Theatre Bay Area Chatterbox

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

OF: 2

Todd London:
We're looking at the nonprofit theatres.... At the heart of the problems is a kind of inauthenticity in conversation between artists and theatres. Our greatest hope is to spur more authentic conversations.... It's important for people to talk together now....

Themes for today: Division between how ADs see the field and how playwrights see the field. Economics of playwriting. Field's emphasis on premieres. Downsizing of new American plays. Dwindling audience for new plays. And what's working (best practices [positive practices], but look at kinds of things that are working in some places).

(Todd reviews chapter topics.)

Division: A system of theatrical production has become alienating for artists despite the energy and best intentions of everyone. Divide between playwrights and theatres is the most profound and troubling.

World according to playwright (unanimous): Partnership with AD is now mechanistic and now driven by marketing & box office concerns. Theatres are risk-averse and not as loyal to playwrights. Theatre today is corporate (they are talking about large institutional theatres; small theatres still give them a profound relationship). The deciison-making is top heavy and passionless. Theatres have a lack of leadership and vision--they are instead cautious. Corporate nature due to board of directors.

[My note: this is outlined in book.]

World according to playwright (con't): Theatres still sell themselves as artist-centered but playwrights say the focus is audience. 82% of playwrights believe that whether audiences will like the play is the determing factor for production. Unconventional style blocks the way to production.




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