Theatre Bay Area Chatterbox

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

OF: 10

Convo with audience; authors had to catch a plane.

Books ends with "what shall we do?" What are some things that may help?

Audience:
I was struck by call for authentic conversation. Can TBA and TDF start these conversations?
[TBA's Rebecca Novick asks audience to finish sentence, "I wish..."]
I wish theatres would share audiences more.
I wish that plays didn't have to run for only 6 weeks.
I wish theatre companies would have more robust websites, at least so they have last three years production history with title, playwright and short synopsis.
I wish theatres wouldn't make assumptions about their audience.
I wish theatres would do more audience surveys.
I wish I could find plays by new playwrights in anthologies.
Bigger companies spend a lot of money on productions (carpenters get more money than actors).
I wish big companies would help small companies financially.
I wish we'd go back to when regional theatre was regional theatre. We are too starstruck.
I wish the work I've seen doesn't wither on the vine. (He reads plays that aren't done.)
I wish for a venue to create authentic dialogue.
I wish playwrights wouldn't assume that every play they wrote was worthy of production.
I wish playwrights wouldn't take it personally if companies don't offer feedback on their submission.
[Discussion in room about whether a theatre should acknowledge submission.]
I wish there were more artistic directors who matched playwrights with directors well (many do).
I wish there was a paid position called playwright-in-residence.

Rebecca: What could change? SF is called out in the book as a place where some stuff works.

I would love to hear more about partnerships between small and large theatres (in context of playwrights holding world premieres for large theatres)?
One example: Cal Shakes and Word for Word with Octavio Solis's work. Cal Shakes and Intersection with Naomi Iizuka. Cal Shakes could be fiscal agent. Cal Shakes notes that it's a successful program for them.
Chicago: When Steppenwolf expanded space they created a space called The Garage where smaller companies produced work in Steppenwolf space with Steppenwolf resources.

Can we get funders in the room and talk about their assumptions and the resources we need?

Rebecca: I'm hearing that funders do understand the damage of premiere-itis, and now they are moving their money toward audience.

Funder: It's moving away from creation and toward bringing it to a larger audience. We as funders can fill in gaps between points of view.

Audience suggestion: Funding should start to look beyond nonprofits and should hook up with individual theatre producers because if you look at the golden age of American playwriting, it was the individual producer that championed the playwright (Albee example).

I wish there were a way to make live performance accessible to a wider audience, to people who work all the time, etc., who can't physically get to plays.

More coming...

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