Wednesday, November 5, 2008

AEA Showcase Code reform begins at home

In the spirit of change, community motivation and hard work ahead, I’m happy to spread the word that the AEA showcase code reform movement is again receiving attention. On Theatre and Politics has great information linked to his post regarding this issue.

The showcase code is being re-evaluated by Equity, and Michael Bell - a member of the AEA Off-Off Broadway subcommittee - has announced that he'd like to hear thoughts from code participants on how the AEA Showcase Code works (or doesn’t) for them.

If you've had experiences with the AEA Showcase Code, your voices are instrumental in moving this forward. Share your experiences and suggestions by emailing him or by commenting on his announcement.

Spread the word!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Obsession: Katie Mitchell

I've been low-grade obsessed with UK director Katie Mitchell since this fall. The Guardian has a great interview with her today. (Read it, you'll love it.)

Notable for the big conversations happening in the theatreblogosandbox:
Do you suffer for your art?

No. It is a source of great joy for me, and I still pinch myself that people pay me to do it.

Career: Joined the Royal Shakespeare Company as a director in 1998. Is now an associate director at the National Theatre, London (020-7452 3000), where her production of ...Some Trace of Her opens on July 30.

High point: "I don't do highs and lows. Theatre is hard graft, and I try to maintain a steady equilibrium."

Notable just because:

What's the best advice you've had?

A Russian woman called Professor Soloviova once saw a hit show of mine and said: "It looks very beautiful, but there's absolutely nothing going on between the actors." It set me up to ensure that was never the case again.

Quick anecdote:
I went on a Kurosawa and sushi date with an old friend this weekend. After the movie we started talking about how we're both devoted to oddballs like David Lynch and Akira Kurosawa, but I've never liked anything by Stanley Kubrick or Alfred Hitchcock. (I know, right?) I appreciate them as genius artists, but I find their films pretty boring. Anyway, I think my Kubrick/Hitchcock ambivalence is mostly about this feeling I get that neither of them care about their actors. Ms. Mitchell's quote made me think of that conversation, and how live performance can fall into a similar trap of looking great but feeling pretty empty.

Oh, and, bonus, Mitchell's Waves is coming to Lincoln Center this fall. See you there!

Introducing Morgan Tachco!

Ahem! I think an introduction is in order.

I am extremely pleased to welcome a second writer to Resources for Emerging Arts Leaders, my friend and colleague Morgan Tachco.

Morgan is a formidable presence in the New York indie-theatre scene, and her insights and intellect are second to none.

And, of course, I'm always thrilled to welcome another girl to the theatre-blogging sandbox.

And I promise to post more regularly. If only because I'm nervous you'll all catch on fast that Morgan's smarter than me.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Notes on the 2nd Indie Theatre convocation

As with many other artists at the Barrow Street Theatre on Saturday, I attended under a few auspices. Personally, I was there for the IT Awards, as an actress/producer and to see how The League of Independent Theatre has evolved since its beginning stages (disclosure: I am on staff at the New York Innovative Theatre Awards and was in the beginning meetings of litny’s Steering Committee as a then member of Horse Trade and a founder of the FRIGID New York festival).

The purpose of the convocation was to reconnect the community, catch up on progress made over the last two years, learn about NYTE’s new web launches, and to introduce the new advocacy group for Off-Off Broadway: The League of Independent theatre, or LIT, or litny. I was excited to catch up with many people I haven’t seen in awhile, and had a good time; some highlights were:

Rochelle Denton’s speech
that talked about how we define ourselves as Off-Off theatre artists and made the case for maintaining our individual definitions, missions, language, goals and to honor our Off-Off heritage while uniting under one new idea – indie theatre. The title had required some defense and justification, as I know of some artists that were confused as to the meaning of the term, whether their work garnered the indie theatre label, what it meant, why it was necessary, etc. Rochelle’s speech did a nice job of clearing the confusion a bit, and besides the fact that she’s hilarious and great to listen to - I’d be interested to read others’ comments. 2.0! Martin Denton announced a “web 2.0” launch to contribute to the existing site that involves an artist directory, an RSS feed, video trailers, evolving his already successful podcast into a video podcast & more, all to be in effect come fall. Congrats and thank you for tapping into this, NYTE.

We learned how AEA members can join the Off-Off Broadway Committee, which is the best trajectory to make code reform a reality: ANY AEA member can call the OOB rep at Equity and tell him you want to take part. He will contact you to attend a meeting, and as long as you attend two, you will be a member. You are not obligated to attend every meeting. The hot-button code reform issue carried a more positive and hopeful tone than I’ve heard in at least a year.

In the end, I was happy to have so many people together and glad I attended, but was with the majority of people commenting on Martin’s blog in feeling left in the dark about LIT’s specific goals for the convocation. There has been some discussion there, Chris Harcum had some good ideas for the league, and John Clancy responded to the confusion with some clarifications. I'd like to hear more people's thoughts.

My most pertinent suggestion to LITNY would be to start an online presence IMMEDIATELY – re-open the blog, start a Facebook group, I’d really LOVE it if they started a ning or something like it – but at least an interim web portal is necessary: where people can read the statement of purpose & articles of incorporation, what litny thinks the issues are directly affecting us and their goals to achieve them, and be informed about litny events. There was mention of a TCG free night of theatre marketing event with litny that I’m sure people want to know more about, for example, and there is another LIT event next week. People need a forum to post questions, concerns, accolades, comments, etc, and most importantly be informed. The point was made that it’s difficult to repeat town hall-like events to gather community opinions – which is true – and the web is a place where most of their prospective members sit for at least six hours a day. It would benefit LITNY to be there, too.

The next litny event will be next week at the UndergroundZero festival on Tuesday, June 22nd at the Manhattan Children’s Theater, which I look forward to. The IT Awards will be at that event and have been given time to discuss The Off-Off Broadway surveys we are conducting in order to better advocate on behalf of the community with litny, currently surveying demographics among individual artists. Our last findings were published in the Off-Off Broadway budget report, which was very exciting, and created a buzz about the actual numbers OOB works with, which were higher than expected with the participating group. We need a much broader base for our current survey: 6,000 by October...You can help make that happen here.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

"Is She too Fat to Play Nancy?"

Some people are annoyed about picking the lead of a Broadway (or West End) show via reality TV.

