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Be moved, be bold, be theatre - Starting A Professional Theatre Company in Rural America

Magisterarbeit 2008 100 Seiten

Amerikanistik - Sonstiges

Leseprobe

Contents

Summary

Foreword

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 1: Corn, Kettle and the Prairie –
Introducing the State of South Dakota

CHAPTER 2: Broadway. Regional. Community.
Theatre in the United States

CHAPTER 3: Stage Art for the Prairie – Building Bühnenkunst Theatre
3.1. Prelude: The Preconditions For A Theatre Company in Rural America
3.1.1. The Sioux Falls Theatre Market – An Analysis
3.1.2. The Audience in the Midwest
3.1.3. Theatre Artists in the Midwest and Sioux Falls
3.2. Rising Action: Starting the Company
3.2.1. Creating a Legal Entity
3.2.2. Getting on Board – The Company and its Structure
3.2.3. Starting the Theatre Company as a Business
3.2.4. Bühnenkunst Theatre as a Performance Arts Institution

CHAPTER 4: Debut Production – Spring Awakening
4.1. The Play and its Appeal to the Sioux Falls Audience
4.2. Gathering A Team
4.3. The Production Design
4.4. Marketing The Show
4.5. Practice Makes Perfect ­ Rehearsals
4.6. ‘Breaking a Leg’ – The Show’s Run
4.7. Wrapped up and Archived – Spring Awakening on Record
4.8. Post­Production

CHAPTER 5: The Future of Bühnenkunst Theatre Company – A Conclusion

APPENDIX
A) Certificate of Incorporation
B) Articles of Incorporation
C) Bylaws
D) Article by Jay Kirschenman (Argus Leader May 29, 2008)
E) Theatre Companies in South Dakota
F) Works Cited
i) Print Sources
ii) Electronic Sources
iii) Pictures and Figures

ATTACHEMENTS

Program for Spring Awakening

Summary ­ Zusammenfassung

“Ich bin überzeugt, dass in einer großartigen Stadt, sogar in einer Kleinstadt oder einem Dorf, großartiges Theater ein äußerliches und sichtbares Zeichen einer verinnerlichten und glaubhaften Kultur ist.”1 Das amerikanische Theater lebt nicht nur, wie weit verbreitet, in der glitzernden Welt zwischen Broadway, Off-Broadway und Off- Off-Broadway in New York City, sondern pulsiert vor allem im Herzen der USA. Der Mittlere Westen der Vereinigten Staaten ist mannigfaltig in seiner Geographie, Ökonomie und sozialem Umfeld. Neben endlosen Weiten, Farmen und Bergen existieren und wachsen amerikanische Metropolen wie Chicago, Minneapolis oder Detroit. So vielfältig wie dieser Teil Amerikas ist auch dessen Theaterlandschaft. Professionelles Schauspiel, sowie Amateurtheater sind gleichenteils anerkannt und beliebt.

Diese Magisterarbeit beschäftigt sich größtenteils mit Berufstheater in den Vereinigten Staaten, speziell wird die Gründung einer professionellen Theatergruppe im ländlichen Amerika beobachtet und analysiert. Dabei wird besonders auf die rechtlichen, geschäftlichen, künstlerischen Vorgängen eingegangen, die sich bis zur Debütinszenierung des Gründers, nämlich Frank Wedekind’s FrühlingsErwachen, hinziehen.

Gleichmassen werden die Voraussetzungen für die Entstehung von Bühnenkunst Theatre im Zuge einer Marktanalyse von Sioux Falls, SD, dem Gründungsort, näher betrachet. Durch Feldforschung konnten empirische und statistische Daten erhoben, analysiert und ausgewertet werden. Dazu dienten vor allem Internet-Befragungen die an Theaterkünstler und Zuschauer gerichtet waren.

Theater gedeiht unter anderem durch den konstant starken Rückhalt und Unterstützung durch des Publikum und die Gemeinde. Allerdings ändert sich die Theaterlandschaft je weiter westlich die Untersuchungen gehen. Gibt es in Iowa und South Dakota noch eine gewisse Ansammlung an lokalen professionellen Theatern, verringert sich die Anzahl in Montana auf Null. Es findet sich allerdings verschiedene Formen des Amateurtheaters. Community- und Universitätstheater kommen dort am häufigsten vor.

