Barking Legs: Let Joy Be Unconfined

Friday, March 27, 2020

A message from  Marcus Ellsworth, Barking Legs Theatre artistic managing director:

Last week, I was alone in our office, as everyone else had already decided to work from home for the duration. I was preparing a letter to an artist from Atlanta who has had to cancel his show with us that was planned for April, and I thought it would be nice to send him a handwritten note of encouragement with the hope that we can present his work later in the year. But my brain was in a fog and I could not for the life of me remember where we kept the stash of adorable greeting cards with these whimsical photos of dogs that Ann had gotten to be used for such personal correspondences.

So I started rummaging through my office and found a stack of old Barking Legs postcards from years ago. That's where I found something I did not know I was looking for. A postcard whose front simply said:

barking.legs.theater
let joy be unconfined

Seeing that took the breath out of me; the tense, worried breath that had been hanging in my lungs for days; and then filled my chest with pride and hope and that unconfined joy. I remembered why I love this theater and organization so much. This is who we are. Who we have always been. We pride ourselves on doing things differently and finding new ways to present art. We believe in community and collaboration and creativity. We do not give up or give in, we push through and find new structures in which to create. And we do so thoughtfully and purposefully.

I am currently working on ways that we can keep presenting performances and supporting artists in new ways. This is taking some time because we want to make sure that we do this in a way that is right for us and the people we care about so much. 

Right now, you can follow our upcoming virtual open mic The Floor Is Yours: Connection, which is taking video submissions from artists to include in an online watch party at 8 p.m. on April 3 on our Facebook and Instagram, with links on our website coming soon. The broadcast will include links where viewers can support the artists who find themselves without work at the moment. Videos can be submitted to marcus@barkinglegs.org or via Facebook Messenger to our page.

I am also working with Bruce and folks from our music community to bring some live streamed events and videos for all of you to enjoy until our doors reopen to the public, so stay tuned to the newsletter and our social media pages for updates on when and how you can watch.

We're cooking up some interesting projects for visual artists as well. Announcements about those opportunities will be shared in the coming weeks.

During this time, like many other nonprofits and small businesses, we are losing our sources of income from rentals and ticket sales. Some of you have already stepped up and made donations to help get us through, and we are sincerely grateful for your generosity. We ask that if you are able to do so, please consider giving to Barking Legs to help us continue paying our staff and supporting artists. Even just giving what you would normally spend on tickets and refreshments will make a difference for us. You can give at www.barkinglegs.org/donate.

We're still here for all of you. We'll be here when everything settles. We will persevere alongside all of you because you support us and we are doing our best to support you in turn.

Yours Joyfully Unconfined,
Marcus Ellsworth


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