In my ideal universe, this would never happen. But my ideal Broadway season would feature Sam Shepard, Joe Penhall, Sarah Kane, Suzan-Lori Parks, Martin McDonagh, and John Belluso... and everything would be directed by Alex Timbers, or Katie Mitchell. And star Billy Crudup, Elaine Stritch, Anthony Mackie, and Alfre Woodard. (To prove that Drowning Crow was a cosmic anomaly, of course.) My ideal Broadway season: not bloody likely.

Personally, I don't mind it so much. I mean, are you acquainted with Connie, the winner of the Sound of Music competition? Um, she is brilliant. Seriously, what's worse - picking a populist Broadway star on TV, or warming-over a tired show with Drew Lachey?

Anyway, that's not the point. The point is this - a summary of some very upsetting reactions to Jodie, the recent winner of "I'd Do Anything", who will be playing Nancy in Oliver! come January. "Is she too fat to play Nancy?" Too fat to play Nancy? Good grief. This sort of snarking just shouldn't happen in the theatre community.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

LMDA Tackles Technology

Those of you not on the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) listserv are missing out on some rockin' exchanges about technology's role in the daily life of an arts-maker.

For example, some of the questions being asked and answered:

- How have dramaturgs used technology to communicate with actors/directors/creative teams?
- How have theatre-makers used technology to communicate or interact with audiences?
- What successes (or drawbacks) have literary departments experienced with electronic submissions?
- How do you get creative students to use online resources like BlackBoard?

I don't mean to state the obvious, but human communication is changing. Blogs aren't just for reporting what the writer had for breakfast, and email isn't just for setting up meetings. Databases aren't just for keeping track of a mailing list, and Excel isn't just for balancing budgets. Right? I am psyched to see LMDA discussing how to use these resources to make theatre better, more open, and more efficient!

Now - if we could just get that outdated listserv replaced with a wiki...

The Times Devotes Some Major Space to Cultural Economics

It's pretty unusual that the New York Times, or any publication for that matter, goes into much depth about cultural economics - so if you're into that sort of thing (and I know my readers are!), I highly recommend reading Michael Kimmelman's thoughtful piece on the German performance venue Festpielhaus Baden-Baden.

As you probably are aware, European cultural policy is pretty much the opposite of American cultural policy (as in over there, almost all funds come from the government). In my experience, most American arts-makers swoon over this idea. I'm ambivalent. While far from perfect, I'm a big fan of the diversity in the American arts funding model. Anyway, Kimmelman's article goes into some really interesting detail about the pitfalls of state-funding arts - namely, inertia and complacency.

From the article:
...[T]he system, bloated and not everywhere well managed, inevitably produces much mediocrity. The reality is that about 20 percent of the budget for Berlin’s three struggling opera companies today must come from private contributions. Bayreuth scrambles to raise nearly half its budget from donations and ticket sales. It would have gone bankrupt by now if donors hadn’t made up for deficits due to bad leadership.

The concept behind the Festspielhaus was to rejuvenate this city of 50,000 as a cultural destination. “It was a revolution,” said Rüdiger Beermann, the Festspielhaus’s spokesman, “and also a blasphemy in Germany, even though it always used to be the dukes and the counts and the rich people who paid for the arts. At first nobody, absolutely nobody except our patrons supported the idea, and also the audience and the artists, who enjoyed coming.”

Mr. Mölich-Zebhauser elaborated on that thought one recent morning. “With the private sector comes enthusiasm, competence in finance and responsibility,” he said.

... “The truth is that Americans might do better to increase public funding for the arts a little,” he added. “And here we have to become a little less lazy.”

Cultural Capital Freakout-Geekout!

I will be going to this:

Saving Our Cultural Capital:

The Challenges Facing Independent Venues and Artists in Manhattan
Saturday, June 7th, 2:00pm – 6:00pm
Wolman Hall, 64 West 11th Street

A symposium hosted by The Tank, Milano The New School For Management and Urban Policy, and Fractured Atlas, in cooperation with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer

Co-hosted by Collective Unconscious, chashama, The Field and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

New York City is a world-renowned cultural destination: from big-budget Broadway shows to dance performances in small Brooklyn lofts to Chelsea gallery openings. The performing arts drive the city's economy and tourism and give New York the cultural texture that makes it a uniquely dynamic environment.

As cost-of-living and real estate prices continue to rise, can young artists and small venues still call Manhattan home? New York – and Manhattan, in particular – cannot lose the energy brought by these individuals and organizations, and the higher-market entertainment industry in the city relies on their innovations…but can we still make New York work for the emerging arts? This event will bring together city officials, arts professionals, business representatives, advocates and freelancers for an afternoon of conversation about solutions to the challenges facing independent venues and emerging artists in Manhattan.

This event is FREE and open to
artists, advocates, policy-makers, foundation representatives
& everyone committed to keeping Manhattan the cultural capital of the world.

Saturday, June 7th, 2:00pm – 5:30pm
Wolman Hall, The New School, 64 West 11th Street
2:00pm: Doors open
2:30pm: Keynote speech by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer
3:00pm – 4:30pm: Panel discussion on the challenges facing independent venues and artists in Manhattan, followed by a Q&A session
4:30pm – 5:30pm: Livable New York Services Fair and Happy Hour with complimentary drinks, highlighting the resources available to freelance artists and small organizations including healthcare, accounting and law services. Featured organizations include:
• The Actors Fund
• ArtBusiness Initiative/Seedco Financial
• Arts & Business Council of New York
• Fractured Atlas
• New York City Performing Arts Spaces
• Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

More information:

See you there!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Do you understand the sub-prime mortgage crisis?

Would you like to?

Maybe you already heard last week's This American Life, but if you're not an addict like me, you might want to check out the free podcast for a clear and wonderful dissection of what has been going wrong with the economy for the last several years.

Then, bonus, head over to TCG's (free, downloadable) audio transcript of a recent teleconference with former Secretary of the Treasury, Robert Rubin. Rubin breaks it down in elegant and excruciating detail, and makes some surprisingly deft observations on the cultural economy. The second half of the transcript is a Q&A with theatre-practitioners, and I am happy to report that we seem to hold our own with one of the brightest economic minds of his generation.

