dedicated to producing new theater in new spaces for new audiences in Geneva, NY. Our goal is to present shows that are relevant and compelling in order to engage the Geneva community at a wide range of levels, and to maintain a high-profile presence in the heart of the city. We exist to remind people that theater can be vital to their lives, that theater can exist outside the traditional “boxes” it hides in. The content that Headless Sullivan Theater presents is central to its mission, and play selection is the responsibility of all HST members and, to the extent possible, will be driven by consensus. We will seek out material that is compelling and relevant, no matter its time period or country of origin. And when we can’t find exactly what we are looking for, we will invent it ourselves. We strive to be relevant and challenging, inclusive and accessible.

“Membership” in Headless Sullivan Theater is by free association and members are encouraged to work with other theater groups and other projects. HST will pursue partnerships with any group where goals and sensibilities overlap. We hope that the spirit of HST will help infuse and inspire a greater awakening of the arts in Geneva and produce a nurturing, creative and supportive community of people interested in exploring the theater arts. Although the process of producing a play requires a variety of clear roles, including writers, producers, actors, directors and stage-hands, as a group we are all stakeholders in the creative process. All performances will have open auditions and, given that acting roles may be limited, members may find themselves rotating through other non-acting, but equally vital. roles over time. Members are encouraged to apply their skills to best effect, explore other areas of the art that interest them, develop new skills that they’d like to learn, and most importantly, reflectively discuss their goals and experiences with the larger group. There are so many roles in keeping a ship like HST afloat that there is always something vital to do. In this sense, we are all stage hands. Headless Sullivan Theater is a process, one that we are committed to making as dynamic, changing, and exciting as possible, for members and audience alike.

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