RETROSPECTIVE ESSAY:

NET Microfests: Community, Home and Afar

by Robert "bobbyb" Martin

Over the last year I had the opportunity to travel to Detroit, Central Appalachia, New Orleans and Oahu, Hawai`i as a MicroFest Fellow with the Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET). Seven other cultural workers and I formed a cohort—an ensemble—that traveled to each site, dialogued with each other throughout the MicroFest cycle and served as local guides and connectors in our home regions. A main goal of this group was to offer a layered through-line to the place cycle as well as to serve as touchstones to reflect on how the MicroFests affected us as practitioners and participants along the way.

More than a year removed from the initial MicroFest in Detroit and months after our visit to Hawai`i this summer, each site has left me with reflections that continue to resonate and inform my life as a theater artist, educator, community activist, land lover, food enjoyer and space holder, among all sorts of other things I find myself up to. As an expression of gratitude and in the spirit of dialogue generated by the MicroFest, I’ve captured some of these reflections for my own remembrance and to share with NET and anyone else who might find them of use. Click HERE to read the full essay.

Robert 'bobbyb’ Martin is a theater/film artist, community arts producer, cultural organizer, trainer/facilitator and teaching artist.  He is passionate about using all forms of story, theatre, and media to create spaces where audience and artists merge to transform the human condition. He creates and collaborates in performance and art that is rooted in the needs, memories, and possibilities of the community from which it is born. His work ranges from original community story-based theater to filmmaking and digital storytelling to creating community-driven art events and festivals.  He also actively uses his cultural organizing and story work to examine the intersections of urban and rural communities and to build dynamic partnerships in hopes of bringing folks closer.
 

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