I've been trying to pull my head out of the sand and not freak so much about the economic bubble popping all around us... it's not quite working yet, but I guess I'll keep trying.

Another Conference I Can't Attend

The 15th International Conference on Cultural Economics:

6/12-6/15 in Boston

-Scale, Scope and "Crowding Out" in the Nonprofit Lively Arts: Economic Analysis of Organizations in a Geographic Market
-The Socioeconomic Composition of Arts Participation: Definitions, Evidence and Policy Issues
- Innovation in the Cultural Industries
- Artists' Demographic Characteristics and Employment Patterns in the US
- To Dare or Not to Dare: Key Risks in London's Cultural Industries
- Tax Incentives as a Tool for Cultural Policy: The Experience of Japan, Italy, and Bulgaria

Oh boy. Four days of cultural economics freakout-geekout in my hometown? And it overlaps NPAC? Why does everything happen when I'm already busy? Phooey.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP)

No, I didn't get hit by a bus - just buried under some exams and term papers. Hopefully I'll put out a mini-avalanche of posts in the next few days to catch up.

First, I wanted to highlight the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), a new annual survey designed to track what artists actually do with their lives once they leave school.

Besides Theatrefacts, I can't think of another long-term study of cultural engagement and involvement. (If I'm missing something, please let me know!) I can't figure out how they're choosing the survey participants, but I'd be happy to volunteer.

From the press release:

SNAAP is a visually engaging online survey system to collect, track, and disseminate national data about the artistic lives and careers of alumni who trained as visual, performing, or literary artists at both the high school and college levels. As an ongoing research system, it will allow education institutions, researchers and arts leaders to look at the systemic factors that helped or hindered the career paths of alumni, whether they have chosen to work as artists or pursue other paths.

Neither an exit nor a longitudinal survey, SNAAP will be administered as an annual survey of alumni at specified junctures following their institutionally-based arts training 5, 10, 15 and 20 years after graduation. Once fully operational, SNAAP findings will allow for national and other comparisons and can be disaggregated in various other ways so that institutions can better understand, for example, how students in different majors use their arts training in their careers and other aspects of their lives.

So. Excited. About. This.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Weekend Reading

I am in love with Leonard Jacobs' interview with Andrei Belgrader and the cast of BAM's Endgame.

Alvin Epstein, currently playing Nagg, played Lucky in the first US performance of Waiting for Godot, and played Clov in the first US performance of Endgame. Forgive the italics - it's the best I can do for a national treasure.

From the interview - Elaine Stritch, on Beckett's intelligence:
Beckett must have been some sort of a fucking genius. I think he was one hell of a smart son of a bitch. I'm just getting this off my chest.
Finals this week! Back to posting next week.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Weekend Listening

I just discovered this archive of Americans for the Arts video and sound recordings (thanks, Mission Paradox). I'm looking forward to listening to Daniel Pink's address at this year's Arts Advocacy day on the train home tonight - I've heard it was amazing. Also featured: speeches from the 2007 Americans for the Arts convention, 2007 Arts Advocacy Day, and the Americans for the Arts podcast, ARTcast.

Weekend Reading

I know, I know, I should probably change the name of this blog to "Sarah's Writer-Crush on Lyn Gardner"... but how great is this? Let's clone her.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Obsession: Leechblock

According to Google Analytics, most of my readers use Firefox (also my browser of choice). I want to sing the praises of one particular Firefox Add-on: Leechblock.

Leechblock takes about 30 seconds to install, and once it's up and running, you can use it to block time-wasting sites. I've created a few different sets of blocks, like one set of sites is blocked for my entire work day, one set is blocked after I've spent 15 minutes on the site, etc. Suddenly my papers are being written in record time, and I am no longer cruising Facebook all day checking out my middle-school boyfriend's profile. Even emerging arts leaders need some time-management help once in a while.

Lifehacker keeps track of the best Firefox Add-ons, if you're interested in other ways to soup up your browser.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Philadelphia: Christmas in April

This is a nice wrap-up of the massive bailout of Philadelphia's no-longer-flailing Kimmel Center.

My favorite part comes at the end

Now that the debt is gone, Ewers said, the Kimmel will concentrate on two other ambitious efforts: enlivening the public spaces of the center, which are currently populated only around performance times, and undertaking an acoustical remake of Verizon Hall.

Questions about the acoustical work involve not only how to fund it, but also whether the hall's original acoustician or another firm should undertake the effort. Strategies for enlivening the public spaces were unveiled last week in a series of ideas crafted by PennPraxis, the University of Pennsylvania planning authority, proposing physical changes to the building.

Ooh, go with the original acoustician! He deserves a second crack at it.

What's Next?

Adam Thurman has a great post today over at Mission Paradox about using a "who's next" strategy to recruit board members, like if you want to recruit a lawyer, instead of looking straight to the partners, maybe check out "who's next" in the succession line.

This reminded me of something a super-successful director once told me - that no matter what he's working on, he always has a "what's next" ready, like "I'd love to direct a version of King Lear in Sarajevo", or "I want to do a water-ballet version of The Trojan Women", or "I want to direct my friend's script about food poisoning". (None of these were his actual idea, which was so great I don't want to spill the beans on him.)

I am now addicted to "what's next". I love my job, I love going to school, but I know exactly what I would do if someone offered me $10,000 (or $100!). I know how to express my dream in one sentence. I'm not a director, but I think this is a brilliant way to approach any career in the arts.

Like your company just launched a successful new-play festival. What's next? A full production of one of the featured plays? An initiative to add a playwriting fellowship to next year's programming?

Or you just got a job at an organization you love. What's next? Thinking about going back to school part-time? Using your newfound fiscal stability to start a reading series? Writing a blog?

Or you were just selected for a prestigious directing fellowship. What's next? Setting a goal to re-mount one of your shows professionally? The Trojan Women as water-ballet? (Just kidding.)

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Lyn Gardner, on the possible over-use of technology in theatre:
From what I've seen of it so far, Fifty-Nine's contributions to the productions on which they collaborate, whether it is in Black Watch or the adaptation of the cartoon Alex, are integral to the production and always in service of it. But I keep seeing productions in which it appears as if playing with the technologies is the prime interest of the theatre-makers, rather than the show itself.
The Fifty-Nine Gardner refers to is director Katie Mitchell's awesome in-house video production team. This essay is worth reading for the bonanza of experimental-theatre links Gardner has packed into it alone.

