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The Freestanding Room Montreal

the freestanding room is a collection of actors, writers, directors and producers who believe that big things can happen in small places. they like a good story and the chance to tell it fast and easy. together, they tend the freestanding room; an intimate space used to sharpen their tools, corral their ideas, spin their yarns, and sooner rather than later, invite everyone hungry for a tale told simply and authentically to come sit around their fire.

the members of the freestanding room are an autonomous bunch. many of them have their own companies and projects outside of this little circle. they may come together to work on a particular story or they may bring in others from their own posse. the focus remains on the stories, bringing as many great ones as possible to life, and they know that this is more easily accomplished when they free-stand together.

acting president, johanna nutter, explains the freestanding model:

“i based it on a long-standing poker game i used to play; we had a magic number of players who would meet every week. if someone wanted out, they had to find their own replacement. this way, the group never suffered from the pains of expansion or contraction, and the periodic infusions of new blood kept things dynamic. i thought i could apply that structure to an artistic relationship. i also wanted to foster a higher level of communication and co-production within the acting community as a whole and this model struck me as both independent and inclusive enough to make that happen.”

in the case of freestanding, the magic number is 20. members sign on for a minimum period of 3 months and are given a key to the freestanding room. they each have roughly 20 hours per month available to them, access to the calendar for booking time in the space, and an invitation to the monthly meetings where they share projects, generate ideas, and plan improvements to the co-op. they also share in the rent, which amounts to $60 per month per member. when members use the space for a profitable event, like a play or a screening, they give $10 an hour to the freestanding room. along with the earnings from other rentals within the artistic community, these profits go towards lowering the operating costs and purchasing various essentials for the space. when members opt out, they refer to the waiting list, or propose a replacement of their own choosing.

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