Tuesday, November 06, 2007

corrupting the youth

The draft SOP below for the League focuses on funding, real estate, union Codes and contracts and a code of ethics for our territory. These are long-term issues and vital areas of interest.

I don't want to forget another one, though, which is harnessing the power of the university resources and student population of New York City and directing those resources and that audience to our theaters.

It's like we're living next to a reservoir and we're all still digging our own little wells. Imagine an organized, unified approach to the New York University theater department and the Columbia University School of Journalism. And those are just two departments in two institutions.

I'm not talking about conjuring up a hail of interns that are usually twice as much work to monitor as they're worth, I'm saying what if we could sit down with a dean or two and say we represent forty theaters and theater companies here in the city and we want to educate your students about the new works being created right now and we want to invite your class to an open rehearsal and talk-back and we want your arts administration class to use our theaters as their residencies, etc.?

This would take some serious organization and thinking through before we pick up a phone and call a professor, but man, we could catch those kids now and expose them to the good stuff and hook them for life.


Zachary R. Mannheimer said...

Not only that, but you could then give them a report showing the number of new theatre artists versus the number of new paid gigs in NYC and watch their jaws drop as reality smacks them in the face. And then send these talented folks to Iowa where they belong. :)

In all seriousness, this is a great idea, something I'd very much like to see happen. Godspeed.

John said...

Hey, amen my newly Iowan brother.

If they know the reality, they're going to get on board with the remedy.

RLewis said...

This reminds me of a reception I attended last August where NYU's dean announced their new theater space in the former Tower Video building. Fellow alum's Oscar and Brian were there speaking about their new programs that will utilize students at The Public and CSC (among other OB houses).

I was actually impressed that Oscar was honest enough to say, basically - although you can't make a living wage acting at The Public, you can still make a life in the theater (he was more $ blunt). My take away being: a) those at the school are aware of the reality, even if they ignore it; and b) if you were graduating today would you rather work at The Public, etc or a -99 seat black box?

Indie theater is such a hard, hard thing to do, which makes me worry that wooing students would be just another wall for our bloddy heads (at least until we're paying a pittiful $466/wk - I think that's the wage Oscar referenced.)

John said...

Yes, it's a hard place to rock. Did I just make that up? But I think what we have going for us, as opposed to the Public, etc. is that the students see the insides of organizations that are being built, rather than taking the tour of the big cruise ships. You know, make the reality of the situation a virtue, rather than deny it. There's the whole hipness factor as well, not that I know a goddamned thing about what a 19 year old is going to find hip.

I'm also thinking we focus beyond the theater students. Get a fraction of the student population aware of and attending our shows.