Tom In Montreal
Simón Hanukai, and Tom, in a moment at The Gathering,hosted by The Laboratory For Global Performance and Politics, at GU 2019
BLUES premiere 2014 Billie Allen-Henderson, Susan Prettyman, Tom Minter (playwright) & Emma Strauss (stage manager)
Laree Simon, Tom Minter & Leah HawkinsSING program, Westminster DC 5th May 2018
Radio New Zealand, 2018, early morning interview
Cuz's together, THE ME I WANT TO SING / Karl Minter, Tom, Michael Prettyman SIW 2019
Tom in New Zealand
Playwright, Teaching Artist, Librettist -
though an east coast child, born in NY, in Harlem, I wound up in California, mentored in playwriting by Pat Madsen, at Pomona College.
After a side step into the hospitality industry, my interest in theatre ultimately developed its roots in London, through the support and guidance of Polly Thomas, director of New Playwright's Trust, and later by The London New Play Festival.
Over time my theatre work received further productions in London, as well as New York, Philadelphia, St Paul, MN, Washington, DC, and Auckland, NZ.
The content of these works etch complex currents of race, class, and color, in a weave of multiple arts forms.
The longer, savouring journey..
Pat Madsen was an amazingly gifted educator, and long immersed in theatre, it was a gift to be in her line of vision, although, at that time in my life.. I’d no idea what I wanted to do.. And so, even though our final for the course was to be a completed 1 Act play.. I lagged on the homework. Until the fateful day when Pat, looking down the long table at which the class was held, saw me scribbling away at her having asked us to be prepared to read out the “pivotal monologue” of our main character; she added to the alert, directly to me.. “Mr. Minter, you’ve had plenty of time to have this assignment done. When we come to you, you’ll just have to read what you’ve got.”
The reading came down the line of classmates, to me, and I read what I’d written. There was what seemed like an eternity of silence. And quite in her own tempo, Pat said down the table – “If you have to put yourself under that kind of pressure to do what you do, then keep doing it.”
..and.. what I heard was, ‘you got away with it’.
In the first playwriting class I ever had, which was in my 2nd year at college.. unbeknownst to me, my culminating work was submitted: to the Intercollegiate Play Writing Competition. And won first prize. It was submitted by Pat. And ‘First Prize’: a full production, and the opportunity to follow what that work trail experience was.
..my journey though… had a bit of an ‘aside’ at that point.
My first life was in restaurants, then directly into the ranks of management in hospitality, at Hyatt Hotels, Sheraton Hotel, and Four Season Hotel..
It was a side-track that gave me all kinds of insight and awareness of -people; in ‘real’ conversation - as opposed to ‘social’ communicating; honesty, as opposed to facile side stepping, when a seated guest was pitted between a colleague.. or a partner.. or, an evening’s pleasure, of any kind.
..thing is, when you’re a waiter – no one pays attention to you; as it’s your job to know who’s in charge at the meal, and facilitate their reign there, neatly aware of the others in the group, but always, always, focused on that one person. And in doing that, you feel and hear and witness, all the vagaries, half-truths, greys, and impunity, of people.. speaking words, as meaty as a meal in itself..
Fish to water, I was thrilled. And was learning something about dialogue; although, I didn’t know I was learning anything- but a complete ease of manner, observation, and adroitness in anticipating needs.
This was also a period when there wasn’t a dearth of people of color in upper hotel management, and suddenly, at the right place, at the right time, I was swiftly embraced, full hug, in the timely need for ‘upward’ diversity.
That was a ten year side-step.. -oddly, when I really account for myself, things happen in ten year stretches..
..-so ten years; hotels.
At the close of which, I was in DC, facing my next correct career move anticipated as loping up into Corporate.. -and a timely shiver hit me.. as an encroaching internal debate of unease.. as I allowed myself to feel what I hadn’t fully noticed.. Time, passing. And that I might have ‘missed the boat’ of my life; I could do hotels in my sleep.. but what I was suddenly aware that I wasn’t so certain about, was whether or not the play ..that play.. -was a fluke, or-..
Once realising that, there was nothing else to do. I left hotels; sold everything I had; and leapt into another 10 year journey, in London..