When I graduate I want to start a theater company.
When I graduate I wanted to start a theater company?
When I look around at theater around me and when I am with a group of peers riffing on our ideas of a dream theatrical experience I can hardly stop myself from bouncing off the walls with ideas for my very own company.
I dream of an ensemble based group of theater artists who come together under one roof: writers, directors, actors, who create and produce their own work. Who focus on the current social zeitgeist. Who strive for diversity and a global perspective. Who love each other and what they do.
Then yesterday I came across an article by Rebecca Novick called –
I thought well, okay then. And I began to read.
Turns out she’s right. To the best of my knowledge, post-grad theater artists are not ready to start their own company. I obviously knew I had to learn a few things before I dived right in but reading this article I realized just how much I have to learn. For starters, an understanding of the non-profit theater system currently in place and then an ability to recognize that this may not be the best model for an effective company and figure out other viable solutions.
Novick claims that the key to a successful company is not in the structure but in the artists. If the focus is on the people and everything else is second (a lofty, yet attainable goal) then the work, and the artists, will benefit greatly. Sustain the people, not the structure.
I wanted to make a theater company that would allow me to do what I wanted to do, with people I wanted to do it with. Reading this article I realize that I need to look into all different areas of funding and producing options to find a fit, or create a new way of working, that suits the needs of whoever I’m working with.
Equally this made me think about the importance of strong collaborators. Working in such a tight nit educational community I feel in a bit of a Catch-22. On the one had I’m forming lifelong bonds with artists who I love and respect that I know will bear fruitful professional collaborations. On the other hand, I want to find more opportunities to reach outside of my immediate circle and connect with more young, engaging, artists who are passionate about the same things I am.
All just takes a little time, a lot of thought, the will to preserver. I still want that company. I still want those people. I will wait. I will learn. I will be smart. To find a form that works for my needs, and the needs of my collaborators.
So don’t start a theater company.