Essays & Journalism

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Danielle Mohlman is a Seattle-based playwright and arts journalist. She’s a frequent contributor to Encore Stages, where she’s written long-form features about everything from the intersection of sports and theatre to the landscape of sensory-friendly performances. Her writing has also appeared in American Theatre, The Dramatist, My Poetic Side, and Quirk Books, where she just celebrated her seventh year as a pop culture blogger. This year, she taught her first arts journalism intensive through the TeenTix Press Corps, an organization that develops and advocates for teen arts journalists. Danielle loves baseball more than anything and dreams of writing about the sport professionally — maybe one day. Her favorite team is the Washington Nationals.


Essays

Millennial Audiences
for Encore Stages (January 8, 2019)

When I moved to Seattle in 2015, I didn’t know anyone involved in theatre. In fact, I didn’t know anyone who even enjoyed going to the theatre. So rather than learn a new city and the seemingly infinite number of theatres that came with it all by myself, I made a rational choice: I created a group for Millennials to experience theatre together. 

In Search of Artistic Community
for Encore Stages (November 21, 2018)

Every time I walk into The Cloud Room, I remind myself to breathe. Inhale one, two, three. Exhale one, two, three. It’s a stage direction I’ve included in my plays more than once—a necessary one because it’s a reminder to trust, to let go, to be vulnerable. This Capitol Hill co-working space is more than a place to gather and share new work. It’s also the place where I’ve shared my most vulnerable work: new pages from a script that terrifies me, its creator. Inhale one, two, three. Exhale one, two, three. 

Throwing Like a Girl and Writing Like One Too
for Encore Stages (April 3, 2018)

My dad was a star athlete in high school. Letterman jacket, full page in the yearbook, the whole nine yards. He was a water polo goalie and to this day the number he wore on his swim cap – 22 – is significant for both him and my mom. Every “22” they’ve ever seen in the wild has been photographed and framed. It’s the date of their wedding anniversary. And it was etched into the pin cushion my mom used in home economics, silver-headed pins forming the curves of each number. 

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way
for Encore Stages (January 12, 2018)

One by one, my friends hugged me as I handed them their tickets. “I’m so excited,” they exclaimed, a group of giddy Millennials huddled in Seattle Repertory Theatre’s lobby. It was November 2016, and we were seeing King Charles III. 

 

journalism

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Seattle Theatre
for Encore Stages (April 9, 2019)

In October 2018, the Dramatists Guild and The Lilly Awards released The Count 2.0, a national census that analyzed data from six seasons of theatre, 2011 to 2017, looking at the production history of theatres of all sizes. The Count was focused on playwrights, lyricists and book writers—the content creators of the theatre—and released information that doesn’t feel all that surprising: of all the major cities surveyed, Seattle has the most room to grow. Between 2011 and 2017, only 8% of produced plays in Seattle were written by artists of color and only 24% by women. 

Sensory-Friendly Performances in Seattle — And Beyond!
for Encore Stages (March 1, 2019)

Being an audience member is powerful. Going to the symphony can connect you with a piece of music that feels like it was made for you. Surrounding yourself with opera can feel like communion with the soul. And that perfect piece of theatre will make you forget that you weren’t right on that stage with them. But too often, the performing arts are created for a very specific audience—an audience without sensory sensitive disabilities like autism spectrum disorder. That’s where sensory-friendly performances come in. 

Round Table Discussion with the TeenTix Press Corps
for Encore Stages (January 8, 2019)

Since 2006, the TeenTix Press Corps has collaborated with professional critics to mentor teens interested in arts journalism through workshops and intensives. In 2015, TeenTix put the Press Corps on hiatus in order to put racial equity and social justice at the center of the program. They relaunched in Spring 2018 and we couldn’t be more excited.

Why You Need an HR Department
for American Theatre (January 1, 2019)

Theatre is an industry built on human stories that move audiences. So it may come as a surprise that many regional theatres don’t have a dedicated human resources professional on staff. But HR, it turns out, can actually have an impact on the quality of the art an organization delivers, mainly by keeping tabs on the quality of life enjoyed by artists, administrators, and theatre staffers.

A Conversation with Courtney Sale
for Encore Stages (October 4, 2018)

Courtney Sale describes herself as a director who’s passionate about new work and devised theatre. As the artistic director of Seattle Children’s Theatre, Sale has directed adaptations of Black Beauty and The Little Prince. But her work isn’t just limited to theatre for young audiences. Sale proudly collaborates with a number of nationally produced playwrights, including Steven Dietz, Kirk Lynn and Allison Gregory. Encore Stages had a chance to speak with her about the upcoming production of The Velveteen Rabbit at Seattle Children’s Theatre, a co-production with the Unicorn Theatre in London. The play runs November 1 to December 30 at Seattle Children’s Theatre. 


The Future (of Seattle Theatre) is Female
for Encore Stages (October 4, 2018)

According to a nationwide study conducted by Theatre Communications Group, during the 2016–17 theatre season, only 26% of produced plays were written by female playwrights. This statistic is personal to me. I’m a female-identifying playwright working nationally. I’m a speck on that scale, but I do count. Which is why I’m a little ashamed to say I was actually excited to see this number. For several years, I’d been telling folks that female playwrights make up only 20% of produced plays. That six percent jump—that’s huge!

