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Showing posts from July 20, 2008

Lyn Gardner on Young Artists

I continue to catch up with the Guardian blog, this time an article by Lyn Gardner called "How Do Young Artists Become Established Artists?," which provides, in my opinion, an outstanding argument for the value of long-term ensembles. One percentive paragraph:

I suspect the current explosion of work in Bristol, although enormously fragile, has been a lot to do with the mutually supportive environment of Residence, and If you look around at some of the great companies from Forced Entertainment and Complicite to Kneehigh it's clear that playing together, eating together and even, yep, sleeping together is all grist to the artistic mill. Ideas spark, projects are born, creative relationships that may last a lifetime and sustain endeavour are formed. It's why the BAC's idea of offering artists six-month live-in residencies is a good one. But we need other places to get started and further more obvious ladders of progression too.

As a side note, but one that I think oug…

Chris Wilkinson on Actor-Managers

OK, I'm way behind on the Guardian blog, but if you haven't already read Chris Wilkinson's thoughts about the dearth of actor-managers in contemporary theatre, I enthusiastically recommend you do so. Here is a few paragraphs to whet your appetite:
Yet I can't help but wonder whether this lack of performers in positions of leadership is a sign of a deeper malaise in an industry that persistently infantilises actors and forces them into subservience. There are over 30,000 people registered with Spotlight, the industry's casting bible, and this extraordinary level of competition means that actors are often conditioned to accept that work is hard to come by and all the initiative must lie with those artistic directors, theatre directors and producers who create most of our theatre.Indeed, in my final year of training as an actor we spent huge amounts of time with our teachers discussing how best to impress the industry, which head shot to use and so on. But it was not u…

Anonymous Comment on Making a Living

Playgoer has an excellent post entitled "Broadway: Meaningless?" about David Cote's article "The Great White...Wait!" concerning whether Broadway is still the gold standard for theatre. In Playgoer's comments box was this anonymous comment that I'd like to draw more attention to:

I don't think everyone is dying to get to Broadway because it's Broadway (although some are). People are dying to get to Broadway because of the money and the emotional satisfaction of being able to support oneself doing what one is trained to do. The cache of Broadway is not merely production values (which, in my opinion are often quite poor compared with the mega regionals). It about seeing people for whom theater no longer a "hobby" but a "career." If people could have a career (in the financial sense) in small theaters, those theaters would have the same respect as Broadway (as is the case in Europe).

Like this commenter, I am mostly in agreement, …

What Was Sold

I happened to stumble across a book entitled Theater in America: Appraisal and Challenge, a report put together for the National Theatre Conference in 1968. The preface indicates "In November 1961, at the annual meeting of the Nationa Theatre Cobference (NTC) in New York, the Board of Trustees established a major project for a National Appraisal of the American Theater. The purpose of the project was to prepare an accurate, up-to-date, critical report of the 'total, multi-faceted image of theater in the United States in the third quarter of the twentieth century' -- a picture, as it were, of the whole state of the theatre, where it is and where it is going."

There were chapters on the New York Theater -- Broadway and Non-Profit Organizations; the Community Theater; Educational Theatre; and the Professional Resident Theaters. They noted that the regional theater had grown from 12 theaters in 1950 to twenty-three in 1960 to sixty-two by 1968. So the movement was no long…

Letter from Paul R. Pierce

Mike Daisey reprints a great letter from Paul R. Pierce, Producing Director of the Springer Opera House, which I find inspiring. Give it a read.

Tomorrow, I will post segments of a mid-1960s report about theatre in America that describes where the regional theatre was then, and what it intended to continue to be.
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TCG Member Map

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Thanks to the good people here on campus, I now have a visual representation of the distribution of TCG theatres across the US.

The Artistic Home: How Long, Oh How Long?

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Last night, I skimmed TCG's 1988 publication The Artistic Home: Discussions with Artistic Directors of America's Institutional Theatres, at the suggestion of Tony Adams who wrote in his recent post "Artists as Administrators" that "Reading it it sounds like a time warp. Little has changed." That's for sure. Particularly disappointing is the chapter entitled "Thinking Beyond Four Walls: The Individual Artist as a National Priority." There's a great title, right?  Here are a few subtitles:

1. Artistic directors are concerned with keeping artists in the theatre; they need to constantly renew their commitment to making their theatres homes for artists.
2. Theatres and artists alike need to find creative ways to address the chronic undercompensation in the field.
3. Theatres need to build better long-term relationships with artists and find ways of integrati9ng them into the ongoign life of institutions.
4. There is a need to invest in the future o…