Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ideas I Like

Via The Playgoer:
ACT has teamed up with everyone from dancers and musicians to smaller theater companies. It also started a new works series. Those initiatives helped the company increase artistic offerings from 12 shows in 2006 to 45 last year. Adding so many performances freed up ACT to try something new on the business side of the operation. In addition to its traditional season subscriptions and individual ticket sales, ACT launched a membership program. For $25 a month, members can see anything at ACT, as often as they like.

Scandiuzzi: "Like a gym membership. What it does, it appeals to a younger constituency that wants flexibility, doesn't want to be tied to let's say, I have to be here every other month. It frees them, they can call the day before, see a play, a dance, whatever."

It's like an all–you–can–eat art buffet. 350 people have become members since July 2009, when the program started. The company would like to bring in a total of 1,000 members by the end of 2010.

I dig it, for reals. At E.S.T., there's one guy, just one guy who comes to literally EVERYTHING. He was coming to everything before I got there in 1996. He's still coming to everything now. I think people would take advantage of that kind of deal, especially now.


Anonymous said...

ACT is trying new things and having success with them. Carlo deserves a huge amount of credit for this. Being on the ground here, however, I have to say that on the artistic mentor side of things-- i.e. Kurt Beattie's bailiwick, it's still as weak as it ever was. Absentee dad sort of stuff. Kurt's the direct opposite with what we had with Curt at EST, sticking his busy hands in everything right down to fixing the faulty toilet. Kurt would be horrified to have to do what Curt did, and would be happiest to just be left alone and never bothered with that tiresome "local new works" nonsense. New works for ACT = Steven Dietz and they call it local even though Dietz hasn't lived here for a decade.

Paul Mullin said...

Shit. I didn't mean for that to be anonymous. It's me, J.

One more point, while I'm at it. ACT's Central Heating Lab is a great idea, but really one that all regional theaters should be doing as a matter of responsibility. It's a glorified cheap rental opportunity. Near zero actual curatorship or marketing help. It shows a great deal of savvy and kindness on Carlo's part, but not necessarily a depth of artistic vision. No one at ACT is actually getting their hands dirty here.

Seems like regional theaters everywhere are in a rush to become not much more than performance venues instead of true producers.

Paul Mullin said...

I want to follow this convo. Sorry for yet another post.

99 said...

I thought that might be you! But I was trying to figure out what other old EST'ers were out there.

I hear what you're saying about producers vs. presenters. I think marrying that inclusive spirit with a keen producer's eye would be a great thing, even if it's rare.

But starting with a cheap rental opportunity and seeing if it can grow from there works for me. I just hope that, when the theatre's fortunes turn around, they don't just chuck all these people out in the street.

joshcon80 said...

Steppenwolf, too, has an awesome program they've started where they umbrella a handful of young companies.

Pavement Group, who developed "MilkMilkLemonade" in Chicago is opening a production of Greg Moss's "Punkplay" there today.