Thursday, October 15, 2009

Summit - Coming at it a different way!!

Why is the momentum too important to let subside again?

Why the Chicago Storefront Summit must work!? Even though too often in the past such enterprises have stagnated?

1) We need to discuss and employ strategies for how to survive in an environment devoid of grants, devoid of subsidy. There is no hidden pot of gold. We need to figure out how to do what we do with less money. As grant money and other such sponsorships grow scarcer, I believe that ironically they end up going to the programs that ultimately need them the least of all of us.

2) We need to be prepared for the eventuality of losing performance venues. I remember hearing Richard Christensen speak at a book promotion about how the city always has and always will be in a cyclical fashion shuttering various venues. We are always, always in danger of losing or seeing compromised programs like the DCA, or Theatre on the Lake. All we need is one club fire or some such incident, and the city will shut down 15 spaces in one night.

3) We need to be able to communicate effectively, passionately, vehemently, and consistently. We have to find ways to disagree without viewing those who don't hold our views as Goliaths. If you think the other guy on the end of the blogosphere is making it too much about him or her, don't feed the beast. Just focus instead on what you really want to talk about. Also, if you don't see the kind of conversations on the blogosphere that you want to read, then fill the void.

4) We need to as a community, hold those accountable who have already or are in a position to have a real impact on how we create. The city, the League, the largest of the nonprofit theatres, and even (gulp) the press.

5) We need to find out whom within the theatre community are closest and most akin to ourselves. Fraternity is a great thing. If there are 250 companies out there, then there are certainly a number of missed opportunities when it comes to fellowship among out fellow artists that I'd like to capture.

2 comments:

Paul Rekk said...

I think we also need to remove the blogosphere focus from #3. Blogs are great tool for the (inter)national scene. There's no reason we aren't having these same conversations just as frequently on a face to face basis over a beer or coffee here in the city.

Devilvet said...

Except that folks are often too busy or too disinterested to risk the time it takes to get together with frequency. I agree with you. I think face to face time is the best. But, I also think that a majority of theater makers aren't into being there unless they can see a measurable benefit (aside from fellowship, which everybody enjoys but also everybody gives low to lowest priority within the artistic subset... i.e. time talking to other artists is often viewed as time stolen from family, friends, and [wait for it] potential well moneyed patrons. Cynical of me? Perhaps... Somebody out there help me to believe otherwise)