It all started when…
Originally from Gahanna, Ohio, just northeast of the state’s capital, Mike Faist graduated from high school at the age of 17 and moved to New York City to pursue a career in theatre. He has appeared on Broadway as Morris Delancey in Newsies, as Connor Murphy in Dear Evan Hansen, for which he was nominated for a Tony as Best Featured Actor in a Musical, and most recently, as Riff in the upcoming remake of West Side Story. Mike will be the first to tell you that though he has worked hard to hone his craft and sacrificed for his career. He has had many opportunities and resources that have been unavailable to many in his home state. Imagining thus, the Ohio Artists Gathering was born.
His strong desire to change the lives of young people and give back to the place he calls home has culminated in the creation of this annual collaborative gathering of theatre artists and creatives, unique to Ohio and in partnership with CAPA of Columbus. Originally in partnership with Short North Stage, the project will feature collaboration and mentorship with seasoned Broadway professionals, at no cost to participants. It fosters growth between the artists of our community with artists from around the country.
With help from Short North Stage and the Columbus community, the first festival took place in August of 2018. We brought in actors, directors, and playwrights from Los Angeles, NYC, Chicago, and Dayton to Columbus. Over the course of the week, we workshopped two original shows. Summer of ‘63 by York Walker and Cubicle Farm by Asa Somers. There were opportunities for the public to sit in on the workshop process for both shows free of charge. In the middle of the week, we held a public conversation with Chad Whittington (CAPA), Tom Katzenmeyer (GCAC), Jami Goldstein (GCAC), Bill Goldsmith (Columbus Children's Theatre), Laura Spires (Mad Lab), and Edward Carignan (Short North Stage), moderated by Mike Faist. In this conversation, we discussed the current state of the Columbus theatre community and where it can go in the future. On the final night of the festival, the public could buy tickets to see the final products of the workshopped shows.