I'm not sure really how I feel about this. Again, heavy on the "we don't market," and heavy on the "what we're doing in the theatres is awesome." Maybe there's something different happening in Toronto. That's entirely possible. My sense of the NY theatre scene is different. My read from non-theatre people who don't go to theatre isn't that they don't hear about it; they don't think they'll like it. Which is a different problem.
A few months back, I ran into an acquaintance at a reading. We'd originally met in a very different context, not theatre-related at all. When I saw her at the reading, my first question was "Do you know the playwright?" Turns out she didn't. Turns out she just goes to readings and plays. She's in her mid-twenties and just goes to readings. Needless to say, my mind was sufficiently blown. Not only by her attendance, but my assumption, even as a theatre person, that the only reason she was there was because she knew somebody involved. Granted, it was a reading, but, isn't the point of a public reading to see how a play is with an audience. A real audience.
New York City is a large place and there are definitely communities that are underserved by theatres, and not in a position to hear about new plays. But a lot of people are and still choose not to go to them. Better marketing might help them find other choices, but if the product is unappealing, the product is unappealing.
I like the part where he says that the "third or fourth time someone from our community tells them they should go see a play, they will." But the corrollary is also true: the second time someone from your community tells you they saw a play and it was bad, you won't go. And, unfortunately, you might not go to any more plays at all. How do we address that?
I also like the undercurrent of a high tide raising all boats. I've gone to Partial Comfort's Battle of the Bards a couple of times and I love it. I love that the NY indie theatre community can fill a club with people there to see some plays and judge them. Sure, they're there to drink booze and hang out, but it's also about the plays. But I'm also always disappointed that there's no follow-up, no follow-through on keeping these people connected to ALL of the companies. No central mailing list that all participants can hook into, no joint productions springing out of it. Everyone goes back to their own cubbyhole, takes their jealously guarded audience and we never hear from each other again.
Honestly, though, I've noticed this changing. I now get a lot more e-mails from theatre companies advertising other companies' shows. This is, on the balance, a good thing.
Again, this may be particular to New York. We have a ton of options, possibilities, plays to see. And some of them suck. A case can be made, though, that the urgent thing is getting people in to see them. I just think the two problems go hand in hand.