Wednesday, February 01, 2012

the independent theater fund


For over sixty years, Off-Off Broadway (now known as Independent Theater) has provided a haven for New York City theater artists and served as a cauldron and cradle for new and innovative American theater.  This sector has grown beyond a “starting place” for many artists and now provides the artistic home for over 10,000 individuals and 300 companies.

But this civic treasure is threatened.  The economic realities of New York City have forced many artists and companies to leave New York.  Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Des Moines and many other cities are poised to replace New York as the center of new American theater.

We refuse to cede the ground to these other cities.  New York has an historical and cultural claim as the birthplace of great American theater and the League of Independent Theater is committed to protecting that birthright. 

And it only costs a nickel.

Horse Trade Theater Group, Clancy Productions, Present Company (producers of the New York International Fringe Festival), wreckio ensemble, Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company, the Amoralists, Surf Reality, Elephant Run District, Rabbit Hole Ensemble, Jewish Plays Project, Parallel Exit, Mind the Gap, Stolen Chair Theater Company, Gorilla Rep, Art House Productions, Sponsored by Nobody, Angry Bubble Productions, ViolaCello Stageworks, La Lupa Italian Cultural Arts Festival, WET Productions, Organs of State, Small Pond Entertainment, The New York Theater Experience, Inc., the Living Theater and other companies will contribute five cents from every ticket sold this year as seed money for the Independent Theater Fund.  This list is growing every day.

We call on all independent theater companies, artists and venues to join us in this effort.  As always, we recognize that we are strongest and most effective when we work together and while our individual bank accounts may be small, our collective resources are substantial.

Elena Holy, Producing Artistic Director of FringeNYC says

"The Present Company is always proud to be a part of anything that involves indie theatre artists supporting each other. The New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) was forged on our collective indie traditions of self-sufficiency, creativity, and working together. This new fund builds on that idea and puts it into action across our entire community - its potential impact is extraordinarily exciting." 

This is the first phase of this funding initiative.

We call on the League of American Theaters and Producers to join the cause and help us to support, sustain and strengthen the independent theater community in New York City.

The Broadway League has a long history of supporting charitable efforts that benefit the theatrical community and with this initiative they will take the lead in addressing the exodus of young theater professionals and companies from New York City as well as recognizing the national cultural treasure that is the Off-Off Broadway territory.

With a five cent donation from each ticket sold to a Broadway show, (which is .057 of the average ticket price or about five hundredths of a percent) we can create an immediate, annual fund for small theater in New York. 

In 2010, Broadway attendance was 12,106,105. If the Independent Theater Fund was in effect in 2010, the independent theater community would have just over $605,000.00 to maintain and upgrade venues, provide scholarships for promising writers, directors, designers and performers and mount a high-visibility city-wide marketing campaign for all of the independent theater productions in the city.

The allocation of funds will be divided into three areas:
Real Estate Fund – money for venue renovation and repair, equipment upgrade, etc.  Also, a Seed Money Fund will be created for real estate purchase.
Project Grants – money to create shows.
Individual Grants – money for independent theater artists and practitioners.

We call on all theaters and companies in New York to join the Fund. 

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