Above: David Girard on set of the world premiere of Richard Dresser’s “100 Years,” which he produced for Troy Foundry Theatre. Photo: Richard Lovrich
Actor and teaching artist David Girard started his 18-plus year career with the Troy-based New York State Theatre Institute and is currently the artistic director for Troy Foundry Theatre, directing dozens of immersive and non-traditional works in spaces around the Capital Region. He is also an associate artistic director with Saratoga Shakespeare Company, directing critically acclaimed productions like “Henry VI,” “Romeo & Juliet,” “Macbeth” and “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” and stays active in the local creative community.
What was the last live performance you attended?
“The Full Monty” at The Rep actually! It was a lot of fun. Kevin McGuire’s ultra smooth ballroom moves were a highlight and Maggie was on top of her directing game. Kev also had the show stopping-line of the night. I love me some Kevin McGuire and Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill.
Name one local creative everyone needs to know.
Raquel Velho. Raquel is an amazing cellist with Joan Kelsey’s Silver Linings, a Troy-based folk trio that’s simply tearing it up right now. Raquel is an immensely talented musician, but an even better human. In addition to her skills as a musician, Raquel is also a sociologist and professor at RPI in their Science and Technology Studies program. Her work and passion for the disabled humbles me, and she is particularly creative in her research on infrastructure as it pertains to the disadvantaged. She’s inspiring. She understands that as a society, we’re far from equitably incorporating the identity, culture, representation and experiences of marginalized communities in how we design our communities. Her advocacy for eliminating social exclusion in how we basically build things is incredibly creative.
What is a locally produced art, craft, clothing item or delicacy you can’t live without?
Coffee at Superior Merchandise Co., Cuban Eggs at Carmen’s, Buddha Pesto from the Farmer’s Market and the pears we grow in our backyard.
What does “creative economy” mean to you?
It’s an economy that values and awards innovation. It’s an economy that recognizes and nurtures individuals and organizations with important creative abilities. Creativity is critical to the survival of any organization or group. Right now, this area is experiencing a peak flow state in terms of creativity. Historically, a creativity economy is a collective and social phenomenon, especially when it happens across a wider community and region. We need to nurture it and keep it up. To solve the problems facing our communities, our society and our world in general, we must take advantage of the creative talents of everyone. And there is an economic engine in that kind of work. But, for that to continue, it not only involves a greater emphasis on the arts, but also involves building a support system based on community engagement, and investing in the economic and political will to support that system.
What was the last project you oversaw to completion?
Hmmm, that’s a tough question. I’ve been involved with SO many projects over the last six months with so many entities in a variety of capacities. It’s a bit head-spinning. However, from an organizational and artistic standpoint, I’d have to say producing two world premieres this year with our “The Prohibition Project: Ilium Was” and Richard Dresser’s “100 Years” in my capacity as artistic director for Troy Foundry Theatre. By year’s end, we’ll have produced four world premieres in 2019. I’m very proud of that.
How can we overcome parochialism in the arts?
By collaborating with one another. By supporting one another. By trumpeting one another’s work and accomplishments. By inviting artists from the outside, in. By championing new work. By always being in a mindset of having your expectations surpassed, challenged and/or reformed. By holding one another accountable. By being inclusive. By being daring. By being kind.
What was the most important development for local arts in the last decade?
The emergence of Troy as a historical and cultural pearl, regionally and even nationally. I don’t think Troy’s renaissance can be understated. It is a very cool place to live.
What arts event/performance should every resident of the Capital Region see this year?
So many! Go see everything! If it’s new, definitely go see it! #newwork
What local organization/artist/creative etc would be your dream collaborator?
Sean Rowe. It’s truly a selfish choice. I love his music so much.
What is the biggest change in the arts community you have observed over the course of your career in the Capital Region arts scene?
It’s become so expansive, so nuanced and so diversified. It’s definitely a more supportive arts community. It’s also a younger and more vibrant arts scene than I can remember. The amount of original and unique visual art, film, music, theatre, etc. available to the public has increased ten-fold. The reinvestment and rediscovering of local neighborhoods and communities, and how that has fashioned our emergent creative economy, is amazing to witness and be a part of.
Troy Foundry Theatre’s next production is “Yellow,” an interactive theatre piece taking place in the Trojan Hotel in Troy with a preview show Oct. 30, opening Oct. 31 and running through Nov. 9. See link for dates and showtimes.