As Artists Without Walls celebrates its fourth anniversary this month, we’ve asked members to share a few thoughts about their experience with the group. Here’s what actor and playwright Erin Layton wrote:
“April 2015. New York City: I need to raise $15K to bring my one-woman play to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August. This feels insurmountable. I have a few ideas aside from crowd-funding in order to raise what I perceive as a struggling artist to be above and beyond any appropriate ask for a solo show. One of my ideas is to throw a benefit. I write an email to Charles Hale, co-founder of Artists Without Walls in a panic and suggest that maybe somehow could I possibly ask for Charles and Niamh to assist me with potentially putting on this benefit and kindly pool interest from the AWoW community… I’m sweating:
“Sure, Erin. What are you thinking?” Charles writes back.
Loyalty. This is word that most prominently comes to mind when I think of AWoW. No other community and its founders that I’ve ever encountered in my eleven year track as a struggling city theatre artist, have so championed, so supported, so stood behind and held up as a presence of strength, warmth, humility and perseverance as AWoW. I am honored to stand as one among a line of artists – musicians, poets, writers, singers, solo performers, dancers – who truly represent the cream of the crop. Bravo, Charles and Niamh. And thank you for making all of us feel like heroes.”
Erin Layton, originally from St. Louis, MO, is a writer and sole performer of a one woman play, MAGDALEN about the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland. MAGDALEN premiered at the New York City International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) in August 2012 and was listed as top FringeNYC reviewer pic in nytheatre.com’s Indie Theater Now. MAGDALEN was also the recipient of the Best Documentary Script from The 2013 United Solo Festival. This past summer Erin’s performance of MAGDALEN received rave reviews at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe: “The highest level of performance” – The Public Reviews and “A well crafted, sympathetic piece of theatre” – The Scotsman.