Commentary: Should Washington DC theaters be partners or competitors? Yes.

Chad Bauman, Arts Marketing blog, 1/16/12

[In] terms of how people are going to spend their leisure time, theaters are in competition with each other as much as they're in competition with movies, sports, other performing arts, museums, television, YouTube, video games, etc. To say that we aren't is simply untrue. That being said, if I am in competition for discretionary spending dollars, I want it to be with another theater. Why? I can't get patrons to come to my theater if they don't see theater as an option in the first place. My primary responsibility as a theater marketer is to get people interested in the theater. To increase the stability of our community, we have to grow the base of theater patrons in our city. We don't have any other option, and to do that, we have to view ourselves as partners first and competitors second. If we focus on cannibalizing each other's audiences, it will be a losing battle. One theater may win one year, but inevitably it will lose the next. The only way everyone wins, including the city, is if we cultivate a growing audience for all of our theaters. I would also say that I tend to think that competition in the marketplace is good. When competition is stiff, it pushes everyone to do their best. To produce work of the highest quality. To provide the best customer service. To nurture the best local talent, and to present preeminent artists from around the globe. As I look into the new year, I resolve to elevate my gaze whenever possible from being exclusively on the theater where I work to the community as a whole. I hope that competition will improve us individually, and that working together will improve us as a whole.


Commentary: Instead of competing, Austin TX arts orgs come together

Patricia Guy, Austin Hidden Gems on, 1/5/12

When hard economic times hit Austin, our creative community came together to help each other weather the storm. Instead of competing against each other for audiences and funding, Austin's creative sector found that by pooling talents, resources and creativity, it was possible not only to survive the economic downturn, but to turn it into an opportunity for positive change. Austin Creative Alliance certainly meets the criteria of collaborative community resource. Formerly the Austin Circle of Theaters (established in 1974), the name and mission changed as an outflow of the community-led Create Austin Plan, where Austinites came together to participate in creating a master plan for our city. For those with an interest in the Austin Theater scene, the "Now Playing Austin" newsletter is sent directly to your email, offering a "one stop shop" for the wide variety of theatrical events in Austin. Once you have identified an event you want to attend, you can buy your tickets ahead of time through Austix. Austin Creative Alliance provides direct services to emerging arts groups, member organizations and individuals across several disciplines. ACA partners with Fractured Atlas to bring affordable insurance to artists, and is working with Pew Charitable Trust to bring their Cultural Data Project to serve the artists, funders and arts organizations of Texas. Other member benefits include online discussion boards, audition and call to artist notifications, general auditions and free night productions. Austin Creative Alliance also offers events for artists to gather and share inspiration, ideas and information. Members of the Austin creative sector don't have to "go it alone". In Austin, we are learning that when our creative ones thrive, we all thrive.


Commentary: Too many experimental art festivals are competing for audiences

Young Jean Lee, quoted by Claudia La Rocco on her blog The Performance Club, 1/16/12

"festivals in and of themselves are not necessarily bad for artists or art....But having 3+ (and growing) festivals of experimental performance is just insane. How is it good for art? How can any of the people who are seeing show after show after show give the time and attention that a strong work of art truly deserves? It's good for PR certainly, it's good for marketing, it's good for buzz and energy and critical mass, it's good for the "international art marketplace" but I think we are going to reach a density that will fold in on itself and then explode (like the big bang!). I think quiet work can get totally lost in the noise. I think durational work loses its impact because our sense of time is so accelerated...I think people (audiences) are even less willing to be bored. I think everyone is operating from a place of fatigue and vague desperation. I think presenting all this work in the context of festivals which are competing with each other for attention and press and audiences and all of that, takes away the one thing that good/strong artists really know how to do -- own and control a certain time and a certain space in a way that feels wholly unique to them. And the audiences aren't nearly as able to give the attention and mental/spiritual space that good work can require. I feel the same way about visual art clusterfucks like the Biennial & Greater New York. and of course, there's the economics of it all. everything is happening on the backs of artists. & of course, I could be totally/short-sightedly off base"


= = =


Commentary: How Broadway can compete with a digital world

Barbara Hoffman, New York Post, 1/19/22

When marketing mavens, producers and entrepreneurs meet [at today's TEDxBroadway conference], they'll tackle the question, "What's the best Broadway can be in 20 years?" Everyone agrees: If Broadway's going to compete with the digital world, it has to give theatergoers a bigger bang for their bucks. As producer Gregory Mosher sees it, the race is already on: "I want to see a movie with Meryl Streep -- click, I'm now watching a movie with Meryl Streep. How do you compete with that? You start asking people under 35 how." Says 36-year-old Jordan Roth, the young -- by Broadway standards -- president of Jujamcyn Theaters: "Each artist will have a different reason for why this story's being told live. Some artists will make it more interactive, while others will make it more of a 360-degree experience, like 'Fela!' " -- where the set extended into the lobby and dancers mingled with the audience. "More interactive, immersive shows," predicts Randy Wiener, producer of "Sleep No More," the immersive, interactive riff on "Macbeth," complete with a band and full-service bar. He also expects more shows like the Tony-winning revival of "Hair" -- directed by his wife, Diane Paulus -- that invited the audience to get up onstage and shake it with the cast. Don't be surprised if marquees get livelier, too, the experts say: Instead of seeing, say, Hugh Jackman's name in lights, we might just find...a hologram. "If Broadway wants to survive, it will have to look twice at the nostalgic reliance on things like 1960s TV shows," says Patricia Martin, who specializes in commerce and culture. Rather than umpteen variations on "The Addams Family," look for material that goes deeper -- what she calls "something people can take home." And expect it to come from sources beyond Hollywood. "Think of the talent pool from all those emerging countries," muses Damian Bazadona, who founded the online marketing firm Situation Interactive. "There'll be a mash-up of talent!"


= = =


CORRECTION: In Friday's YCM, I listed the wrong name for the blog written by Andrew Taylor, who wrote about the need for more arts 'edge-perts.' Andrew's blog on is "The Artful Manager", not "Adaptistration" (which is the name of Drew McManus' blog about the orchestra business). Sorry for any confusion.

Please consider the environment before printing out this email.  Thanks.
YOU'VE COTT MAIL is a free service for professionals in the arts.  Emails are sent most weekdays. 
If you are not already on the distribution list and would like to sign up, please click here:

Join Our Mailing List      Follow me on Twitter     
Click here to view an archive of recent past editions of "You've Cott Mail."