This article in the New York Times is important reading. It's referenced today both my Garrett and George as well.
To me, it's become abundantly clear that small theater groups must change their fundraising model in order to remain viable in today's culture. A few quick thoughts on ways we need to refocus. Love to hear your thoughts.
1. Marketing - I've said it many times in this space. Small theatre, Off-Off or Indie or Off-Loop or whatever you'd like to call it, needs to rethink how it presents itself to the culture at large. This means embracing new models in marketing, branding effectively, and battling the perception that Theatre is both inaccessible high art, or the bastard stepchild of film and TV.
2. Small Donors - Something that most theatres fail to do is cultivate a small donor database and create a consistent strategy for capturing and encouraging a pool of small donors. Currently, there are many groups applying for the same relatively small pool of large grants. If one could refocus their energy on a large number of small donors, one could create both Attendence and Cashflow.
3. Equity - Actor's Equity (at least in New York City) needs to reform its codes to help small theatre's become profitable and viable. Currently, the Showcase Code is needlessly restrictive, and makes it next-to-impossible for any but a few to crawl out from under its restraints.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.