Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Off Stage Conversations

Hello, this is Andie Arthur, executive director of the South Florida Theatre League with Off Stage Conversations, where I take a look at some of the conversations happening nationally and internationally in our field.

When popcorn movies are more progressive than arts organizations

What the Arts can learn from The Fast and the Furious movie franchise.

A Practical Guide to Casting Actors of Color

Mike Lew has a great practical guide to casting actors of color, with plenty of solid advice. Some of it means planning better -- such as allotting more time to cast actors of color. Other suggestions include hiring a casting director and making a point to see theatre at companies that produce ethnically specific work.

And then he goes broader in the discussion, with this being my favorite bit:
As an industry we cater to the narrowest possible demographics in terms of our audience, and that audience is drying up. I keep hearing “we need to get more people of color into the theater” but you can’t do that by programming “the ethnic slot” play. It’s too fragmented and half-hearted an effort, plus it’s condescending to even think that ethnic audiences will solely choose art based on race. I couldn’t bring in an all-Asian audience if I tried.

But if we create art that is relevant to more people, more people will see it. Which means that we have to stop thinking of race as a checkbox on a headshot, or a slot for one play a season, or a niche audience to target with niche art.

More Americans will come to see theater if the America depicted onstage looks more like the America we actually live in.
If the biggest problem we're facing is declining audiences, why aren't we as a community taking stronger steps to combat that by programing for our community? Does the work on our stages look like South Florida?

Speaking of declining audiences

TRG parses data on subscriptions and subscription audiences.

Plays Are About Humans

TCG has an interview with Amparo Garcia-Crow, where she also articulately discusses diversity.

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