If you have never heard Ben Cameron speak, check this out on youtube. I could listen to him read the phone book! (Someone just warned me that they removed the youtube link? here's more Ben Cameron just in case. Here and here too...thanks Alberto for the links!)
On February 17th more than 300 NYC theater stakeholders got together at the Players Club (no I did not make up that name!) to talk about THE STATE OF SMALL AND MID-SIZED THEATERS.
It was jam packed, too hot and I was starving but that's not why I was frustrated. Beyond Ben Cameron's rousing call to arms (this is DefCon 5 Elevated Orange Survival of the Fittest time), I felt like the same old same old same old ideas were tossed around (be more inventive! do shows outside! use thrift store clothes! get more funding from foundations that have no money!).
We all know the truth, we say we want to do it differently (to really partner, to really let go of non-core services, to let go of our too big office spaces and share!, to stop duplicating services, and to maybe even CLOSE OUR DOORS because we are not really needed by our constituents). And I do it too. This is the hardest work ever and it's so much easier to stay the same.
But sitting in the Players Club that hot day I thought 25% OF US WILL BE OUT OF WORK NEXT YEAR AT THIS TIME. 25% OF US WILL NOT BE MAKING ART. DefCon 5!! We can either push and shove and tooth and claw, or we can strategically and generously and mindfully look at the arts ecology and community of New York City and make proactive choices that prioritize vitality, diversity, passion, best practices and joy.
I vote for the latter. And now I just have to commit to that myself.