Konzeptionell ist diese Arbeit unkonventioneller aufgebaut. Sie beruht nicht auf einer zentralen These, die sich zu beweisen gilt, sondern ist vielmehr eine Synthese aus theoretischen, beschreibenden Fakten und Hintergründen, und konkreten, praktischen Ausführungen, die sich bei der Etablierung des Theaters in der Kunstlandschaft von Sioux Falls von der ersten Idee bis zur Premiere des ersten Stückes ergeben haben. Die Inszenierung mit ihren künstlerischen, technischen, finanziellen, werblichen, aber auch menschlichen Aspekten, wird dabei ebenfalls näher analysiert.

Zum Schluss wird ein Blick in die mögliche Zukunft der Unternehmens geworfen und dabei auf Möglichkeiten eingegangen, die sich in den nächsten zehn Jahren ergeben könnten.

Foreword

“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”

Oscar Wilde

Creating art and especially stage art has become the driving force in my life. A journey that essentially began in 2004 is now starting to unfold itself to a full degree.

While studying abroad in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 2004-05, I became acquainted with the local theatre scene through the Augustana College Theatre Department. Over the course of the year, I was introduced to many local theatre artists and became an active member as an actor, scenic artist, stage manager and assistant director. The passion and dedication of the few performing artists in Sioux Falls was infinite and aspiring.

During the last four years, I have participated one way or another in fourteen theatre productions of various kinds in Germany and the United States. The experiences I made in both quite diverse and sometimes contrasting theatre scenes gave me a unique perspective on functioning and daily operations of a theatre, as well as the life- style of artists and factors that influence the financial and artistic decision-making.

While I am finishing this thesis I am not only a full-time Assistant Director at the Hans-Otto-Theatre in Potsdam, and the Founding Artistic Director of the Bühnenkunst Theatre Company in Sioux Falls, SD.

The exciting and life-changing journey how I became the latter and what it took to create a theatre company in the rural Midwest of the United States will be the central focus of this thesis.

While this is still an academic paper, it approaches the subject matter in an unusual, more practical than theoretical way.

It can also be seen as some sort of a guideline and inspiration for professional theatre companies to form and grow in the Midwest. Its potential in the creative energy of its artists, the eagerness, curiosity and zeal of its audience, combined with the generosity of donors and sponsors, is incessant.

This paper is supposed to inspire theatre artists in the heartland and shall give them hope and new faith in the capability of their region and to further enrich the cultural studies of literature on the Midwest and its sundry theatre landscape.

I would like to thank the Augustana College, Sioux Falls, South Dakota for their support, Dr. Julia Bennett and her husband Tom, for their hospitality, assistance and advice. A special thank is directed to all people who supported the company financially.

Further, I would like to thank all individual participants in the two surveys and the managing directors who made them available to all their artists Last, but not least I would like to give a special thank you to my business partner and good friend Andrew Erickson for being part of this thrilling journey and my personal life.

Janek Liebetruth

Berlin, in October 2008

Introduction

“All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts.”

William Shakespeare As You Like It

In general, American theatre is often equated with theatre produced and staged on Broadway in New York City. Yet, the American theatre scene is much more diverse and widespread than commonly believed.

While the following work is focusing primarily on founding a professional theatre company in South Dakota, it also gives an inside glimpse into the fascinating and mysterious world behind the curtain of contemporary performing arts, especially in the United States.

Similar to the author’s approach towards theatre, this academic paper at hand is rather unconventional in nature - it does not make an attempt to proof a central thesis; it rather follows and analyzes the voyage of an evolving theatre endeavor called Bühnenkunst Theatre Company, founded in the fastest growing community in the Midwest region of the United States – Sioux Falls, South Dakota.2

In this paper, descriptive, theoretical facts and explanations are being intertwined with concrete, practical implementations on the process of founding a professional theatre company in rural America.

In order to understand the complexity of the theatre culture and business in the United States, it is crucial to familiarize with the current state of the American theatre, the organizations that influence it the most and all the operations and functions of a producing live theatre company and the procedures before, during and after a production.

Along the way, this paper does not only emphasize the artistic and creative segment of theatre, but also the technical as well as the business, legal and of course human element.

Furthermore, the significance of choosing Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as a market for the new company will be explained and its history, demographics and location investigated. In order to analyze the professional theatre market in the South Dakota, two online surveys were conducted among theatre artists as well as the general public. The range of data, figures and statements captured the genuine essence of not only the multiplicity of different communities in the Midwest, but also the mixture of its theatre landscape.

Beyond the study of the locale, the paper will demonstrate all issues that emerged during the formation process of the new company, like filing the articles of incorporation, getting support from the community, forming a board of directors and raising money, as well as choosing the right play for the debut production.

