misunderstanding each other since 2003

Fence Archive

28. Atlanta, October 2019


was structured as a series of snapshots of theatre provision across the diverse theatre communities in various neighbourhoods of the city. It was facilitated by Rachel Parish with the considerable assistance of Michael Dove and Lee Orsorio.


Sunday 13th

Found Stages’ Frankenstein’s Funeral, St. John's Lutheran Church

Monday 14th

Emory University, Department of Theater and Dance
Fence opening meeting: Jonathan Meth

Workshop: On New Work Now

A survey of contemporary trends in making new plays, focusing on content, style, audience, spaces and more. Participants were asked to share something they were currently working on or excited about.


Supper Club hosted by Michael Kaluzny.

Held on the rooftop at Memorial Drive SE, Atlanta, GA 30312.

 Tuesday 15th

Woodruff Arts Center
Ana Candida Carneiro
Workshop: Working in large to small venues and working in site specific and found spaces.

The practical session was focused on writing and space.

National Center for Civil and Human Rights

Wednesday 16th

7 Stages mainstage
Jessica Litwak & Heidi Howard
Workshop: Art, Activism and Engagement

How do performance makers engage with issues of activism, equity and social justice within the practice of making new work. What are useful practical approaches to engagement as part of the creative process?

 Deep Dive: presented by True Colors at Southwest Arts Center, with a deeper look into the artistic process focusing on intimacy coaching

Paradise Blue by Dominique Morisseau


Thursday 17th

GaTech, DramaTech Theatre
Amelia Parenteau, Henning Bochert, Adam Versenyi
Workshop: Local, Regional, National and International Interconnectivity

 Strategies and opportunities to both collaborate and to share new work on multiple scales

Experimental performance from Guy Gabon using text by Alain Foix, and students

Invited VIP cocktail event for France/Atlanta week, Cultural Attache , Pascale Beyaert

Small Mouth Sounds at the Alliance Theatre Woodruff Arts Center

Friday 18th

Windmill Arts Center
Edward Bromberg, Debbie Seymour
Workshop: Approaches to dramaturgy
From moderating group discussions for new work development to director training in working with playwrights, to Riksteatern’s Lank project.

Scratch Work - Jessica Litwak’s play Safety Net at Theatrical Outfit, 84 Luckie St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303

Saturday 19th

Dad’s Garage, 569 Ezzard St SE
Andrei Kureichik
Workshop: The matrix: generating ideas, characters and plot.


Concluding Fence meeting: Future Plans

Dad’s Garage, An Evening With… Improv meets storytelling – comedy.






A Week With The Fence

Blog post by Henning Bochert | Published: 6. November 2019

The Fence, this “strange animal”, as its founder Jonathan Meth calls it, is a circle of professional friends all over the world, a club, really, that operates on a recommendation basis. Its focus lies on the work of playwriting, of developing plays, working with directors and dramaturgs. In Atlanta, GA, we are a congregation of theatre practitioners, dramaturgs, and writers from France, Scandinavia, London, Germany, Belarus, from the east and west coast of the US and from the centre as well.

For five days, we find ourselves sitting in circles in varying rooms and venues, theatres, art studios, university spaces, in a mix of the same and new people as the morning workshops are open to the public and are attended by local artists connected to theatre in one way or the other. As is customary for theatre people, the fine, warm southeast American weather remains outside of the dark or even white theatre spaces, only to be enjoyed and inhaled in short coffee or longer lunch breaks. Introductory rounds repeat itself in variations every day, always leading to both a deeper understanding of the people you met the day before and a fresh image of who is there that day for the first time. A first exchange between local and international guest participants is a perfect way to engage in fruitful and informative discussion on working conditions in Atlanta. What is in the focus here, what do people deal with in their work? Asks Michael Dove, who had moved to Atlanta a year ago, the Atlantans in the room feel enticed to discuss concerns about imminent danger through investors taking over and reshaping the city, something many visitors from metropolises around the world can relate to. Housing is being built massively but not for those who need it.

Practical workshops introduce methods for development such as working with space, a writing exercise to inspire through an imaginary journey through different environments (Ana Candida Carneiro): How can key phrases and words and the imaginations around them influence our writing? Jessica Litwak regroups us with the means of sociometry, “a powerful tool for reducing conflict and improving communication because it allows the group to see itself objectively and to analyse its own dynamic” (Chris Hofmann). This technique was developed by Jacob Levy Moreno, the inventor of psychodrama. Heidi Howard, AD of the 7 Stages Theatre in Little Five Points, hosts one workshop on activism and engagement in the arts in her beautiful space, one of few engaged in international collaborations. She tells us how eating together has proven to be a marvellous way to engage your audience. Audience involvement is the focus of another group exercise around the Cinderella themes – how to work with the audience around themes of shoes (oh how culturally laden can be the wearing of shoes, the naked foot, etc.), discipline, selection, male-female (princes and princesses). Upending expectations in regards to this story, which everybody seems to know something about but that has so many variations, appears to be a very good path to follow in building a short piece. Or how about collective storytelling? Building the story with the audience: Why are you the prince, or the princess? Edward Buffalo Bromberg (Riksteatern Stockholm) and Debbie Seymour (LAMDA, UK) talk about their approaches to their work as dramaturgs. Debbie relates Liz Lerman’s methods of applying constructive criticism through a certain moderated process of question and answer between artist and audience. The discussion almost consensually concentrates on the dramaturgs’ the role of and their place within the development of a script to full production, as interlocutors to the writers, until I bring up their role as employees in the institutions that theatres are in central Europe, dealing with programming and public relations a lot.

We learn about Atlanta as much as possible in the short time, visit the Center for Civil and Human Rights, largely focussing on the civil rights movement in the US south during the 1960s, with Dr. Martin Luther King from Atlanta as a key figure.

We see a few shows at night, all disappointingly shallow after the in-depth discussions throughout the days. A good memory remain the nights at delicious tapas bars in Midtown or the Intermezzo Café with its monstrous Vienna style cake display and conversations that extend beyond the professional. What is most striking throughout the entire duration of the event is the absolutely personal, warm and loving atmosphere among the participants, be they long-standing members such as Alain Foix or Jessica Litwak, or visitors like associates of 7 Stages or writers from Atlanta. Amelia Parenteau, as if it were nothing, interpreted for the French visitors the entire time. The local organisation is perfectly handled by Rachel Parish, Michael Dove and Lee Osorio without whom nothing would have happened. Special thanks to you! As I’m leaving early, I’m sad to be missing a reading of Jessica’s play THE NIGHT IT RAINED at one of the scratch work sessions where new work is presented and discussed. I don’t want to go – but the next conventions are already coming up. Looking forward to be there!