Whether technology is over or under-used in theatre is, of course, a concern for American theatremakers as well. The use of technology seems to really aggravate theatremakers' insecurities about our medium's relevance; we think we need to use technology to legitimize our existence, and it ends up being weilded around like a clumsy sledgehammer. A lighting designer friend of mine likes to joke that the measure of a green, usually unskilled director is their insistence on using "slides" in their production. On the other hand, when used well, it is seamless and unbearably cool - an iPod generating random, personal music for a dance piece, or the Wooster group creating a spooky, campy, double-reality Hamlet, or a great little film I saw used in Sweet Bird of Youth at Williamstown a few seasons ago.

Clearly, I live in NY, so my perspective is decidedly Northeastern. I'd love to hear readers' thoughts on the use of technology in regional productions.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Shuffle Culture

My ex-boyfriend is a visual artist (he's very good). Hanging out with him for like 6 years made me realize how totally different the visual art and theater communities are. When it comes to innovation, visual artists outclass theatre artists like it's their job.

Why is this? Well, after years of being lead around to galleries, openings, and gallery-openings, it finally dawned on me that visual art, unlike theater, is free to look at. Anybody can waltz into the Gagosian and check out a Cy Twombly (priced up to like $4.5 million), but free theater is for the most part nonexistant. I think this leads to some other important distinctions, like if I wanted to see something new by 100+ theater artists, it would probably take me six months (a year?), and several thousands of dollars. On the other hand, if I wanted to see something new by 100+ visual artists, all I would have to do is walk around Williamsburg on the second Friday of the month (or Chelsea, or whatever).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a big fan of the art scene (there's a reason he's my ex-boyfriend). But oh, do I envy their access. And I'm not advocating a night where 100+ theatre artists open up their rehearsal processes (well... maybe). But in the spirit of communication, I would like to draw your attention to these productions, all recent or ongoing, that are doing some remarkable things:

Contains Violence, currently getting terrible reviews in the UK, which is disappointing, because it sounds awesome. Theatre audience as Hitchcockian voyeur, happening in real time and space.

Democracy in America, Annie Dorsen's open-source deconsctruction/reconsctruction of deTocqueville with the Foundry Theatre.

Conversation Storm, recently at the Frigid Festival, described by Aaron Riccio as a marriage of Phillip Glass and Chuck Mee

Of All the People in All The World, by Stan's Cafe. A play without a plot.

Small Metal Objects by Back to Back Theatre, which I've written about before. Site-specific, tech-forward, and live as anything can possibly be.

The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, a play without words; "people-watching raised to the level of art"

Along these lines, I'd also like to point out this post from the Guardian Theatre Blog, which calls for an "iPod-like relationship between careful planning and chance" in theatre (Merce Cunningham is already all over this). I love this idea, and I think the performances listed above are making real strides in this direction. The live performing arts have got to fit into the landscape of open-source, of shuffle culture, and of personal control over information. I mean, we should own this one. We're live.

Score one for the little guys

The Times weighs in on the NYTW firings a few days before I expected them to. Unsurprisingly, Campbell Robertson doesn't mention that ecoTheater scooped the New York Times.

Let's hear it for the blogosphere!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Across the Pond

And then we have Europe, where the arts are funded by the government, bold risks are taken, everyone prances about in lederhosen and wellie boots, and priorites are just as confused as anywhere else.

Take these two wildly disparate stories for example:

The Telegraph reports, on a list of the top 100 most powerful people in British culture, seven are in theatre, including the amazing Nicholas Hytner of the National Theatre who comes in at #1. The man who pioneered the 10-Pound ticket and championed bizarro productions by Katie Mitchell and Melly Still gets the #1 spot. The list is full of brave, risk-taking artists and arts managers - Tom Stoppard, Michael Grandage of the Donmar Warehouse, Damon Albarn of Blur/Gorrilaz/etc., Nicholas Serota of the Tate Modern. Even dear old Kevin Spacey! I find it particularly heartwarming to have Hytner at the top of the list, as he consistently demonstrates that he is all about the work, all about access, and not at all about commercialism or ego. Makes me wonder who might get that honor in the US. Peter Gelb? Martin Scorsese? Robert Redford?

Ok, that's encouraging, but don't get too excited: apparently the UK isn't the only place in Europe experiencing an arts funding crisis. In language eerily similar to reports on this fall's UK arts funding crisis comes this report from Prague, which goes into excruciating detail on the pitfalls of public funding. From the first paragraph of the article:
The relationship between Prague’s nonprofit arts organizations and City Hall has long been strained by a series of culture policy changes and grant delays. But the latest funding flare-up brought the situation to a fever pitch, and this week arts groups started a petition calling for policy revisions and the resignation of involved city officials.
Yikes. You've got to love Europe - extolling the virtues of their arts community in one paragraph, snatching their money away in the next. Oh well.

Along these lines, if you're not maxed-out on the shrill discourse surrounding the UK funding crisis, here's an interview with the new head of the English Arts Council. That man has his work cut out for him.

On Priorities

Last semester, the big assignment in one of my classes was a group case study of a performing arts organization. On the day of our final projects, my very wise professor asked each group what the artists thought about working for these organizations. Most of us were stumped (luckily, my group had an answer). In all of our diligent research, ours was the only group to reach out to the artists employed by the company, and I'll admit that our efforts were pretty weak. Talk about a wake-up call.

No matter how basic this sounds, when you're sticking your arms elbow deep into Forms 990, balance sheets, and industry trend reports, it's hard to keep your priorities where they ought to be: on the art. Clearly, this effect can cause some big problems. I mean, why on earth would a respectable institution like the New York Theatre Workshop build a costume and scene shop, then promptly fire its entire production staff (see: ecoTheater)? I'm sure there are things going on there that I don't get, but it seems like a pretty lopsided decision to me.

To counter this disappointing turn of events, here's a story I came across via the Fractured Atlas blog: Luis Cancel, the newly appointed Director of Cultural Affairs for the City and County of San Francisco, declares that affordable housing for the city’s artists is a top priority. Hooray!

So, a New York theater fires its production staff in a move to stay fiscally afloat (so they say), and on the other side of the country, an entire city declares that artists are so important that keeping them around is a top priority.

