Zaarly and Filament: Sustaining the Arts

I love it when a plan comes together. I’d chomp on a cigar right now if I wasn’t such a hippie anti-smoker.

I’ve had the privilege of being at the heart of an incredible partnership over the past couple of weeks. That this has all come together in such an amazingly short time is truly a testament to the willpower of dedicated individuals, in this case Zaarly’s Tim McDonald (also Director of Communications at Social Media Club Chicago and an all-around brilliant guy) and Filament Theatre Ensemble’s Julie Ritchey (also one of my brilliant speakers from TEDxMichiganAve). They believe in the good they’re doing with their companies and in each other’s ability to help each other. True collaboration.

Both of these amazing souls saw an opportunity to show how community support makes a difference in our lives through both social media and the arts. The key was sustainability. Tim and I were discussing how Zaarly could be used to help those interested in enhancing sustainability through community-shared resources could make a huge difference for all of us. I brought up Julie’s concept of sustainable, community-supported theatre had similar objectives. A meeting was set and suddenly a theatre project was added to Zaarly’s Chicago Activation Week.

On August 24th at 8am, Filament Theatre Ensemble will embark on a 36-hour development project. They will use their folk story roots to create a performance while Zaarly takes every idea they have and seek for the Zaarly community in Chicago to help. If Filament needs a rotary telephone, a safari hat, or a couple of beers for a work break, Zaarly will send out the call. Nothing will be bought, only borrowed. Everything will come from the community that will then be invited to see the work and sometimes even participate in the development of the show as they contribute to the project. In the end, everything will be returned to its original owner after the show.

Then at 8pm, August 25th, it all comes together. A performance that will start with a computer, a phone, and a bunch of dedicated artists and support staff will be made real. Cool, huh?

You can support the effort by keeping on eye on Zaarly and Twitter for #Sustain36 items and updates or by keeping an eye on the Facebook page for Sustain36 at Zaarly: Chicago. You can already Zaarly in a name for the show in fact! If you don’t live in Chicago, you can still support this kind of sustainable theatre done in a community-supported, folk tradition by donating to Filament Theatre Ensemble at their PayPal donation page.

It’ll be an exciting week ahead. Hope you stay tuned in!


Image credit: