Thursday, February 02, 2012

How Theatre Artists Become Essential Part 2

How Theatre Artists Become Essential Part 2 by Ron Russell

Excerpt: Despite the fairly widespread recognition of great artists as hard workers, the challenge of raising the overall value of theatre artists in the U.S. today is that most Americans just don’t see them as vital to improving daily quality of life. Whole generations have grown up without rigorous, consistent, or engaging arts education in their schools. Many producing organizations haven’t helped much, reacting to this problem by spending resources competing for a dwindling core of “connected consumers” rather than working to diversify and expand the pool of those who might be inclined to participate if properly invited. For any potential participant who starts from this outsider perspective, no amount of “excellence,” and certainly not exchange for high material worth, will sway them to see artists as personally valuable. Too often we producers place our faith in the “If you build it, they will come” promise of the film Field of Dreams. But in the case of the vast majority of Americans, no matter how well we build it, they simply won’t come, because they have no idea why what we do matters.

How Theatre Artists Become Essential Part 1

How Theatre Artists Become Essential Part 1 by Ron Russell

Excerpt: Before we can talk about the extrinsic value theatre artists ought to have in our society (what they get paid, what status they are given, what percentage of taxpayer dollars funnels their way, etc…), we need to try to define their intrinsic value. This encompasses both what they do uniquely well, and why what they do matters.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Prestige Can't Halt Downfall of Theater

Prestige Can't Halt Downfall of Theater

New York Times


Published: May 18, 2011

Just months after the director Kate Whoriskey became artistic director of Intiman Theater, she learned it was broke. In April the theater’s board of trustees voted to close it and layoff the staff.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Intiman Cancels the Rest of Its 2011 Season

Dear Friend of Intiman,

As many of you know, the past several months have been extremely challenging for Intiman Theatre. While we recently announced that the initial Impact Intiman campaign benchmark was met and that we were launching our strategic planning phase of the campaign, the reality of our financial situation has made it necessary to reevaluate the potential for the current season.

As much as we had hoped to conduct a strategic plan while operating, it is evident that we needed to close the 2011 season following the final performance of All My Sons. With our current income limitations there's no alternative.

Our primary intent has been and continues to be to preserve the future of Intiman - and our hope was to save the season, too. Simultaneous efforts to accomplish both are simply unattainable. While we are driven by that "show must go on" kind of determination, we must ensure that shows go on the Intiman stage for years and that can only happen if we pause, plan, and prepare for strong seasons in 2012 and beyond.

By canceling the current season, we preserve and protect the ability to serve the community in 2012, when the board intends to reopen the theatre and continue Intiman's history of presenting this community with engaging art. We are still working through details of how this impacts our constituents and will have more information available soon. Regretfully, we are unable to refund your ticket purchase price.

We are working to provide our ticketholders with the following:

-Tax deductible donation for remaining balance of subscription or ticket value

-Access to other area venues who have offered to provide Intiman patrons with an arts experience

-Invitation to participate and inform our programming and services in 2012 and beyond

Please spend a moment reading the Frequently Asked Questions document we've enclosed with this message. Over the past two days we've heard from many of our patrons and we want to reply to all of your inquiries. In the next week we will update the website with a comments page and we encourage you to share feedback and ask questions there.

The open support from the community has been very heartwarming. We know you want us to continue and we are grateful for your generosity during this time of repair and regrouping.

We are in the process of figuring out what will be needed for long-term viability. We will continue to communicate with our community in this process. We appreciate the patrons who have supported us during this time and we look forward to seeing you all again when the theatre returns.

With great appreciation,

Bruce Bradburn
President, Intiman Theatre Board of Trustees


Is Intiman closing? Intiman is going on a hiatus from producing plays that were scheduled to run in 2011. The board's intent is to reopen with a new season in 2012.

Is Intiman filing bankruptcy? There is not a plan to file bankruptcy at this time.

Where did the money you just raised go? Intiman has been in a daily cash crisis for many months now and the money raised went to support the artists and staff required to continue with the 2010 and 2011 productions and pay past due payables. The monthly expense of running a theatre the size of Intiman is very high even with budget cuts and staff reductions that were implemented. Since November 2010, we reduced the debt load of the theatre by paying off over $1.7 million of our indebtedness. This progress puts us in a stronger position for the theatre's future.

How do I get a refund? We regret that Intiman is not able to refund money for tickets to shows that will not take place this year. All season ticket holders will receive a tax-deductible receipt for the remaining balance of their subscription. Intiman will also attempt to find alternative options for ticket holders to enjoy theatre experiences in the area. For future planning, additional consideration and incentives for renewing subscribers will be developed for the 2012 season.