I keep thinking about those blank stares offered up by myself and my classmates when asked about the artists' opinions. I mean, shouldn't that have been the first thing we checked? We were all pretty well prepared for questions about the institutions' fiscal health... but if the artists aren't happy, then you've really got nothing to sell. I'm not a big advocate for artist-managers, but this seems like a compelling argument for more direct managerial involvement in the production of art. (See the excellent 99 Seats for more thoughts on artist-manager integration.)

By the way, I'll say it again: Fractured Atlas is cool as hell. Read their blog. It is wonderful.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Weekend Reading

Ian David Moss did something really cool today at Createquity - he live-blogged what sounds like a killer conference at Yale (Jennifer Kiger, Gigi Sohn, Sergio Munoz Sarmiento... sigh). Moss writes up some top-notch discussions on intellectual property and audience development for our reading pleasure.

By the way, how many of you have signed up for the NPAC conference? I can't make it this year, but it's going to be a major event, housing all these organizations:

Alternate Roots • American Association of Community Theatre • American Composers Forum • American Music Center • Americans for the Arts • Association of Performing Arts Presenters • Chamber Music America • Chorus America • Conductors Guild • Creative Capital • Dance/USA • Early Music America • Folk Alliance • Grantmakers in the Arts • International Association for Jazz Education • International Performing Arts for Youth • International Society of Performing Arts Administrators • Kaiser Permanente Educational Theater Program • League of American Orchestras • Meet The Composer • Music Critics Association of North America • National Assembly of State Arts Agencies • National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts • National Performance Network • North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents • OPERA America • Theatre Communications Group • University/Resident Theatre Association

Crazy. ArtsJournal started an NPAC blog, which I read mostly to make myself sad that I can't go to the conference.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Did anyone notice that the Lucille Lortel awards revoked Daniel Fish's nomination for Paradise Park, and gave it to Annie Dorsen? Not that I don't think Ms. Dorsen deserves it, she is awesome, but was it necessary to snatch back Fish's nomination?

This just baffles me. It makes everyone look bad - especially the Lortel awards. Why not just say "oops, please add Annie Dorsen to the list"? It's not like they have to give the award to Fish just because he's nominated. And wow, I would hate to be Annie Dorsen in this situation.

And how did this happen in the first place? This is the kind of thing I would read over once or twice before I released it to the media. I would be really curious to know where this communication broke down - whether it was a press agent, or management, or what.

There must have been a better way to handle this. I don't get it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Am I totally cynical if I think this is kind of lame?

Newsflash: MTC has announced an initiative to offer tickets for $30 to people under 30. These under-30-year-olds will have to log on to the MTC website and join a group or something.

I don't know about you, but for most of my under-30 life, $30 was like half of my weekly budget. I wouldn't even spend $30 on shoes.

Ok, I'm exaggerating a little. Why am I complaining? I'm such a crank.

On Bringing up the Rear

Do the words "America's Giving Challenge" ring a bell? Yes? No? The recent experiment/competition exploring how Web2.0 tools (blogs, social media, etc.) can be used for fundraising? That's detailed nicely in this New York Times Article?

Well, the winners were recently announced, and I noticed two really interesting trends in the results:
1. The winners are all tiny, grassroots organizations
2. No arts organizations!

Sean Stannard-Stockton of the Tactical Philanthropy blog goes over the America's Giving Challenge winners in this post, suggesting that small nonprofits are way ahead of larger companies in terms of adopting these new tools. Well, he's right - for example, the United Way used a Superbowl commercial to announce a campaign using text messaging as a tool for rescue workers. Good for the United Way! But excuse me, where are the arts?

Bringing up the rear, as usual.

I'll admit, it's hard to warm up to some of these Web2.0 resources... like Twitter, which seems like possibly the most annoying thing anyone ever thought of. But then again, I thought YouTube seemed pretty annoying until someone pointed me in the direction of some deeply weird old public access clips. Even Twitter shows some promise when applied to common problems in our community. Maybe Twitter might be helpful in sharing leads for jobs, internships, auditions, or calls for submissions? Or actors trying to sublet their apartments while they go out of town? Or sharing micro-reviews of performances and readings?

These resources are free, and the people who use them are young, smart, and savvy - exactly the demographic every arts manager is desperately trying to recruit. There's more to this problem than creating a Facebook page, or starting a blog (although those are good steps in the right direction). Wouldn't you want to be the person who cracked this one open?

In the meantime, here are some theatre-type Web2.0 resources:

Slideshare is by far the nerdiest Web2.0 application, which makes it by default my favorite. It's like YouTube for Powerpoint-type slideshows... but I promise, it is fascinating and amazing. I recommend this presentation on how the Web is transforming arts organizations.

TCG challenges theatres to make a 3-minute video about their companies

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

This is Cool... and Kind of Weird

In today's edition of Oddball Theatre News, the Seattle Shakespeare Company and the Wooden O Theatre Company have decided to "merge their nonprofit operations", as reported in the Seattle Times.

What's going on over there? Is this an example of Big Shakespeare Company eats Little Shakespeare Company, or is something much, much cooler happening?

The number of nonprofits (and specifically nonprofit arts organizations) continues to grow at an exponential rate (click here for an excellent report on this phenomenon). Many new companies have a hard time distinguishing themselves, and for good reason. How many new companies have you heard of that are "dedicated to new work" or "dedicated to supporting the emerging artist"? What does that even mean?

To be clear, I'm not hating on companies that say they want to support new work, or support emerging artists. There is no nobler mission, in my opinion. And I'm not saying MTC and the Roundabout should get married because they do basically the same thing. (Let's be honest, they do.) I'm just totally fascinated by the idea that two similar theater companies could look at each other, see two sides of the same mirror, and decide that they would be better off working together.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Lyn Gardner on Producing

I am truly, madly, deeply devoted to Lyn Gardner's theatre coverage in the Guardian, and my ardor deepens with her current blog posting, "Producers are theatre's true champions".

I mean, how's this for a clear-eyed perspective:
These producers are not just supporting projects, booking tours and raising money but also providing the creative spark that brings particular artists together and actually initiates projects. Their work is artist-centred and does not diminish the role of the artist but actually enhances and enables it.
I think it's often hard to see producers/managers as anything other than nasty gatekeepers... which sometimes true, and sometimes way off the mark. But I think we've all known a few really great managers - people you feel totally comfortable talking to, and you feel confident that whatever you say or ask will be heard, and addressed fairly. People who are genuinely excited just to make art possible.

