I’m also concerned, personally, that there are simply too many young people going into debt over this profession that has very little room or need for them when they graduate. – David Dower, New Play Blog
I have found the term that might be the theme of much of my writing for 2010: arts entrepreneurship. Dower’s comment above, as well as the writings of many theatrosphere bloggers, has caused me to come to the conclusion that for young artists, the current theater profession/system is one that is unsustainable and I question if it’s worth pursuing. This is nothing new, and probably for many people that read blogs associated with the theatrosphere, but it is something that seems to be ignored.
Discovering that I have written on similar themes (starving artist myth, celebrity, social media) of entrepreneurial blogs like Entrepreneur the Arts, this theme could be considered a continuation of 2009. This post becomes a commitment to deeper exploration of entrepreneurship, in light of self-producing, that looks to “share a sense of creativity to our society…sense of connection between people, [and] helping people find meaning in their lives and relationships.” (Walters, Theatre Ideas) While my personal life is not at a place to self-produce, I am curious to explore what others are doing, and aid is exploring tools that will empower theater artists to break out of the current hoops that one has to go through to work in theater.
While I agree with Travis Bedard’s post that, “the idea that theatre companies are just like any mini-mart (small businesses with small but measurable economic effects) is patently ridiculous”, artists can still learn from current entrepreneurial business leaders. Bedard encourages more focus on the day-to-day, hands on practice, than the theoretical discussions currently going on in the theatrosphere. But as Josh Hart points out:
The bulk of American theatre training programs train students in a technique of arts education that leads to rampant unemployment. The techniques popularly taught in the bulk of our training institutions are all art technique and no real business technique. Entrepreneurial training in the arts needs to become the new standard in American Theatre training.
While the discussion continues and change seems to be growing, the study of entrepreneurship by young artists is something that needs more exploration, dialogue and examination. In the age of the internet and social media, it is evident that the gatekeepers of various business fields are becoming obsolete, how is this seen in current theater system? Yes, there are indie theaters, but how is indie theater structuring itself away from becoming “smaller” versions of the bigger commercial theaters? As 99seat states, “If new organizations are built on the same standard model foundation, that won’t do any good.” So is 2010 the year where new models are tried and blogged about for discussion? Is that The Prof’s Theatre Tribe model? What other theater models are people working on or thinking they want to try? How is it different than the current theater system?