The paper continues to elucidate the development of that production from a conceptual, aesthetical, technical, financial and promotional point of view. It will clarify the relevance that the selected play, Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind, has for the Sioux Falls audience.

Finally, the paper will take a look into a possible future of the company and what might be achievable within the next few years.

CHAPTER 1 Corn, Kettle and the Prairie ­ Introducing the State of South Dakota

“The Great Plains…feel at times like an almost forgotten region – and yet there are wonders in it.”

Larry McMurtry

Located within the western part of the Great Plains region, South Dakota became the fortieth state of America in 1889 and is one of the six states of the former Frontier Strip. Acquired in the Louisiana Purchase, the region became part of the Dakota Territory in 1861 and was split off from North Dakota at the time it achieved statehood. The state consists of four major land regions: The Great Plains, the Black Hills, the Dissected Till Plains and the Drift Prairie. Therefore, the landscape varies from farmland, over rolling hills and buttes to a range of low mountains. Especially the Black Hills are important to South Dakota’s economy, since they are rich in minerals.

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Fig. 1 South Dakota’s location in the United States 3

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Fig. 2 Map of South Dakota 4

With the set up of an U.S. fur trading post in 1817, settlement in the area began. After a fast growing number of settlements in the region, the Indian tribes of Yankton, Dakota, and Sioux left most of eastern South Dakota to the U.S. government by signing the 1858 Treaty.

After the eastern railway link to the capital of Yankton in 1872 and the discovery of gold in the Black Hills in 1874, a swarm of German, Scandinavian, Irish and Russian settlers entered the territory. However, since the Black Hills still belonged to the Sioux tribes, who did not grant for white people to start mining, a war between the Indians and the United States broke out.

In the following year, the population of Caucasians tripled and the last major incident of this war occurred on December 29, 1890, at Wounded Knee Creek, when the “U.S. Army massacred three hundred Lakota, mostly women and children”5.

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Fig. 3 SD Prairie 6

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Fig. 4 Mount Rushmore 7

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Fig. 5 SD Farm 8

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Fig. 6 Badlands 9

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates South Dakota’s population at 781,919 people10. Although the state also faces the population shift from the rural to the urban area, the population increased steadily (U.S. Census: 754,844 in 2000). German is the largest ancestry group followed by Scandinavian and Irish. After New Mexico and Alaska, the state has the highest proportion of Native Americans in the United States. Five counties lay entirely within Indian Reservations11. Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills is one of the main American attractions and a National Monument in the United States.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota's largest city, with currently 153,100 citizens,12 is “named for the Sioux Tribe of American Indians and the waterfalls of the Big Sioux River, located a few blocks from today's downtown district. The Falls of the Big Sioux River drew people to this area as a source of water. Industries prospered and a city grew. The Dakota War of 1862 briefly caused the city to evacuate, but many former residents returned in the following years, along with a wave of new homesteaders. By the turn of the century, the prairie settlement had grown into a city of more than 10,000 residents. ”13

Forbes named Sioux Falls “the #1 Best Small Place For Business And Careers in 2005, 2006, and 2007 important location for financial services, health care, and retail trade”14, with no state corporate income taxes and low property rates.

Due to the two major hospitals - Sanford Health and Avera McKennan Hospital, Sioux Falls is a significant regional health care center as well, with a growing emphasis on research in medical technology. Additionally, Sioux Falls serves as the cultural center of the region; and the economical and political landscape makes it the ideal location for a new theatre company.

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Fig. 7 Sioux Falls Impressions (by Rich Murphy)

CHAPTER 2 Broadway. Regional. Community.

Theatre in the United States

It is neither easy to portray theatre in the United States in just a few words, nor can it be done by only describing it with one umbrella term. Since ancient time, when Thespis developed the first actor and the Greeks celebrated their god of wine Dionysus, theatre has been from the people for the people. Theatre has been part of religious life in Ancient Greece, politics in Ancient Rome, was considered devilish and evil all through the Middle Ages, has been brought to new blossom and heights by Shakespeare, has been a status symbol and institution for the bourgeoisie, the playground for virtuosi, a tribune for dissenters and revolutionists and saw the rise of abstract and postmodern variants.

Theatre in the United States today is quite diverse and there are a wide variety of distinctive forms, types and sizes – professional and non-professional as well as commercial and non-profit forms. There are tiny ambitious companies that struggle for survival with hardly any budget; on the other side there are massive Broadway shows with a budget of several million dollars.

Location wise, Broadway in New York City is generally considered the pinnacle of commercial U.S. theatre, though the performing arts appear all across the country.

