regional theaters are starting to transform

danTt

Well-Known Member
This was a decent article, but the part about "Commerical theater was just able to shutdown and restart and no one was harmed" really ground my gears. It's not like it put hundreds (if not thousands) of touring and local stagehands out of work for years or anything, just a minor pause.
 

jtweigandt

Well-Known Member
""where theater artists must answer to a volunteer board of directors, often with little theater expertise, which has all of the authority and none of the accountability. (The board structure is among Internal Revenue Service requirements for tax-exempt organizations under subsection 501(c) of the tax code).""
Having been both artist and board member.. I kinda bristle at the no accountability line.. The board has all the accountability. We do 5 musicals a year as a non profit, and there is the constant struggle between putting butts in the seats, and having things to do to that we keep the actors, directors, and musicians challenged and satisfied. But if you create great art and go broke doing it, no one has been served well. I coined the phrase "Terribly important theater" "Man that was terrible to sit through.. but yeah it was important"
 

Les

Well-Known Member
""where theater artists must answer to a volunteer board of directors, often with little theater expertise, which has all of the authority and none of the accountability. (The board structure is among Internal Revenue Service requirements for tax-exempt organizations under subsection 501(c) of the tax code).""
Having been both artist and board member.. I kinda bristle at the no accountability line.. The board has all the accountability. We do 5 musicals a year as a non profit, and there is the constant struggle between putting butts in the seats, and having things to do to that we keep the actors, directors, and musicians challenged and satisfied. But if you create great art and go broke doing it, no one has been served well. I coined the phrase "Terribly important theater" "Man that was terrible to sit through.. but yeah it was important"
100%. I'm an employee of a theatre with a board (several, actually: Governing Board, Production Board, Executive Board), and I actually welcome the type of "detachment" that comes with a Governing Board who has little to do with the creative goings on of the theatre. Their job is to establish/enforce policy, spend money wisely, etc. Sure, they have to be in tune with the theatre's mission, but I have seen a lot of local theatres go broke and close their doors due to everyone involved being "more of a theatre person". You need some pragmatic business people involved if you want to be open for another season. I'm not saying us 'creative type' can't hack it, but speaking for myself, sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees. People who look at the big picture are needed, rather than those who get wrapped up in the whirlwind of whichever show is going on. You're right that the board (Governing, in our case) has a lot of accountability and responsibility. They make sure budgets are set wisely, that they're met, and that there's still funds left to pay musicians, staff, bills, etc. While also growing the organization. That's a lot to worry about!

You're also right about the balance. As much as some of us would love to do big sell-out musicals all the time, we can't ignore the base of patrons who want to sit down for a nice quiet (and sometimes quite stale) show. They're usually the ones who give us money in the form of donations and season ticket purchases.
 
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Crisp image

Well-Known Member
" I coined the phrase "Terribly important theater" "Man that was terrible to sit through.. but yeah it was important"
We use the term artistic triumph for a show that was difficult for the cast that did not put bums on seats. Into the Woods was on such show for us. Luckily we also Shrek Jr which gave a boost to the budget.
 

Jay Ashworth

Well-Known Member
[ ... ] I have seen a lot of local theatres go broke and close their doors due to everyone involved being "more of a theatre person". You need some pragmatic business people involved if you want to be open for another season. I'm not saying us 'creative type' can't hack it, but speaking for myself, sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees. People who look at the big picture are needed, rather than those who get wrapped up in the whirlwind of whichever show is going on.
Don't we have this *exact* conversation going on over in "I wanna start a new house"? :)
 

Les

Well-Known Member
Wow, looks like you're right! Apparently I'm pretty passionate (some may argue stubborn?) about that position. It's always sad when it happens, which might explain my frequent warnings. ;)

Well that, and we lose spend enough money doing theatre as it is. I hate to think of someone losing their life savings because they wanted to save a bit of cash by not involving an accountant (or similar) in not only startup, but operations as well. :)
 

jtweigandt

Well-Known Member
Well that, and we lose spend enough money doing theatre as it is. I hate to think of someone losing their life savings because they wanted to save a bit of cash by not involving an accountant (or similar) in not only startup, but operations as well. :)
And as you know.. "Sometimes you can make more money with a flop than with a hit" Leo Bloom CPA
 

TimMc

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Wow, looks like you're right! Apparently I'm pretty passionate (some may argue stubborn?) about that position. It's always sad when it happens, which might explain my frequent warnings. ;)

Well that, and we lose spend enough money doing theatre as it is. I hate to think of someone losing their life savings because they wanted to save a bit of cash by not involving an accountant (or similar) in not only startup, but operations as well. :)
Accounts, lawyers and doctors... are the services we should pay for first regardless of theater or not. I've witnessed one local producer go under multiple times, how she continues to operate remains a mystery of the universe to me. Another producer of youth theater had an executive change and the new "producing director" over-spent the first season to the point they could have paid for a whole 'nother show. It took them 3 years to pay off the bills and their board became micro-managers in that process, and that had its own downside.
 

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