By Tracy Zollinger Turner

There is no doubt that the age of the internet has presented new challenges for the performing arts. The digital world, with all of its quick-jump editing and highly compressed, rapidly changing forms of storytelling, does little to nurture the aesthetics of, let alone the attention span required for, longer forms of narrative.

But thespians of Central Ohio seem to have plenty of energy and ideas to bring out new audiences and demonstrate the reasons the ancient art form of live theatre has always endured. Look through the event listings for any given weekend and you’ll find that the current theatrical landscape of Columbus is gifted with a concentration of small and mid-sized companies, older and newer, that have passionate and diverse missions.

The wide variety of aims you can find on local stages include commitments to generating and producing original works, creating intergenerational theatrical experiences or promoting theatre literacy in Central Ohio. Groups committed to script readings in front of an audience, doing improv or producing work by notable playwrights that Columbus hasn’t yet seen continue to emerge. Whatever the passion at the core of each ensemble, the result is an increasingly vibrant theatre community.

In addition to the energy and creative power of local companies themselves, the social-media driven consortium the Columbus Theatre Roundtable exists “to further theatre as an art form in Central Ohio.” Similarly, the JEBBY Awards, founded and driven by highly motivated superfan Jeb Bigelow, which gives local theatre companies movie-star attention began as something Facebook-driven and has evolved into a physical event.

“It’s a pretty great environment at the moment,” says Matt Slaybaugh, artistic director of Available Light Theatre. “It’s a large and thriving theatre scene. It’s interconnected, people know each other well and it’s a supportive environment… Everyone is trying to find their niche, picking one or two things to specialize in.”

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Dots Artist Profile:  RICH STADLER

By Jennifer Sadler

As the most comprehensive online events guide and resource for arts and culture in central Ohio, offers a virtual guide through the Columbus art world with a searchable database of events, concerts, performances and more. is an engaging place for artists and arts organizations to share what they do, with an average of 30,000 users per month. The Artist Directory allows visual, performing and literary artists to create a profile and portfolio to showcase their work—for free—and enables art enthusiasts to easily search for and connect with them. Our monthly artist profile series features interviews with a few of the many talented individuals who make up central Ohio’s thriving creative community.  Local artist, Rich Stadler, has his creative hands in just about everything, from film to painting and voice-over work to graphic design.  But he's probably best known for his fine work as an actor in the local theatre community.

"In the early ’90s, my first show with CATCO was actually their very last show at their Park Street location, where Columbus Children’s Theatre is now. It was a production of Below the Belt. It was just me and Geoffrey Nelson and Jonathan Putnam—just the three of us. I remember thinking ‘I have arrived!’ And [Michael] Grossberg or [Frank] Gabrenya…I think it was Grossberg…said in his review of the show that 'Stadler holds his own with Nelson and Putnam.' For local theatre it couldn’t really get any better than that for me."

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MadLab Theatre Presents Theatre Roulette 2012

Theatre Roulette is the longest running annual shorts festival in central Ohio. In its 13th year, it is a truly unique collection of plays. Since its debut, Theatre Roulette has featured more than 125 plays selected from well over 6,000 submissions and has featured world premieres for many plays that have since gone on to be published and one was even featured in the highly-acclaimed Humana Festival in Louisville.

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Couchfire Collective & Junctionview Studios Present Agora 9

Agora is an immersive event that brings artists and art patrons together to celebrate Central Ohio's diverse and talented creative community. Agora guests have the opportunity to view and purchase hundreds of works of art, wander through fifty working artists' studios, and watch performances by dancers, musicians, and theatre groups.

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18th Annual Asian Festival

Thousands of people from all over Central Ohio and the Midwest will gather in Columbus to enjoy the 18th Annual Asian Festival at Franklin Park for Memorial Day weekend. Every year the festival has something new to offer! The 2012 Asian Festival will feature cultural displays, colorful entertainment, artist demonstrations, delicious food, a job fair, health and wellness screenings and activities from 15 ethnic groups, focusing on performance and cultural activities.

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