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.