Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Off Stage Conversations

Hello Everyone, this is Andie Arthur, executive director of the South Florida Theatre League, and I'm here with Off Stage Conversations, where I take a look at what's being discussed in the national and international theatre community. I'm still recovering from being a playwright in this year's 24 Hour Theatre Project, so this is going to be a short edition.

Death Panels for Arts Organizations

"Some organizations are going to die," she stated. "I want to incentivize them to die quicker." - Devon Smith

This may seem like an odd thing for me to link, considering our community has lost four theatres in the past three years, but I beg you to listen to Smith's words in the video. I've talked before about theatre hospice -- if we acknowledge that organizations will close -- what can we do to make this as painless as possible? Can organizations that are serving similar audiences merge? How can we make our own organizations vital to our communities? And is what we put on our stages reflecting our actual community? And if not, how do we make the changes to make that happen? And can we create theatre hospice?

Latina/o Theatre Commons

HowlRound is hosting a summit on Latina/o Theatre -- with a satellite conversation happening in Miami at Theatro Prometeo. Here's how you can take part and there will be translation services on Saturday. You can also watch the stream on HowlRoundTV.

More on Innovation

Todd London, one of my favorite speakers on the state of American theatre, has a piece in HowlRound on funders and their love of innovation for innovation's sake:
Since when is it the job of funders to dictate what every nonprofit should do? What is the Foundation’s “core competency” that entitles them to tell museums, symphonies, dance and theater companies what is essential to fulfilling their separate, varied, and sometimes vital missions? Evans then suggests that arts organizations might create capital funds for organizational innovation equal to 20 percent of their operating budgets. Have you ever met a company who actually wants more earmarked capital? For years theaters struggled to build endowments to support the long-life of their most essential creative work, to escape the whims of restricted funding. Why in the world would we want a fifth of our budget for mandated newness?

Karina Mangu-Ward, EmcArts’s Director of Activating Innovation seconded Evans’ call on HowlRound last week, “We believe that innovation should be considered a core discipline of organization life, along with marketing, administration, fundraising, etc.” I’d argue the opposite. Instead of adding another department to our bloated institutions, I’d suggest shrinking those existing departments and bringing more artists in.

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