Monday, June 30, 2008

2nd Indie Theater Convocation

On Saturday, July 12, at 2pm at the Barrow Street Theatre, NYTE will host the 2nd Indie Theater Convocation.

We held the First Ever Indie Theater Convocation a little more than 2 years ago, on April 9, 2006. That event brought together about 130 artists from every sector of the NYC indie theater community, and led directly to the expansion of our website indietheater.org, the creation of at least two of our podcast series (Indie Theater Now and The Indie Theater Life), and the formation of the League of Independent Theater. You'll hear more about all of this at the 2nd Convocation on July 12th.

Right now I want to talk a little about why we need a second indie theater convocation. If the first accomplished all those things, what's the compelling need to bring the community back together again?

The short answer is: Because we're not done yet. The Indie Theater Movement in NYC is on the threshold of becoming what it can become, but there's more work to do.

What is Indie Theater going to become? I think it's going to become the top choice for excellent, innovative, live performance among young audience members in NYC. I think it's going to become a respected and well-understood alternative to more expensive kinds of theatre offerings--one that is viable and rewarding, both artistically and economically.

I think it's going to become a cool cultural/entertainment option for people who don't traditionally go to the theatre.

Here's a true story. About six months ago, I was at a Borders Book Store here in Manhattan. I was buying a copy of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five because for some reason I didn't have my copy at home anymore. This was when Godlight Theatre was presenting the stage version at 59E59.

As I was paying for the book, the young man working the cash register said, "I love that book." I said: "Oh, you should go see the play Slaughterhouse Five. I just saw it and it was great." He said: "Really? There's a play of Slaughterhouse Five?" And then he frowned and said, "It's really expensive, right, like a hundred dollars?"

And I said: "No, it's about 20 or 25 dollars."

The key to the work that lies ahead for us is right in that anecdote. Young New Yorkers like this Borders employee want to see theater that's relevant to them, such as a great dramatization of a Vonnegut story. But they believe that theatre is irrelevant to them; and anyway it's probably not even on their radar because they think it costs a lot of money.

We know that Indie Theater is loaded with content that's compelling to the contemporary audience. And we also know that tickets to Indie Theater don't cost a hundred dollars. We know it's theater that people can afford....and that people want to see.

And THAT's the message we have to work together to communicate to--well, everybody in the whole world.

At the 2nd Indie Theater Convocation, we're going to talk about the next steps in doing exactly that.

If you want to be invited to the 2nd Indie Theater Convocation, send me an email now.

1 comment:

Wilson said...

Why do I have rehearsal when everything cool is going on?

Why am I always in rehearsal?