Friday, April 4, 2008

A Lesson in Grant Writing from the Editorial Staff of the Onion

Want a free lesson in grant writing? The philanthropy desk at the Onion writes a near-perfect request for funding... for a fictional pole-vaulting foundation.

A friend once told me her singing coach regularly advised her to mimic how she thought an opera star would sound in order to sing well. This little article makes me wonder wonder if that approach could work for grant writing - write something you think is so outlandishly over-the-top in order to hit the mark.

Anyway, here's a quote from the article... it's very, very funny.
The statistics are sobering. Studies have shown that less than 5 percent of the poorest urban youth have adequate pole-vaulting facilities. Sadly enough, many schoolchildren have never even pole-vaulted at all, and less than 1 percent go on to pursue a career in pole-vaulting after leaving school. By comparison, 9 percent of American college students have received some exposure to the valuable character-building experience that sprinting full speed, stopping suddenly, and then elevating many feet into the air due to altered angular momentum around a fulcrum can be.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I. Love. This. Essay

David Cote gets it 100% right over at Time Out New York.

It would be my wildest wish to send any discussion of contemporary theatre in this direction. Positive, thoughtful, hopeful.

Three cheers!

Friday, February 22, 2008

UK creates 5,000 arts apprenticeships

Wow! UK Culture Secretary Andy Burnam announced yesterday that the government will sponsor 5,000 arts apprenticeships. 5,000!

I guess we could split hairs about these not being real jobs, and advancing the indentured servitude of arts interns... but I'm pretty excited about the UK government's investment in creative human capital. I don't know if the US could adopt this kind of measure country-wide, but maybe individual states?

I'm just going to go ahead and quote the article, because it makes me feel so good. Ok?

The government said it was the first ever comprehensive plan for official support for the creative industries. The strategy is designed to provide the industries with an unrivalled pool of talent to draw upon, and the same formal, structured support associated with other industries.

Burnham said: "Making a career out of your passion and a business from your ideas - that's what we want to help Britain achieve. So now is the time to recognise the growing success story that is Britain's creative economy and build on it.

"The creative industries must move from the margins to the mainstream of economic and policy thinking, as we look to create the jobs of the future."

The BBC, Tate Liverpool, Universal Music Group and Monkeydevil Design are among the first to sign up to offer apprenticeships. Other companies already committed to the scheme include Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the National Trust, the Royal Shakespeare Company and National Museums Liverpool.

"Until recently the creative industries were seen as a bit of a Cinderella part of the economy, but things have now changed, as they should. We're second only to the service sector in our contribution to the economy and its good news that the government now recognises our importance", said Wayne Hemingway of Hemingway Design.

More than 1.9 million people are currently employed in the "creative industries", a higher share of the UK workforce than the US, Canada and France.

"The brilliant thing about publishing a strategy for the creative economy is that it recognises how hugely important creativity is to national success," said David Kester, the chief executive of the Design Council. "We can sometimes take for granted that we live in an open society which allows creativity to flourish in our young people and across many diverse professions, such as design, film and music."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why is this so hard?

"Engaging the audience" is having a big moment:

NYTimes critic Charles Isherwood dips his toe in the interactive theatre water here

Lyn Gardner, my favorite Guardian theatre critic/blogger, wonders if "The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other" might be better performed outside

This isn't exactly breaking news, but Improv Everywhere continues to push the boundaries of theatre in playful, exciting ways... and it's spreading to the UK! (Their This American Life stories are wonderful and a little heartbreaking.)

And then we have this article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, discussing a recent Heinz foundation initiative dispursing funds to arts organizations to come up with new ways to engage the audience. The results:

• Concert messaging at Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. A screen displayed information about music and the PSO between pieces, to reach out to the audience and disrupt the usual concert format.

• Changing signs at Andy Warhol Museum Brillo Boxes exhibit. Over eight weeks, officials went from using no interpretive signs to displaying proactive ones to investigate visitor experiences and interpretation.

• In the Dancer's Studio, Stagestruck and Beginning Ballet with Bob at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. These behind-the-scenes workshops let the audience inside the creative process.

• Girls Night Out at City Theatre. Friday night group specials with drink discounts and massages show that arts events with friends can be fun.

• Point of View Writing Workshops at Silver Eye Center for Photography. Participants write short stories related to photography to foster opinion sharing and interaction with art.

• Circle discussions at Quantum Theatre. Board members invite subscribers and single-ticket buyers into their homes, forcing board members and other theater officials to listen closely to audience opinions.

• European intermission and Cupcake Questions at Dance Alloy Theatre. During a half-hour intermission the audience gets free cupcakes with questions tucked inside, provoking thought and discussion in fun ways.

I'm sorry...what? Proactive signage? Circle discussions? "Arts night out with friends can be fun"? I feel kind of guilty for criticizing these ideas, and I'm really not trying to disparage anyone's good intentions (especially those backed by a generous grant), but this is a little disappointing.

Community and open access are two of the biggest things going on in the world right now, and we come up with cupcakes. Why is this so hard?
Anyway, a few people seem to be getting it right (or at least are going in the right direction):

Back to Back theatre, whose "Small Metal Objects" was also featured in this year's Under the Radar. Why do I love them? (1) From New Zealand, (2) headphones, (3) engaging disability without bathos.

Punchdrunk, whose "Masque of the Red Death" is Lyn Gardner's favorite thing, and was the centerpiece of Isherwood's article.

This is a little old, but for cutting-edge technology, 82-year-old Merce Cunningham outclasses everyone. Ipods, Sigur Ros, Radiohead, and postmodern dance, anyone?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Anatomy of a Mess

I've been a little surprised at the lack of coverage of the Goodman's recent decision to pull the musical "The Boys Are Coming Home". In my book, a major regional theatre yanking one of its subscription shows is big news.

Shedding some light on the situation is Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune, who thoughtfully details the rise and fall of "The Boys Are Coming Home" in this article. I love that the Tribune even ran this - it's rare to find such a nuanced description of the sometimes-painful, sometimes-breathtaking process a play goes through on its way to maturity.

