As I do every year, I'd like to remind you to give to your favorite indie theater or theater artist this year. Charitable contributions to smaller theater companies make a huge impact not only on their bottom line, but their desire to continue to climb uphill in a world that's increasingly screen-based, mobile, mechanized and shiny.
Let's face the facts, when people talk about a mobile device on stage, they mean a body mic or a van. Very few play publishers have their books available for eReaders like the Kindle, Nook or even the iPad. You can't watch a play streaming on Netflix or have it delivered to your door. Theater continues to be a communal, intentional experience. It always will be. That means, though, as the economics of the world increasingly become based on ease of use and attractiveness, theater has to work much harder to find it's audience and keep it's artists tethered to the stage.
So... why not help? It doesn't have to be a lot of help. It can be a little help. $10, $25, $50, $100. If each of us gave just a little bit, it would add up to real financial support for companies with relatively low overhead, and a passing of a sort of energy. You're saying "You matter to me." There's very little that a theater company needs to hear more.
Now, I don't want to sound too gloomy. The reason to support theaters is not only to keep them alive (for God's sake) but also because they do exceptional work that you find inspiring, pleasurable and fun. There are loads of terrific artists out there putting on fine work. If you read this blog, you're definitely someone who can think of a few productions this year that made them very happy that they bought that ticket. We love theater, right? So we need to show it.
I'm going to highlight five companies that I think deserve your support. This is not a Top Five list...it's just the companies that come to mind in this moment. I certainly hope that other theater bloggers out there will highlight companies as well that they think need some support as well.
But if you're reading this, take one minute and give one of these companies a holiday gift. You'll be happy you did, and you'll have made a real difference with your money. I mean, what do you work so hard for anyway? You have economic power in each dollar bill. Express your values through giving.
Here's a few
Blue Coyote Theater Group - my home for years. Last year, they produced not only Glee Club (soon to be published by Playscripts, Inc.) but David Foley's Nance O'Neil. We're looking to bring Glee Club to Edinburgh in 2012, so every dollar helps.
The Brick - Always in motion, the Brick is. Festivals galore (ClownFest, FightFest, the Too Soon Festival). This is a staple of the Off-Off Broadway world, and a collection of wild and dedicated artists that just keep cranking out unique work. For example: the upcoming Iranian Theater Festival. Timely? Oh yes indeed.
Give online here!
Incubator Arts Project - What's old is new again. This new theater company rose up to replace the Ontological-Hysteric when Richard Foreman decided he'd made enough plays (only about 2,000) and would like to make some films or something like that. With young leadership, they've remained a vital force downtown, but to remain so, they'll need more than moral support.
Support them financially here.
The Management - Joshua Conkel, who wrote the terrific MilkMilkLemonade and is just an all-around great guy to boot, is currently fundraising for his company The Management. Their goal is $5,500 20 days from now. Well, heck, that can totally be done. It just needs a few readers like you to help.
Support them on IndieGoGo today.
NYTE - The Family Denton continues to support you, so maybe you should support them too. From publications to podcasts to nytheatre.com, Martin and Rochelle Denton's work has become invaluable to not only supporting but preserving this generation of theater artists work in New York.
Support them here.
Feel free to promote and support any other artists in my comment section. Again, there are lots more worthy companies out there! Give to who you love!
Happy Holidays! Remember, even if you give a little, it means a lot!
- 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.