Sept 11 and Indie Theatre: Then and Now

         3LD Arts & Technology Center, the closest theatre to Ground Zero

Adapted from a 2011 post. 

On September 11, 2001 I was an Affiliated Writing Fellow at American Theatre Magazine. I think I’d already turned in my quota of stories by that point, but when the attack happened I was only too glad to cover its impact for the magazine, and it gave me something to focus on for a couple of weeks, for which I was grateful. American Theatre is a monthly; the story made it into the November issue. As anyone who has tried to submit press releases to that magazine can tell you, even that (two months) is a short turnaround on their production schedule. At any rate, that original story is here.

For the tenth anniversary, I decided to devote my column in The Villager/Downtown Express to a revisitation of  downtown theatres, how they rebounded in the decade since the tragedy (many people feared they’d fold), and what they’re up to right now. As bad as things are now in many ways, economically, morally, culturally, all of those theatres are still with us and pretty much doing great. (The only exception I can think of, and I didn’t mention it in the column, is the late lamented Collective: Unconscious, which ostensibly folded for other reasons. See my Village Voice article here.) My September 2011 column is here.
Another repercussion of 9-11 I didn’t mention in these spaces because it encompasses all the arts and not just theatre, is the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space program, but I did write about it on this blog last year. The piece includes some beautiful photographs from the top of 14 Wall Street by my son Cashel, including views of the World Financial Center that I imagine are already a thing of the past, as the fast-rising One World Trade Center now stands in front of them. The blogpost is here.
Lastly, as we all know, the second and ongoing chapter of the September 11 story has been the War on Terror. In July 2004, a year into our war with Iraq, the Republican National Committee decided to hold its convention here and New York’s theatrical community went crazy in reaction. I covered that story in a few places, including this broad-ranging feature in the Village Voiceand this more narrowly focused piece on Reverend Billy’s Ground Zero flash mobs for the libertarian magazine Reason here.

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