Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Continuing the Conversation

Hello, everyone. It’s Andie Arthur again. With my new Wednesday series on the Scene. I haven’t figured out exactly what I want to call this column, and I’m open to suggestions. So send me your good ideas.


I was interviewed yesterday for Five Minutes to Curtain, and Jason Fisher asked me how do we engage younger audiences? I mentioned this article by Melissa Hillman, the Artistic Director of Impact Theatre.

Hillman hits everything that has bugged me as a twenty-something going to arts events and hearing, “Why don’t people your age go to the theatre?” Marketing is a part of it – but the biggest things are programming hospitality, and pricing. If you are programming plays that are condescending to younger people (and I’ve been to a few in the past year), then as a producer, you have no right to complain that the folks under 40 aren’t coming through your doors. But mostly, and I said this a few times yesterday, it comes down to getting people excited about what you’re doing. Hillman says that our generation goes to the theatre because we think it will be AWESOME, not because it’s good for us. If you program something that a younger audience would find awesome, let that audience know, make it reasonably priced, and most importantly, make them feel welcome – you can develop a younger audience.

She also answers the “but they’ll pay $60 for a concert ticket!?” question correctly.

If you as a producer are really interested in younger audiences, please take this article to heart. One of the outcomes of that may be a realization that you don’t want a younger audience, and that’s okay too. With all the new theatre springing up in South Florida, there’s room for everyone.

(And if you’re on twitter, you really should follow Hillman.)


13P started out as a group of thirteen playwrights dedicated to producing thirteen plays, one by each playwright, and once the final production the group would end. 13P is a really interesting case study for a new model of looking at theatre. Partly because it’s a great example of playwrights choosing their own path instead of waiting to be validated by the new play development process, but also because it was conceived as a finite thing.

HowlRound has two articles right now, looking at the implosion of 13P, one by playwright Rob Handel and one by producer Maria Goyanes.

Handel’s piece speaks to the idea of creating a nonprofit organization with a mission that can be achieved. He speaks that because the mission was achievable – it became attractive to funders. If you’re one of the many groups just starting out (and I have one of my own), I think it’s valuable to take a look at what your mission is and what it would mean to achieve it.

Maria Goyanes’ piece takes a look at how we end a theatre company and how to be an end of life doula. Over the past two years, I’ve had many conversations about what the League as an arts service organization could do to be a theatre hospice – how can we help companies end in the most graceful way possible. I think this way of looking at the end of a company is helpful, and perhaps finite missions and planned implosions are a healthy way for the theatre community to change and grow.


The Rude Mechs have a short, lovely manifesto on rehearsal.


Playwright Adam Szymkowicz (whose work has been seen locally at The Naked Stage and City Theatre) has spent the past few years interviewing playwrights for his blog. He’s amassed over 500 interviews. If you’re looking for a new playwright to discover, here is a great place to start.

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