Monday, January 17, 2011

More about Theatre

OK, this is what I think.

Theatresource should set up three different producing entities -- each responsible for 3 or 4 weeks of theater per year. Let's call these the "A", "B", and "C" companies. One could be the Writer's Forum in its present form, one could be a producer who wants to lead their theater company, the third could be a collective. Heck, they could all be collectives or all be run by individual "Artistic Directors". There are many different ways to organize the three companies (and naturally they'd work with one another). And they'd probably change every year.

The companies are given budgets of zero dollars. Maybe we'll spring for subway fare for actors. Maybe you can use the rehearsal room at Theatresource as long as you use it during the day and you keep the stomping and shouting to a minimum.

  • Theatresource at the Director level doesn't care what plays you're putting on. We just want the money you bring in.
  • Theatresource at the Director level cares deeply what plays you're putting on. Other funding and grants are dependent on how well your theater serves various communities.

Your biggest imperative as a producer is to sell tickets. You must be selling tickets. You have to sell tickets. Selling tickets? Why that's your job. Sell tickets.

(And that being said there are advantages to well-reviewed plays, plays which serve a variety of underserved communities, that sort of thing. But that's for another blog post.)

I think that each production company (whether that company is a person, a collective, or a pre-existing development and production company) would likely do something like two weeks of a full-length show, one week of short plays, and fill in the dark nights with a half-dozen works in progress. And you might split up your weeks so that you have a couple months in-between each production. Or you might gang them all together. Everyone has lots of options.

The trick is that the producing company has freedom to do whatever they want to do (as long as it doesn't cost money). We have a LOT of lights. We have a LOT of set pieces. We have a shocking number of costume pieces. Everyone is willing to work for free. Theatresource pays the insurance. As a producer you have to make sure the show actually happens without too much crying.
And you must sell tickets. Sell 300 tickets a week between your 5 mainstage shows and your two flopnights each week. That brings the theater in $6300 (50 seats at $18 for 7 total performances.) I've had a drink but I think my math works out.

That's enough to cover our nut and even get postcards made.

The job is to sell tickets. The art will come along on its own.

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