In other words, May the fourth be with you.

Here are just some of the stories we’ve been following of late at 2amt. As always, there’s a loose theme or two weaving in and out. This time around, we looking at finding your market and how to talk to them, we see old buildings in new ways, and we look at theatre as journalism. And we tell jokes. We’re like that.

Amy Wratchford on the ideal customer
Let’s face it. Much as we’d like to believe most people will love our work, it’s just not true. Yes, we need to reach the masses, and keep reaching for them. But maybe we should also concentrate some of our resources on “the ideal customer.” Look at your mission statement. Who’s your target audience? What’s the one niche your theatre inhabits? The longer you gaze at your niche, the audience in that niche will gaze back at you. (Long way for a Nietzsche joke, but there you go.)

Jessica Hutchinson on a world of reimagination
Some say the New Leaf Theatre came to life backwards: they had a space and formed to use it. But it’s not a typical theatre space. How can an unusual space shape and change the way you think about your work? Or how you stage that work? Can it help make you more creative? (I’d say yes, because Riverrun Theatre has a very similar, atypical space right now, so this article hit close to home.)

Lisa Timmel and Charles Haugland on the idea of new work
With that post, Lisa Timmel explores the idea of new plays and why they’re important. Charles Haugland responds with a meditation on why older plays are still worth our time–and our craving. Lisa then responds with some good definitions of the different categories of plays and reasoning how and why we produce them. A fascinating conversation hosted by the Huntington Theatre’s blog.

Dennis Baker on creating your own opportunities
Why aren’t we teaching our students more about the entrepreneurial side of the business? Dennis highlights a theatre curriculum that takes its cue from the Chicago storefront theatre scene. What’s amazing–unless you’re already a regular reader here at 2amt–is that a lot of the lessons learned in storefront theatre can–and perhaps should–be applied to theatres at many levels around the country. A key quote: In the over-saturated market of the arts, the one who learns to produce their own work will be the artist that creates longevity.

Patrick Healy on negotiating the LAByrinth
It’s hard out here for a theatre company. For all our talk of large, institutional theatres adopting smaller companies, LAByrinth in New York City has left the Public Theatre to return to its smaller scale productions and budgets. Patrick Healy takes a quick look at the how and why behind the decision.

Ann Sachs on trusting the ensemble
How will theatre companies evolve and reinvent themselves in this brave new world? One could learn a lot from the Ensemble Studio Theatre’s model. Ann Sachs describes the basics of how it works and, more importantly, why it works. There’s a reason why playwrights want to work there.

David Hare on the facts of fiction
Good theatre should never be confused with journalism, argues David Hare. In a world of “based on true stories” and drama ripped from the headlines, should we expect journalistic detail from dramatic work? Hare points out that we may know the details of a given story, but we haven’t experienced them. Journalism distills, drama examines. I’ll stop now, having distilled his fine writing into four words. Go. Read the article.

Lyn Gardner on being social
Social media is more than free advertising. Sound familiar? Lyn Gardner echoes our recent post about engagement via social media. She urges theatres to use their creativity to develop websites and other online interactions that engage the audiences, draw them in and connect with them on their terms.

Sean Williams on misunderstanding the marketing
Do you print posters? Postcards? Stickers? How’s that working for you? Odds are, you might not really know the answer to that. There’s more to it that a direct cost-to-benefit ratio. Sean Williams tries out the pros and cons of marketing materials. (For that matter, so does Gus Schulenburg.) Sometimes a postcard is a souvenir, a reminder, a bookmark. Sometimes it serves to remind the world that your company’s still there. And sometimes it winds up in a landfill. So, is it still worth the effort? Maybe.

Guy Trebay on doing it yourself
Coming back to the use of space, the adaptation of buildings to new uses and the entrepreneurial ideal, Guy Trebay profiles ThirtyDaysNY, whose “challenge was building out, organizing, managing, and presenting a live gallery space open to the public for one month in the heart of New York City.” It is curated by the Family Bookstore in NYC, and continues to present cultural events online and in reality. It’s a blast. Does it give you any ideas…?

Karen Greco ropes and throws and brands ’em
One thing we sometimes forget is the importance of branding. It’s more than having brilliant plays or lovely festivals. The audience, both actual and potential, needs something they can grasp quickly and easily. If you have work that can be packaged and cross-marketed to multiple audiences, why leave that potential audience in the cold? Karen illustrates the importance of bundling and branding as a means of building your audiences.

And I’ll leave you with one more joke.

How many dramaturgs does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Does it have to be a light bulb?

  • May 4, 2010