The Question Of New Models

Thursday, November 19, 2009 Leave a Comment

The idea for new models of theatre is as old as Thespis stepping out of the Chorus. Lately, there has been some interesting ideas in adapting existing social models from other fields: examples theatre as church, and theatre as community supported agriculture.

This got me thinking about what other potential models are out there, and how they might be adapted to the field. Here's what I can think of off the top of my early morning head:

1. Sports (minor and amateur leagues probably being especially useful)
2. Politics (again, local practices probably being the most useful)
3. School (especially colleges)
4. Social clubs (whether book clubs or masons)
5. Non-arts charities
6. Social media
7. Science
8. Corporations (though I think theatres have already been pushed too far in the direction of this model)
9. Other arts (galleries, bands, orchestras, etc.)

What else? Please comment below: after Lesser Seductions closes, if time presents itself I may try to host on the blog interviews with representatives from these different fields to see what practices may be applicable to theatre. Perhaps there's already research in this area - if so, please post it in the comments below.


  • Dave said:  

    Hi Gus, Looks like it's going to need a combination of these things. Most importantly the education aspect. This is good both for the artist and the audience.

    Great idea to interview across the board to see what is applicable.


  • Tony Adams said:  

    Some of the older models should be revisited as well, me thinks.

    How Elizabethan players functioned, Italian and French troups cin teh commedia era, the little theatre movement, tours in the pre-syndicate days, etc.

    I think it can be just as helpful to look at previous models as looking for analogies from other fields.

  • Matt A said:  

    I'd be really interested to see how practices from other fields could be utilized not only for theatre as an art (how to organize, collaborate, and create an environment for creativity), but theatre as a business.

    Have you ever read The Rise of the Creative Class? I think its a must-read for theatre practitioners...

    I've always thought it'd be amazing if companies of the size of Flux partnered up with other like groups in other markets and did an exchange of productions. If space/lights/sets were designed together, a show could be swappable. Flux could enjoy a brief run in NYC, as well as a run in the cities of other participating companies in cities like Austin/Madison/Santa Fe/etc. Possible name: The GATE Program (Great American Theatre Exchange).

  • August Schulenburg said:  


    Yes, I've often wondered how much revenue from Elizabethan theatre was generated through concessions - five acts make a lot more sense if each represents another sale. Knowing that this recent report has 20% of movie revenue coming from concessions - - it does beg the question what we gave up when we tossed the noisy slurpers and munchers out of the theatre and began to rely more heavily on donations.

    @Matt A - I haven't read it. But for you, I will.

  • rio said:  

    i love the Gate idea
    a lot of regional theaters have partnerships like this... but not an organization.

  • August Schulenburg said:  

    @Rio and Matt

    I think the National New Play Network's Continued Life of New Plays works very similarly to what you're proposing with GATE - but it's still an exciting idea, and worth considering as one more tool in our hopes of prolonging the life of worthy plays. Hoping to blog more on this subject soon!

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