A Letter From Artistic Director, Stephen Shelley
The BEAT Festival is a time for Brooklyn to celebrate its own. A time for us as artists and audience to gather and witness the extraordinary talent within our own borough. A moment for each of us to help nourish the artistic talent living next door, across the street and around the block.
BEAT will be modeled after the great European summer theater festivals. If you have ever attended one of these, you perhaps remember that unmistakable feeling of magic in the air as audiences begin to gather around the theater. Around every corner there seems to be something touched by the festival. Local businesses stay open later to accommodate the late arriving crowds. The evenings seem to sprawl with activity and communion. The performances present fresh and remarkable work, inspiring and transcending. At BEAT, there will be unique talents, vibrant conversation and events which unify and connect.
Each year, the BEAT Festival will produce work in venues in a variety of different neighborhoods within the borough. We will present multiple artists or groups, most of them performing in each of these venues. It is our wish that each community will then rally around each venue, helping us produce these local performances as well as collaborating with us on special events and other activities.
Brooklyn is unique in that it is a series of smaller, distinct communities forming a whole. The BEAT Festival seeks to highlight these differing areas, while also unifying the borough via the remarkable talent living and working here. Clearly, this is an ambitious vision. Already though, we have a small, sturdy team working to make BEAT a reality. But, this will not be enough.
We are currently forming an Advisory Board of influential Brooklyners within the performing arts. This group will represent the various neighborhoods, cultures and disciplines we intend to feature. We are also targeting individuals, foundations and businesses to support the effort.
This too will not be enough. That’s why we need YOU as well. At the minimum, please sign our petition indicating that you want BEAT to happen. If we can show funders and other possible donors that there is a coalition forming that wants us to succeed, then we are much more likely to raise the required funds for the festival.
Have an idea for the festival? A potential venue we should consider? An artist we need to meet? An event you think would be successful? LET US KNOW. We have no intention of making the building of this a closed-door affair. Everything is open. We have a page setup to field your ideas. Even if you don’t have an idea for the BEAT Festival, you can rate other the ideas (ala Facebook). Check it out by visiting this link.
Also, we need all types of people to be involved. Even now, we are stretched thin and could use volunteers willing to do the special work required to see this festival through to fruition. Could this be you? If the grand vision above appeals to you, learn more about what we currently need and join us on this amazing path.
Finally, BEAT will harness the extraordinary power and leverage within social media. We have very ambitious plans for this (more on that soon). But, even now, you can like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Thank you for reading this letter and for visiting the BEAT website. We’re thrilled to be part of this extraordinary movement to celebrate Brooklyn’s own. Will you join us?