Here's a press release for an exciting new idea. Give it a read. I think it articulates some bold thinking and some real challenges that we're facing in NYC.
Might I add that I still think the Showcase Code causes some of these problems?
ANNOUNCING THE LEAGUE OF INDEPENDENT THEATER FUND
OFF-OFF ADVOCACY GROUP CREATES NEW FUNDING MODEL
KICK OFF PARTY AND STRATEGY SESSION AT THE LIVING THEATER, MONDAY FEB. 27 7:00 PM
FOLLOWED BY SPECIAL ENCORE PRESENTATION OF JUDITH MALINA’S HISTORY OF THE WORLD.
For over sixty years, Off-Off Broadway (now known as Independent
Theater) has provided a haven for New York City theater artists and
served as a cauldron and cradle for new and innovative American theater.
This sector has grown beyond a “starting place” for many artists and
now provides the artistic home for over 10,000 individuals and 300
companies. But this civic treasure is threatened. The economic
realities of New York City have forced many artists and companies to
leave New York. Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, Des Moines and many
other cities are poised to replace New York as the center of new
American theater. We refuse to lose this historic, cultural and civic
treasure. We are beginning an annual, reliable funding pool for the
independent theater territory. And it only costs a nickel.
Starting August 1, 2012, nearly 50 theater companies will contribute
five cents from every ticket sold this year as seed money for the
Independent Theater Fund. This list includes Present Company (producers
of the New York International Fringe Festival), PS 122, HERE Art
Center, Horse Trade Theater Group, Clancy Productions, wreckio ensemble,
Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company, the Amoralists, Surf Reality, New
Georges, Inverse Theatre, Tectonic Theater Project, Peculiar Works, Flux
Ensemble, Elephant Run District, Rabbit Hole Ensemble, Jewish Plays
Project, Parallel Exit, Gorilla Rep, Sponsored by Nobody, Stolen Chair
Theatre Company, Mind the Gap Theater, Art House Productions, ETdC
Projects Lab, Angry Bubble Productions, ViolaCello Stageworks, La Lupa
Italian Cultural Arts Festival, Small Pond Entertainment, Organs of
State, Decades Out, WET Productions, Gemini/Collisionworks, Untitled
Theater Company #61, Theatre Askew, John Montgomery Theatre Company, the
Living Theater, New York Theatre Experience, Inc., Sinking Ship
Productions, and Mabou Mines, among others. This list is growing every
We call on all independent theater companies, artists and venues to join
us in this effort. As always, we recognize that we are strongest and
most effective when we work together and while our individual bank
accounts may be small, our collective resources are substantial.
Judith Malina of the Living Theater says: “The League of Independent
Theater represents a coming together of actual artistic and theatrical
forces that may yet undo the difficulty of our times in maintaining the
highest artistic standards in a period of economic crisis. Who can save
us from the downhill trend of our economy except the vigor of our arts?
Theatre, music and education are our only hopes to lift our times
beyond their despair and create a viable, prosperous culture.”
Elena Holy, Producing Artistic Director of FringeNYC says: "The Present
Company is always proud to be a part of anything that involves indie
theatre artists supporting each other. The New York International Fringe
Festival (FringeNYC) was forged on our collective indie traditions of
self-sufficiency, creativity, and working together. This new fund builds
on that idea and puts it into action across our entire community - its
potential impact is extraordinarily exciting."
This is the first phase of this funding initiative.
We call on the League of American Theaters and Producers to join the
cause and help us to support, sustain and strengthen the independent
theater community in New York City. The Broadway League has a long
history of supporting charitable efforts that benefit the theatrical
community and with this initiative they will take the lead in addressing
the exodus of young theater professionals and companies from New York
City as well as recognizing the national cultural treasure that is the
Off-Off Broadway territory. With a five cent surcharge on each ticket
sold to a Broadway show, (which is .0057 of the average ticket price or
about five hundredths of a percent) we can create an immediate, annual
fund for small theater in New York.
In 2010, Broadway attendance was 12,106,105. If the Independent Theater
Fund was in effect in 2010, the independent theater community would
have just over $605,000.00 to maintain and upgrade venues, provide
scholarships for promising writers, directors, designers and performers
and mount a high-visibility city-wide marketing campaign for all of the
independent theater productions in the city.
The initial allocation of funds has yet to be determined, but areas under discussion include:
- Real Estate Fund (Money for venue renovation and repair, equipment
upgrade, etc. Also, a Seed Money Fund will be created for real estate
- Project Grants (Money to create shows.)
- Individual Grants (Money for independent theater artists and practitioners.)
We call on all theaters and companies in New York to join the Fund.
The League of Independent Theater is the advocacy organization for
Off-Off Broadway. We are dedicated to promoting and strengthening the
artistic and economic interests of our members, organizing and
protecting our members to ensure that independent theater is
economically viable for all of its practitioners and to advocate on
behalf of the decades-old tradition of Off-Off Broadway. For more
information, visit www.litny.org.
- 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.