Why close in the middle of a season? As much as we had hoped to create a new strategic plan while operating, it is evident that we need to close the 2011 season following All My Sons. With our current income limitations there's no alternative.
Our primary intent has been and continues to be to preserve the future of Intiman - and our hope was to save the season, too. Simultaneous efforts to accomplish both are simply unattainable. While we are driven by that "show must go on" kind of determination, we must ensure that shows go on the Intiman stage for years and that can only happen if we pause, plan, and prepare for strong seasons in 2012 and beyond.

You said you needed $1 million plus the annual goal. Aren't you meeting those established benchmarks?
Our earned income budget for 2011 changed as we reviewed actual revenues and expectations with our consultant. As the extent of the financial crisis became clearer, extraordinary gifts received during the Impact Intiman campaign were not enough to overcome the day to day cash challenges. Even if we met the June and September Impact Intiman goals, the regular annual giving goals, and other revenue projections, Intiman could only continue to survive week-to-week. But, it would not thrive. It could not continue in a fashion that allows Intiman to be what it's been to this community for 39 years: a vibrant theatre that produces high quality art.

How much money will you need to raise now? The hiatus analysis will determine the future size of Intiman. It is unclear how the state of the theatre will impact future attendance and fundraising abilities. A budget will be based on the revenue potential of a new theatre model. The board realizes that it will be a multi-year process to win back loyal patrons and instill faith from the community of ticket buyers, subscribers and donors.

Who is going to lead the rebuilding process? The Board of Trustees will engage in a strategic planning and business model development phase. As part of this process they have engaged Susan Trapnell of Arts Consulting Group, Inc. Susan will work with the Board of Trustees and community stakeholders to identify the direction and leadership choices in order for the theatre to reopen and operate in a fiscally and operationally solvent manner.

What happens to the actors and employees you've hired? Artists and actors for The Call will be compensated according to their contracts for the production. All contracts for future productions will be honored according to the predetermined terms related to cancellations. Unfortunately, the part-time, full-time and seasonal administration and production employees will be terminated. The board regrets these ramifications of the decision to pause.

Have you identified the core problem?
The challenges at Intiman can be summarized in the work necessary to rebuild for the future, which will focus on:

What does it mean to create a new model? The board and staff leadership needs to reexamine what has made this theatre vibrant the past 39 years and determine what it looks like to be Intiman in the future. How many shows can one season have? What types of shows and programs do we offer? What time of year works best for the theatre? How do we use our venue in order to maximize potential? Do we co-produce or present? Can we afford commissions? Should we share our venue? Are there other untapped sources that we should investigate? Who will lead the staff and operations on a daily basis? How many employees can we afford? What is essential to put on productions? And most importantly: what is our mission?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Giving Literature Virtual Life

Giving Literature Virtual Life


Published: March 21, 2011

New digital tools are bringing new ways to teach humanities courses, even Shakespeare.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stage Matters: A short video on why / how / if theatre matters in America

Stage Matters: A short video on why / how / if theatre matters in America from Theatre Communications Group

The STAGE MATTERS video captures artists, theatre leaders, patrons, educators, corporate executives and politicians around the country as they emphatically speak about the value of theatre and challenges we face in an ever-changing environment.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Shakespeare Quarto Archive Online

The Shakespeare Quartos Archive is an open access digital collection of pre-1642 editions of William Shakespeare's plays. A cross-Atlantic collaboration has also produced an interactive interface for the detailed study of these geographically distant quartos, with full functionality for all thirty-two quarto copies of Hamlet held by participating institutions.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Serials Review

Dear School of Drama Faculty, Staff, and Students,

During the Spring Quarter, I advised you that an anticipated cut to the University Libraries materials budget would require a review of our journal, database, and other subscriptions with the aim of reducing our continuing obligations by up to $2 million annually. We are now nearing the end of this review and have linked a list of proposed cancellations to the Libraries Serials and Electronic Resources Review website at: The list, which is accessible to the UW community via NetId login, includes all the titles being considered for cancellation by the UW Seattle campus libraries, excluding Health Sciences. There is also a link to proposed Health Sciences cancellations.

The list can be sorted in title or broad disciplinary order, and it is searchable by title. There is a feedback mechanism where you may comment on titles you feel are essential or desirable to keep. The deadline for feedback is October 10.

Thank you for your help in this important task. If you have any questions about the 2009 Serials and Electronic Resources Review, feel free to contact me directly.

Angela Weaver