Friday, December 5, 2008

The POST on Local Theatre

Palm Beach Post's Kevin D. Thompson talks with the Palm Beach theatre community, and concludes:
In a depressed economy where money is tight, will people trim arts spending from their budget? So far, it hasn't stopped most local theater lovers.
This is not a new phenomena; theatres were packed during the Depression.
"In tough times people need entertainment, whether it's going to the movies or to the theater," says Lou Tyrrell, Florida Stage's producing director. "I don't think spending money on a show will be the first thing people cut from their budgets."
That's not to say that producers are not worried; theatres across the region have been tightening their belts; Florida Stage has reduced salaries to reduce its operating budget by $700,000 dollars. The Maltz is trimming, too:

The Maltz slashed $186,000 from its $5 million budget in July. "It's better to be tight on a budget and frugal," Trimble says. "If we're wrong, well, we'll have more money in the bank at the end of the year."

Here's something we can hope that news editors pick up on; when things are tough, people want to go out. When people go out, they want to know what the best shows are, and they do that by looking for the reviews. But with this economy, no one is going to jump on a plane and hop up to New York for the weekend.

So if you're not printing many reviews of the shows playing around South Florida, those people are less likely to buy a newspaper.
After all, the point of reading a news paper is to find out what's happening around us, and if you're busy picking things off the wire, you're not serving the needs of your target audience: us.

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