Showing posts from January 31, 2010

TACT: Who Attends NCTC Auditions?

Every year, representatives from my department at the University of North Carolina at Asheville go to the North Carolina Theatre Conference to attend the high school theatre auditions. Most of the colleges and universities from across the state sent their representatives to recruit talented young people who are interested in theatre. We all sell our programs, and many of the private schools make scholarship offers on the spot.

I have been wondering about the demographics of this group of young people, who usually number around 100 plus or minus (this year, it was 84). So I gathered together the resumes of the auditionees and started crunching numbers. What I found is interesting in a lot of ways. What follows is a snapshot.

There are 100 counties in North Carolina; the auditionees come from 18 of them.
Two counties -- Mecklenburg and Forsyth -- provide 61% of the auditionees.
The median household income for NC in 1999 was $39,184; the median household income for Mecklenburg County was $60…

Announcing a New Blog: TACT

As my readers know, Tom Loughlin and I both are college theatre professors, and we both have come to question the so-called "pre-professional" training track that is focused on NYC and LA. As part of my Center for Rural Arts Development and Leadership Education project, we are beginning the process of conceptualizing a new approach to theatre education, one that is more holistic and realistic. As part of this effort, we have created a new blog: TACT stands for Theatre Arts Curriculum Transformation. (And before anybody says it, I will admit that there is something ironic about my being involved with anything involving tact...)

We have reposted a couple posts from our blogs, and begun posting new material. Here is a sample of the latest, which I have called "A Modest (and Tactless) Proposal":
The buzz word in American education these days, thanks to the totally misguided No Child Left Behind Act, is “accountability.” The Provost where I tea…

Jay Adams on the Death of Theatre

(h/t Ghost Light): I have nothing to add, except to say this: read a chapter from Outrageous Fortune, then read this, and then tell me what is wrong with the theatre.

Blogging Dialectics

(Sorry for the awkward subject line -- I wanted to use "ecosystem," but after Outrageous Fortune, that word is a little threadbare...)

So RVC Bard posts, Thomas Garvey responds, J Holtham posts an angry denunciation of Thomas Garvey, and Guy Yedwab responds, then Isaac scolds Guy for talking to Garvey, and Guy explains what he was trying to do. There may be pieces of this conversation I am missing; if so I apologize. I'd like to look at the process of dialogue itself for just a second.

Guy writes:

But suppose a troll lands a bomb at you and you decide to argue back -- after all, you can simply ignore them -- what is the point in arguing? What was the point of that furious post?

1. You want to convince Garvey to change his mind
2. You want to convince your blog-roll readers that Garvey is wrong
3. You want to have some sort of public catharsis by screaming at a wall

Isaac things I'm advocating option number one, but I'm not. I agree that it's pointless. But if you…

LaMoine McLaughlin on TheatreFace

If you want to learn about how the arts function in smaller communities, go to Theatre Face TODAY at 2:00 EST for a conversation with LaMoine McLaughlin, director of the Northern Lakes Center for the Arts in Amery, WI. If you want to find out about Northern Lakes Center for the Arts, read his wonderful article "Let Art Begin at Home: the Amery Story." LaMoine has been leading his organization for over twenty years in a city with fewer than 3000 people. What's his secret? Find out today at 2:00.

UPDATE: I didn't realize that you needed to be a member of TheatreFace in order to receive an invitation. My apologies to those who tried to log in and were turned away. First, I encourage you all to join TheatreFace, which is run by Jacob Coakley who is the editor of Stage Directions Magazine. Second, I am going to try to get access to the transcript of the discussion and make it publicly available.

Michael Kaiser: Tone Deaf

In his Huffington Post article two days ago entitled "Where Are the Arts Important?", Michael Kaiser does his damndest to counter "the claims of too many politicians that the arts are the province of the elite in big coastal cities like New York and Los Angeles" and the argument "that investing in the arts only affects a very small, very rich, and very concentrated segment of our population." He goes on to admit (because how could he not) that "many of our largest arts organizations are in large Northeastern cities and that these arts groups have raised their ticket prices so high as to make them unaffordable for many," but nevertheless, "the arts play a vital role in virtually every community across the nation. It is not simply rich New Yorkers who care about music or dance or theater. People of all backgrounds and income levels are involved with the arts across the United States."

So far, so good. Nothing particularly insightful here…

Lyn Gardner on the Oxbridge Connection

If you remember back before the Outrgaeous Fortune blog-a-thon, there was a fairly heated discussion about...Outrageous Fortune... and the evidence that a whole lot of playwrights were being filtered through the same handful of (largely) private, elite universities. We discussed the impact this might have on diversity, its reflection of class issues, and its weighting of the scales within the field of theatre. Well, in a February 1st article on the London Guardian's theatre blog, Lyn Gardner asks a similar question: "Why is British theatre still in thrall to Oxbridge?" There were quite a few people who wanted to deny that this effect existed in the US, and even if there were a handful of programs calling all the shots, it was probably because the students who went there were better than everybody else and deserved their success; and even if there were a handful of theatre teachers teaching these students, diversity was not threatened because these teachers were all about…