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Blogging with Brendan – June 2024 

“An Artistic Home” 

Home is a place of freedom and tether, self-determination and connection. Home is a place you define for yourself, maybe the only place you can “own.” If you don’t feel ownership, it isn’t home.  

-Todd London, “In Search of the Artistic Home”

The subject of “home” has been on my mind for a while. Leaving home. Finding home. Returning home. Where is my home? Not just where I live literally, but also figuratively—where my soul lives. Where is my “artistic home,” the space where I feel most invigorated, supported, and inspired to create theatre?  

Spoiler alert:  it’s Quincy Community Theatre. Bet you saw that one coming. 

As I prepared to return to QCT, I read a series of articles attempting to define the “artistic home.” I have felt magnetically drawn to QCT since I started here (the first time around) in January 2020. In fact, I used that exact phrase in my earliest QCT blog post. There must be a reason for that. And so I looked to other theatre artists to put into words why they felt drawn to their artistic home. Perhaps, by reflection, I’ll find out why Quincy Community Theatre is mine. I was particularly taken with an essay written by Todd London, artistic director of New Dramatists in New York; I decided to write this blog post in dialogue with (or reflection of) London’s essay. We’ll start with the epigraph above.  

“Home is a place of freedom and tether.” An artistic home is one where you are challenged and cradled. You are encouraged to risk and supported when you fail (I didn’t say “if”). It is a place to grow and question and push boundaries—like a teenager living in their childhood bedroom—while knowing that this home will flex and grow with you, it will not break. You are free to leave this home, but it will stay with you. Perhaps you will return.  

Although a home is a place one can call their own, it’s also meant to be shared. QCT is not just my artistic home. There is plenty of room at the dinner table. In fact, a community theatre like QCT is founded on the principle that anyone with a desire to learn, express themselves creatively and find fellowship in theatre-making can claim a room in this generous house (figuratively speaking). The foundation can support it. 

Indeed, the foundation of this artistic home can support its abundance of residents because Love is its foundation. A love for art, a love for the art in each other, an abiding love for this community– this is what grounds us. The concept of a “chosen family” is related to this idea of an “artistic home,” I think. Because in both cases, we are both the chooser and the chosen. We encounter special people, special places, special ways of doing things and—for the first time in our lives—it feels right. So we stay. And if we don’t stay—if, instead, we disperse like molecules (I think of QCT alumni across the globe), the love remains and connects us always.  

At the end of his essay, Todd London shares a quote from Maurice Browne, the founder of the Chicago Little Theatre in 1912 (and leading figure in the Little Theatre movement, without which QCT—formerly Quincy Little Theatre—would not exist). In it, Browne describes the Little Theatre as a “third Bohemia,” articulating the concept of an artistic home before the phrase was ever coined: 

“The inhabitants of the third [Bohemia] seldom know where they live; they are too busy making beautiful things, which they give to one another for they have no money. They have, however, wealth and health, for the deeps which surround their shores are rich with treasure of many colours and the tides are strong and their tang savoury. They are fisher-folk, those inhabitants, fishers of men and of their own hearts, and dredge jewels from uncharted seas.” 

I am privileged to be back at QCT, among the hustle and bustle of friends making beautiful things—eager to explore the uncharted seas of my heart without fear. For I am home.  

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