I highly recommend checking out Jones' account of the Goodman's decision to first produce, then trash "The Boys...". Lots of good lessons for artists, playwrights, administrators, designers... I could go on.

Notable from the article:
"We couldn't find enough tickets to give to people," says Dominic Missimi, who runs Northwestern's musical-theater program.... In a weird inversion of the usual state of business, critics and audiences seemed to have a lot more confidence in the show than the people who were charged with taking it to the next level."

"Still, the only collaborators on "Boys" whose work was ever fully formed were the original, mostly student cast members. Too young to be cynical and blissfully unaware of the fatal delicacy of new material and its creators, those undergraduates gave a suite of gorgeous songs everything they had. And if only for a few memorable summer nights in Evanston, that was all it took."

Career Transition Experiences

The following from a recent article... I have to admit, I've never heard of this program, although it sounds pretty good. For me, the Juilliard professional internship in Arts Admin was probably the best thing I've ever done. Any other thoughts on good/bad career transition experiences?

Theatre Wing Accepting Submissions for SpringboardNYC Summer Intensive
The American Theatre Wing's SpringboardNYC, a two-week theatrical intensive for college students planning careers in the theatre, is now accepting applications for its 2008 summer program running June 2-15.

SpringboardNYC is described as a college-to-career transition program that includes workshops, seminars, master classes and field trips that introduce college students to the professional theatre world in New York City.

Subjects within the seminars include resume development, interview technique, audition technique (monologue, cold reading and on-camera), and a mock open call. Throughout these seminars participants are provided with ongoing feedback and evaluations from working industry professionals.

Limited to 35 participants, SpringboardNYC offers financial aid and multiple scholarships to students. Applications are being accepted and are reviewed on a rolling basis between now and April 15 for the June 2008 session.

Complete information and application materials are available at

Saturday, February 16, 2008

New BAM Scholarship for Theatre, Dance, and Arts Admin!

From today's NYTimes:

Published: February 16, 2008
The Brooklyn Academy of Music on Friday announced the creation of the Samuel H. Scripps BAM Scholarship Fund, for students who pursue a higher education in arts administration, dance or theater. Awards will range from $4,500 to $20,000 and are open to any student who has taken part in the academy’s education program between kindergarten and the 12th grade. Roughly $45,000 will be disbursed yearly. Application details are at

This is wonderful, particularly because (in my experience) it's so hard to find grants specifically for arts-admin. What's that about? We're poor, too.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Creative use of your creative talents

Via the Osocio social advertising blog:

Things I took away from this:

1. Performing artists aren't the only creative people who face challenges using their training for its original purpose. I mean, how familiar does this sound:
The situation so many design graduates find themselves in is frightening, and yet there are so many possible avenues to vehicle our talents toward.
2. I love this advertisement's approach - use your creative training for a social purpose. It reminds me of the Voss study in its regard for creative talent and training as special and worthwhile, not cumbersome and irrelevant.

Trouble in Buffalo

Uh Oh...

Studio Arena Layoffs, Fundraising
Thursday, February 14, 2008 04:33 PM - WBEN Newsroom

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - Studio Arena Theater is reportedly set to lay off some staff members, this as it prepares for a fundraising campaign.

Theater management did not return our phone calls, but Celeste Lawson, executive director of the Arts Council of Buffalo and Erie County, says she's learned the campaign will be aimed at raising $1.2 million. As for the layoffs, Lawson says she has not learned of the exact number, but she says the theater's new management, led by Kathleen Gaffney, is trying to streamline its operation to continue being a successful regional theater.

Lawson hopes community organizations will not give up on Studio Arena, saying every cultural organization has had severe financial trouble in the past. Donors skeptical of giving, urges Lawson, should take a look at what the new management is doing to keep the theater going past this season.

What's going on up there? Not a good sign...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Regional Rebellion

I wanted to submit the following resources with some thoughts on the current chatter in the blogosphere (am I really using that word?) about the Regional Theatre model (discussions happening here and here and here and here).

I'm wondering if what's going on is really a kind of a natural progression of the American theatre - as in Broadway leads to Off-Broadway leads to Off-Off-Broadway, etc. I've been trying to turn up some data on how long it actually took the Off- and Off-Off movements to generate, and I haven't found anything too concrete, but I'm going to take an educated guess and say like 30-40 years? Anyway, by those figures the Regional model is way overdue for a malcontent child. "Alt Regional"? "Off Regional"? I don't know.

Food for the malcontent child:

A recent article from the Beacon Journal Arts (Ohio) about The Bang & The Clatter Theater Company. This brilliant company is creating a kind of Regional alternative in Ohio (Akron to Cleveland). Who wouldn't love these guys? From the article:
At first, word of the free beer and wine given out at performances might have enticed audiences to check out the unprepossessing (OK, makeshift) theater upstairs in the Summit Artspace building in downtown Akron. But people keep coming back for more of the raw, unpredictable drama that co-founders Sean Derry and Sean McConaha began producing at Akron's Bang and the Clatter Theatre Company in October 2005.
An amazing article from the Harvard Business Review ('96 I think) about how strategic collaboration between arts organizations, such as shared ticketing initiatives, not only improves the finances of each arts organization, but improves the local economy.

The New Radical Theatre Notebook, by Arthur Sainer. Have you read this? Sainer's discussion of the birth of Off-Off Broadway, which he witnessed firsthand, is nothing short of inspiring.

One more thing I'd like to point out: as far as I can tell, girls have been conspicuously absent from this debate (besides commenters and now myself, I guess) . For that matter, I can't think of any girl-written performing arts blogs. Yet another area where the wider Nonprofit world trumps the performing arts: Rosetta Thurman, Katya Andresen, Beth Kanter, and many other brilliant women write regularly on nonprofit technology, management, marketing, and other issues of interest. Am missing something? I would love to be corrected.

The Ugly American at the Old Vic

Hilarious article from today's Guardian Theatre Blog, decrying the American tendency to clap at a star's entrance, fidget around in their seats, and blow their noses. Did you know that eating ice cream in the theatre is a London tradition?

Choice quote (actually via London Blogger Helen Smith):
"I was a bit wary at first because the theatre was full of American students who actually burst into applause when Kevin Spacey appeared on stage, as if they thought they were part of the live audience for an episode of Friends. But they settled down. Then there was an American woman behind us who did a special loud nasal honk whenever there was a funny line, to show that she was particularly attuned to David Mamet's cerebral style of wit."

