Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the practicality of some of the mantras I’ve developed in the last 4 years. When I watched the Humana Festival Panel one of the topics I found the most compelling, as I mentioned in class, was the assumption that by incorporating new forms of media into the theatrical experience will somehow move theatre forward and develop new audiences. As the panel noted, the vast majority of the current theatre audience in this country, at least on a regional level, is not connected to these forms of media. Incorporating electronic music, twitter feeds, video etc into theatre is cool but it doesn’t bring in the audience with whom 21st century media resonates.
I’ve been realizing I had the same stars in my eyes sensibility with regards to starting a theatre company after graduation. It’s not an immediate goal of mine, but it is something that interests me down the line. My interest in it is based in the philosophies that have become the most important to me in my time here, self-producing, creating work for oneself, being an artistic enterepenuer. Taking Theatre Management this semester has been really encouraging in terms of understanding the logistics of this kind of endeavor. However, when I step back to think about this goal, all I can think is “why?” As this BRILLIANT article by Rebecca Novick from Grant Makers in the Arts points out, as theatre struggles to redefine itself and retain its audiences in this climate, starting structurally inflexible institutions according to a traditional model makes very little sense. The article offers very compelling alternatives on how to make a flexible employment structure and pick and choose elements from different models that work for yours. The sections I found particularly compelling were “Funders Speak Out,” where it analyzes how traditional funding models proliferate the structure not the work, and Part Three, where it further dissects the core problem and addresses how we can support the people not the structure. This article churned up all sort of thoughts in my head. The idea of being an artistic entrepenuer has been very exciting to me since I declared as a Theatre Arts Major, since that seems to be the trend in the professional world these days. Lately I have been thinking a lot about what that entails and am realizing that in this climate it is not enough to be thinking a step ahead, you have to be a step ahead of the step ahead.