Since the midst of the twentieth century however, there has been movement away from the centralized commercial theatre Mecca of New York Broadway. But only the year 1959 marked a breakthrough in regional professional theatre, when an Irish director named Tyrone Guthrie established the idea of a permanent resident theatre outside of New York. In 1963, his dream came true when the Guthrie Theatre opened right in the middle of the Midwest and over one thousand miles away from New York in the city of Minneapolis in Minnesota.

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Fig. 1 The United States Theatre System

Even today the competition continues. However, both sides started to distinguish itself from each other. Whereas Broadway has turned more and more into a mass musical theater arena, presenting more traditional staging techniques rather than cutting edge, it is the regional theatres that are producing a variety of classical work mixed with original pieces using more avant-garde and venturous staging methods than established ones. The most influential not-for-profit regional theatres are organized in the League of Resident Theatres or LORT.

There are different criteria that are required for a membership into LORT. “The theatre must be incorporated as a non-profit I.R.S.-approved organization. Each self- produced production must be rehearsed for a minimum of three weeks. The theatre must have a playing season of twelve weeks or more. The theatre will operate under a LORT-Equity contract.”15

Nevertheless, Broadway or regional alike, professional theatre is generally considered any production company that pays their artists and staff. Officially and legally however professional is any theatre that runs with an Actors’ Equity Association, or Equity, agreement or contract, non-professional theatre is every theatre that is amateur or voluntary based, like most community and dinner theatres.

Equity is the premiere theatrical performers' labor union in the United States and was founded in New York City in 1913 as the first of the American actors' unions. Its jurisdiction covers both actors and stage managers in the professional theater industry.

An Equity membership grants its owner full access to the benefits, resources and safeguards negotiated by Equity. Benefits include a minimum salary, work rules, a health and pension plan, agents’ regulations, anti-discrimination guidelines and union discounts. Those protections assure its members participate in theatrical activity that meets professional standards.

Equity has several agreements according to the different kinds of theatre, like LORT or SPT, Smaller Professional Theatre, contracts or the position within the cast like leading role, ensemble or dance captain. Equity member theatres can operate either as a commercial or as a not-for-profit company.

CHAPTER 3 Stage Art For The Prairie – Building Bühnenkunst Theatre

3.1. Prelude: Preconditions For A Theatre Company in Rural America

There is a wide variety of theatre beyond Broadway and bigger metropolitan areas; ranging from highly professional companies, to highly motivated amateur theatres, to honest and ambitious Children’s Theatre to funny Improvisational Theatre. Nevertheless, professional companies seem to be centered in bigger metro areas like Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit or Madison. Whereas, more rural regions like South Dakota, Iowa and Montana, are mostly covered by community theatres, ranging from very amateur to high quality with bigger budgets. Here and there, professional companies can be found, that are doing good, but there is huge potential for more.

According to the Theatre Communication Group 2007 Theatre Facts based on their annual Fiscal Survey, there are 1,910 I.R.S. approved not-for-profit professional theatre companies operating all over the United States.16 This number represents all the different varieties of theatre groups ranging from large-scale resident companies to tiny private groups with only one or two directors and no permanent ensemble or staff.

Taking in mind that in 2008 there were only seventy-six LORT theatres within the United States17, the vast majority lies somewhere in the space between, producing anything from one to four full scale shows each season. Some smaller companies generally only have a production occasionally or every other season.

The age of production companies is also worthy of note. In bigger metropolitan areas like Chicago or Minneapolis there are companies ranging back fifty or more years, operating amongst younger theatres. Yet, the more westwards one goes, the younger the companies will be. Most professional theatres in South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska or Montana are not older than five years. Occasionally, an older company has survived longer, but in general theatres are younger. The matter of age is another evidence for the still ongoing westward movement and extension of professional theatre.

Then again, directly connected to the preceding statement is the fact that still the more westwards you go the less professional theatres you will find. Again, those regions can have a fairly sophisticated community theatre or other amateur companies.

Additionally, there is a widespread network of bigger performance spaces, which can host national touring companies.

3.1.1. The Sioux Falls Theatre Market – An Analysis

South Dakota’s theatre scene in particular is much more diverse than commonly believed. There are forty-seven theatre companies and venues operating all over the Mount Rushmore state. Even though more than half of them are community or amateur theatres they are spread all over the state.18 However, there is no resident or full-time Equity theatre in South Dakota.