The Next Generation of Arts Advocates
for Encore Stages (September 12, 2018)

When you think about the board that supports your favorite performing arts organization chances are you’re picturing an older sect—folks who are established in their careers, have saved for retirement and have money to spare. It’s a group, when imagined this way, that’s difficult to join and impossible to keep up with. But what if I were to tell you that performing arts boards come in all shapes and sizes, and that some are even actively recruiting young people into their fold? I had the pleasure of speaking with members of the BRAVO! Council at Seattle Opera, Young Patrons Circle at Pacific Northwest Ballet and New Guard at TeenTix—three organizations that are not only recruiting Millennial and Generation Z board members, they’re also training the next generation of arts advocates.

A Conversation with Yussef El-Guindi
for Encore Stages (June 20, 2018)

If you’re an avid theatre-goer in Seattle, chances are you’ve seen a Yussef El Guindi play. This prolific playwright has become an artistic staple here in Seattle, a city he has called home since 1994. (Upon reflection, he shared that he’s lived in Seattle longer than he’s lived anywhere else—even England, where he was raised after his family emigrated from Egypt.) We had the opportunity to speak with him about his writing, being a theatre artist in Seattle and ACT’s 2018 Core Company.

Arts al Fresco
for Encore Stages (June 19, 2018)

Living in Seattle means living for the summer. Between hiking, biking and visits to the city’s incredible beaches and lakes, it’s easy to fill every evening and weekend with glorious outdoor activities. But while you’re solidifying your summer schedule, don’t forget to make room for the arts. Several intrepid Seattle arts organizations program their summers around the great outdoors, taking advantage of public spaces to bring art to the entire city. 

A Conversation with Bobbin Ramsey
for Encore Stages (March 9, 2018)

Bobbin Ramsey has lived and breathed Seattle art her entire life. This 27-year-old theatre and film director has touched almost every arts organization in town: from attending Seattle Children’s Theatre as a child to volunteering at the Vera Project in high school to internships at Intiman and Book-It Repertory Theatre. She even attended the University of Washington, obtaining degrees in Drama and Creative Writing.

All the World’s a Stage at the Seattle Celebrates Shakespeare Festival
for Encore Stages (March 9, 2018)

Tell your friends you’re going to a play and chances are their minds will unconsciously jump to William Shakespeare, the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet, the pained “Et tu, Brute?” from Julius Caesar, Lady Macbeth scrubbing her hands of blood. Shakespeare is part of our cultural landscape. And soon, permutations of his work will be all over Seattle.

A Conversation with SassyBlack
for Encore Stages (January 12, 2018)

SassyBlack self identifies as a psychedelic songstress and that description couldn’t be more apt. She’s an energetic and hypnotic performer who forms community with her audiences. SassyBlack has called Seattle home for the last twenty years and says that she’s learning more about the city every single day.  “Seattle is a quirky town blossoming into a city that’s constantly moving forward,” she said. “It’s a rich, bountiful natural environment.” I had the pleasure of speaking with SassyBlack about her writing process, social media’s impact on her career, and how Seattle permeates her music.

Samie Spring Detzer on Washington Ensemble Theatre
for Encore Stages (November 27, 2017)

Samie Spring Detzer is a true Seattleite. She grew up just north of the city and moved here to attend Cornish College of the Arts where she graduated with a BFA in theatre and original works. She’s the Artistic Director of Washington Ensemble Theatre, but always identifies as an actor first, theatre administrator second. She joined the ensemble of WET six years ago and has performed in at least one show a season ever since. This season, she’ll be directing Monstrosityby Lucy Thurber – a co-production between the University of Washington and WET. We had the pleasure of talking to her about WET’s fourteenth season, being an artist in Seattle, and what makes her “an opinionated, loud-mouthed, head-bitch-in-charge” – in everything she does. 

Erin Murray on Women in Theatre
for Encore Stages (November 27, 2017)

Erin Murray is a “femme forward” theatre maker and educator. A native of Washington, Erin grew up in University Place, just outside of Tacoma and describes herself as a PNW woman through and through. She’s a director with affiliations with seemingly every theatre in the area and recently added podcast host to her resume with her show That’s WOW: That’s Womxn of Washington, where she talks to femme culture makers and leaders in the area about their work. We had a chance to talk to her about her passion for plays from the female perspective, her love for the Pacific Northwest, and her dream project.  

A Conversation with Simone Hamilton
for Encore Stages (October 6, 2017)

Simone Hamilton is the Artistic Engagement Coordinator at Seattle Repertory Theatre. She identifies as a producer and curator of spaces, aiming to bring audiences closer to the art on stage. She’s a Washington native and calls both Seattle and Whidbey Island her home. Encore Stages contributor Danielle Mohlman spoke with her just before tech week for the Public Works production of The Odyssey. In addition to the core cast of professional actors, over 100 performers flooded the stage in this musical adaptation of Homer’s poem – performers from the King County Boys and Girls Club, the Ballard NW Senior Center, the Jubilee Women’s Center, and beyond.