Theater For The Future

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White Hot Grease Fires of Pure Entertainment

February 11, 2008 By: Nick Keenan Category: Community Building, Teachable Moments

I learned something today. Definitively.

It’s not about money. It’s about energy.

Don’s right… we can’t succeed if we simply copy the corporate model. The corporate model is hideously inefficient, and it wears theaters out because corporations can solve problems with new hires. We will never have that luxury, and that means that corporate strategy can’t just be bandaided in place into an arts organization.

Adam’s right … ignoring the lessons and practices of the corporate model is foolhardy. They’ve solved a lot of problems and generated nearly all of the infrastructure we rely upon to both do business and create art, and every time we look at the non-profit or corporate model we can cull something incredibly valuable from it, even if we’re creating an entirely new model.

What we need to do is innovate with the current structure as a starting point, and commit to that innovation. We need to emulate, not copy, the successful practices of corporate America or the great LORT successes of the past, use our very very limited energy and action wisely and dare I say cooperatively, and where we can help America and Chicago rediscover itself is in the quality, honesty, and vitality of our product: Ideas, story, and humanity.

It pays off. Quick.

Tonight, Cindy Crescenzo (who I’ve never met or talked to before this evening’s Theater Dish event on podcasting sponsored by the League of Chicago Theaters) used New Leaf’s blog and podcast as an example of what to do and how to talk about yourself using new media when you have almost no resources.

Marsha and I just about had a heart attack. I have the numbers to prove it: Cindy is one of ELEVEN people who have downloaded the podcast to date, and it’s made that big of an impact in two weeks. Because it is something new, and something different. And yet, it’s not – it’s simply having a more honest conversation in a forum where people aren’t yet comfortable having an honest conversation.

Thanks for the shout out, Cindy, and for those of you just tuning in: Let’s get started.

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