And I'm back! I've been run a little ragged by my schedule, but I'm hoping to work some posts in when I can.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Brief Hiatus

In case anyone is breathlessly awaiting my next post, between a brand new job, and starting the second semester of grad school, I'm a little buried and will probably post in the next week or two.

In the meantime, here are some links to keep you busy:

Fractured Atlas gets an amazing grant for Health Insurance!

An intense indictment of the NEA

Bill Gates wants a kinder, gentler capitalism

NEA Announces new Deputy Chair for States, Regions, and Local Arts Makers

The Guardian weighs in on the ongoing Critic Debate

Enjoy, and see you soon!

Friday, January 18, 2008

RSS Obsessed

That little box you see on the righthand side of the screen is an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed from my Google reader. Recently, I've become a little obsessed with my RSS feeds. I started gathering them in late December, and I already have 147 coming into my Google reader, where I track fundraising, nonprofit tech, arts management, advocacy, culture, design, arts marketing, and social media blogs and resources. Then I opened a separate RSS account on Bloglines to specfically track Theatre blogs and resources. I track 26 in that account.

Kind of a lot to take in every day, but I can't believe how addictive it is. It's like every morning some friendly person has combed through all the information in the world, and sent me a bunch of things I might be interested in. In-depth coverage of the Arts Council dispute in the UK? Check. An editorial on the effective use of Twitter in nonprofit management? Check. An update from the Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society? Check. A hack-script that splits my Gmail screen between mail and GCal? Check! An update from the NEA on available grants? Check, check, check!

The best part of this obsession is I finally feel like I have a productive way to goof off. Instead of reading TMZ for half an hour and feeling like I have to take a shower, I spend that time catching up on the Philanthropy News Digest, cranky theatre bloggers from New York to San Francisco, tips and tools for cheap market research, best practices in board governance... kind of a lazy nerd's utopia.

If you're new to the RSS-bliss, I highly recommend getting started with Google Reader: (doubly convenient if you already use Gmail). Bloglines is also pretty good, but I prefer Google for simplicity and convenience. To get started, I've listed a few of my favorite sites with feeds, but anywhere you see that orange wireless-looking button means the page has an RSS feed you can subscribe to.

ArtsJournal, home of Daily Arts News, and my very favorite blog, Andrew Taylor's The Artful Manager. If you subscribe to anything, I would make it Mr. Taylor's clear, entertaining, and enlightening posts on the art of arts management.

Beth's Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media, the Mommy of all nonprofit tech blogs

Katya's Nonprofit Marketing Blog, near-perfect advice on nonprofit management and marketing

Guardian Unlimited Arts Blog: Theatre, I find Lyn Gardner's posts particularly inspiring

Lifehacker, want to learn how to send emails to yourself via voicemail? Convert a PDF to a Word document? Take a free accounting class? Get your Google Calendar and Gmail on the same page? This site will tell you how.

Fractured Atlas Blog, underrated in the small world of Arts Management blogs, in my opinion

If this all sounds like too much trouble, you can actually subscribe to my shared Google Reader items (here), and let me sift through the daily news for you. Nothing would make me happier.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Weird and Wonderful

In Scott Walters' Theatre Ideas blog, Mr. Walters makes some good points about the geographic and demographic breakdown of nonprofit theatre dispersal in America. Walters also name-checks the amazing Mike Daisey's recent Under The Radar performance of How Theater Failed America (via Isaac Butler's Parabasis blog). I haven't seen Mr. Daisey's show, but I have to admit I'm a little put-off by the title.

Walters takes issue with the high concentration of NEA donations to theatres in the Northeast and on the West Coast (actually he takes issue with the massive concentration of theatres on the coasts, but stay with me). How relevant is NEA funding? According to TCG's 2007 Theatrefacts, out of the 105 theatres surveyed, about $45,000 in contributions came from the NEA. State agencies contributed more like $195,000, corporations $350,000, and foundations $630,000. But what is consistently the most impressive source of unearned income in nonprofit theatre? Individuals, at $850,000! (That's not ticket sales, that's donations. Tickets sales make up a whole other income source... so some people are giving twice.)

I don't have geographic data for these individual contributions, but the numbers clearly imply that single people are by far the most relevant source of funding. These contributions come from the community. The American funding model is not perfect, but if anything, it is diverse. And maybe I'd prefer to live in the Netherlands, where the state funds arts groups indefinitely, but there's something I like about the diversity of our funding options.

Ok, the subscription model is dying. Thank goodness. On the topic of audience relations, the incredible Zannie and Glenn Voss come to some fascinating conclusions in their study "Strategic Orientation and Firm Performance in an Artistic Environment". I won't go into the data sets, but the study essentially suggests that customer-oriented theatres (organizations that make most of their decisions based on what they think their customers want) in fact perform worse than theatres that focus on their competitive environment or their own programming.

These findings pretty much contradict conventional marketing wisdom (find out what your customers want, and do that), and suggest that arts organizations perform better when they make strong, innovative artistic decisions. This study actually suggests that arts customers want to be told what they want! And really, why do people patronize the arts? Is it to get some kind of instant gratification, or is it to be inspired, engaged, and provoked by an innovative aesthetic point of view? My money's on the latter.

Zannie and Glenn Voss see the nonprofit theatre industry as a market "boundary condition", meaning it's an industry that behaves totally differently from most other business models. But instead of apologizing for being so strange, and trying to pretzel the arts into traditional business models, they suggest that the greatest merit of the nonprofit theatre community is our weirdness.

So, has theatre failed America? Well, first of all, it's cool that Mr. Daisey is even bringing this up. But personally, I'd ask different questions - like what resources are available that we're not taking advantage of? How can we encourage and create community? How can we fix the massive wage inequities? Not as catchy as Mr. Daisey's title... but I'm not willing to believe that theatre has failed America. At least I don't think we're going to get very far thinking that way. I obviously don't have the answers, but I do believe we can do better.

I was planning to start this blog as a straightforward resource for young arts professionals, which I still want to be the main thrust, but I found myself so engaged by what's been happening on these blogs that I really wanted to respond. So thanks for that... I appreciate the kick in the pants.