I found this article questioning NYC’s status as the cultural capital of the world.
This is a question I have been pondering over the last year or so. Especially after living in London for a semester, and traveling to places like Prague, Madrid, and even San Francisco that are so culturally rich.
I think for theatre artists the most important thing is to be around other like-minded people. Theatre is a collaborative art, so I think you can make an artistic home for yourself anywhere as long as you have a community to make theatre with.
I think the artists of our generation are not migrating to New York City the way they have in the past. The ridiculous living prices is enough to make young artists flee from it all together. Especially with the current economy, artists can’t afford to be artists in expensive cities.
The article makes the point that for people in the fashion industry, Manhattan is still the place to be.
But even Young Jean Lee said living in Manhattan has “just become uncool.”And you can’t argue coolness with Young Jean Lee.
I also wonder if the movement toward small collaborative efforts as opposed to the more traditional theatre company models has impacted the move out of NYC. It has become more hip to make work in an abandoned school building than on a proscenium stage. Even so, NYC still has Broadway. And that is certainly not going away anytime soon.
Most of the artists interviewed in the article have been living in NYC for a while, and when they moved, there were grant coming at them in every direction. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the case for our generation.
Still, I plan to try to move to New York in the fall. I recognize it will be ridiculously expensive and hard to get work, but that doesn’t deter me, or others in our class. Even if New York City fades from being the cultural center of the world, it will always be A cultural center because the arts are part of the foundation of the city. And it will always be an exciting, fast paced environment that will draw young people. I certainly plan to have a great time.