Dallas — To celebrate two decades of the Festival of Independent Theatres, the organization has launched a #MyFITStory campaign, and is highlighting the 20 Faces of FIT. These are 20 people, or groupings of people, who have made a significant impact on the festival—as the festival has had on them. Each made a video focused on their FIT story at a media day event on June 5.
TheaterJones is showcasing one of the Faces each day through the beginning of the festival, which runs July 13 to Aug. 4 at the Bath House Cultural Center. The videos were shot by FIT.
Next up: Isabella Russell-Ides.
She is the local playwright who has had the most plays done at FIT: Leonard's Car, produced by Ground Zero Theater Company in 2004; Coco & Gigi, produced by Echo Theatre in 2008; and Lydie Marland in the Afterlife, produced by WingSpan Theatre Company in 2013. She has also had works done by companies in North Texas and across the country. One of those, The Early Education of Conrad Eppler, given a world premiere on the mainstage season by Echo Theatre, has since been turned into a novel.
Coco & Gigi, inspired by Beckett, was particularly acclaimed. It remains one of my Top 10 FIT productions in the event's history.
Of the Ground Zero production, "That jumpstarted my Dallas career," she says. "I had written musical theater in Austin; I was excited to learn more about Dallas." Leonard's Car was later picked up by local companies the Dallas Hub Theater and Bishop Arts Theatre Center (then called TeCo Theatrical Productions), and performed at WaterTower Theatre's Out of the Loop Fringe Festival.
And learn more about Dallas she did. She became a nominator for the now-defunct Leon Rabin Awards, the local theater awards in which a panel of judges saw every eligible show and then deliberated to decide on the nominees and winners. She saw scores of productions at theaters across Dallas and Collin counties.
Working in FIT helped too, as she explains in the video above.
"When I arrived I was an outsider. Theater can be so clubbish; I had no badges," she says, before saying what now must become a motto for the Festival of Independent Theatres.
"FIT takes in the misfits."
Make that misFITs.
» The shows in the 2018 Festival of Independent Theatres and a grid schedule are below. You can read descriptions and see a full schedule here.
Camp Death Productions: Jimmy Pine by Ben Schroth
Danielle Georgiou Dance Group: Just Girly Things by Danielle Georgiou, Justin Locklear, Ruben Carrazana, Trey Pendergrass and Cory Kosel
Eccentric Bear Productions: The Book of Gabe by Isaac Young
Echo Theatre: Bible Women by Elizabeth Swados and Vicki Caroline Cheatwood
Imprint Theatreworks: Suckers by Devin Berg
Laughter League: Where Do I Sit? by Dick Monday
Prism Movement Theater: BruNO and lOUIe by Jeffrey Colangelo
WingSpan Theatre Company: Landscape by Harold Pinter
The 20th Festival of Independent Theatres
July 13- August 4, 2018
Bath House Cultural Center,
521 E. Lawther Drive, Dallas
Tickets and passes go on sale in late June
Call 800-617-6904 or visit www.festivalofindependenttheatres.org