After Ilana mentioned in class that Mixed Blood Theatre Company (located in Minneapolis) doesn’t charge for their tickets I was very intrigued. That’s amazing!!! Free theatre!! That’s what I feel is necessary, that will make theatre no longer elite, but a tool of the people once again! Huzzah! So I did some more research to see how this could be sustained. In our capitalistic country, something can survive without charging?? Amazing. And I found at the heart of their plan for sustainability of this initiative exactly what I was hoping for: Giving.
From the Mixed Blood website: http://www.mixedblood.com/radical-hospitality:
“By revolutionizing access, Mixed Blood believes audiences will grow to be truly inclusive and reflective of the entire community. With that growth, Mixed Blood believes that audiences and supporters will embrace the egalitarian core value of the company, providing support in return. Simply put, instead of charging for tickets, audiences will be asked, subsequent to attendance, to voluntarily become supporters of a vision that ensures access for all…”
This theatre company trusts that human beings are good at heart. That we are communal creatures who want to support each other, who value diversity, who care about the arts and who know that theatre is vital. Mixed blood trusts that if you give, you will be given to. It is operating on a giving ideology rather than a taking one, and this truly is radical in our society today. Which brings me to the name. Radical Hospitality. That is so cool!! Often I feel that in order to be radical one must be loud, big, and rebelling against something. I suppose Radical Hospitality is rebelling against charging for tickets, but it is creating something positive in response. It is being the change it wishes to see, not just speaking out against something. I think being Radically open, radically hospitable, radically kind is amazing because it is using positivity as an assertive tool. It is showing that giving is more powerful than taking. It is showing that kindness can be just as strong and insistent of a tool as violence.
Radical Hospitality trusts the community it creates. And it is completely non discriminatory. It is truly egalitarian as everyone can get free tickets regardless of socio-economic position. This is not charity to the poor, but a vision and fostering of a new reality. I want to carry this spirit of creating change with revolutionary, radical acts of generosity with me into my last months at BU and beyond into my professional life!