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Fig. 8 Spread of Theatre in South Dakota 19

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Fig. 9 Theatre Structure in South Dakota

In recent years, the theatre landscape in South Dakota’s biggest city has not been the most vibrant, diverse ore professional one, nor does it produce a lot of experimental or groundbreaking shows, but there is a lot of aspiration and creative energy in the theatre artists who choose to work and live in Sioux Falls. There are several amateur and more or less professional theatre companies in the city and its surrounding area operated by a few ambitious artists like Sioux Empire Community Theatre, Comfort Theatre, Children's Theatre Company of Sioux Falls, Bare Bodkins, Blue Moon Theatre, Ephemeral Productions or Big Fish. In opposite to regional theatres, with exception of the Sioux Empire Community Theatre, all those groups are producing rather single plays on more or less frequent basis than full seasons.

The Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science for instance is one of the Sioux Empire region's premiere entertainment, cultural and educational facility. It is the home of the Visual Arts Center, Kirby Science Discovery Center and Wells Fargo CineDome Theater. The Pavilion’s Husby Performing Arts Center hosts the 1,800+ seat Great Hall and 291-seat Belbas Theater. The state-of-the-art performing arts complex presents its own performance series of Broadway shows, music, dance and theatre, and is the resident stage of the South Dakota Symphony.

In addition to the large performance hall that the Washington Pavilion provides, Sioux Falls is home to several production companies of various sizes and missions.

Ephemeral Productions for example is one of the smaller private companies. Even without a granted non-profit status, the theatre company is committed to bring award-winning literature featuring strong roles for women to the stage in their community. Julia Bennett, Associate Professor of Theatre at Augustana College, and Kim Bartling, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Theatre at the University of Sioux Falls created Ephemeral Productions in 2002 out of the desire to produce independent work of quality, work with those the founders admire and to bring in artists and friends on collaborations. Ephemeral is the only theatre company in Sioux Falls with that kind of mission.

The Bare Bodkins Theatre Company is another constant in the Sioux Falls theatre scene. Founded in 1997 by Dr. Ivan Fuller of Augustana College, Bare Bodkins was created in order to bring a unique type of theatre to the Sioux Falls area. While not solely restricting itself to Elizabethan scripts, the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries are the primary sources for shows produced.

With an average budget of approximately eight thousand dollars, Bare Bodkins presents one Shakespeare production each summer. “The cast size is usually between six and eleven people. The company employs community performers and strives to produce outstanding, inexpensive theatre using the motto: less is more."20

Like Ephemeral Productions, Bare Bodkins is also the only theatre company of its kind in the Sioux Falls area. Big Fish is a fairly new non-profit community theatre, committed to providing a fresh perspective on classic plays and exists to “offer quality live theatre, increase exposure to influential works, provide ongoing learning opportunities, and encourage creative expression throughout the city of Sioux Falls.”21

Another from of theatre is the Comfort Theatre Company. The Comfort Theatre Company, a small for-profit enterprise, is committed to bringing quality musical theater to every corner of the region. It “grew out of the idea that [they] could produce high quality musical theater experiences almost anywhere. In short, [they] make musical theater more accessible to the citizens of rural areas, while never compromising artistic quality.”22

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Fig. 10 Ephemeral Logo 23

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Fig. 11 Washington Pavilion

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Fig. 12 Ivan Fuller

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Richard II (2004) 25

3.1.2. The Audience in the Midwest

„The difference between a theatre with and without an audience is enormous. There is a palpable, critical energy created by the presence of the audience.“

Andy Goldsworthy

In addition to the analysis of the pre-existing theatre scene within the Sioux Falls arts community, another factor is paramount for the success and survival of a theatre company. Those are the people who attend the performances - the audience.

In order to conduct this analysis, a questionnaire was compiled over the Internet.

Afterwards an Email was sent to 1,600 students 323 faculty and staff members at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with the request to complete the survey and to forward the link to the survey to their relatives and friends. When the survey was closed after three months, 113 people had completed it, 67% of them were women.

The demographics mirror the selection of participants in a College environment. The largest number of participants (44%) were between 21 and 30 years old, 70% had a Bachelor’s degree or at least some College, 27% worked in education, 31% were students, 10% had a job in retail and 21% chose other.

Within the scope of earnings 35% gave their average annual income as between $50,000 and $100,000, 18% declared $15,000 or below, 15% stated $15-30,000, 13% affirmed $30-50,000, 17% said their revenue would be between $100,000 and $200,000 and 2% indicated an income of $200,000 and more.

The motivation for people to attend a theatre performance can be quite different. For some people it is purely entertainment, others want to be challenged by what they see, and yet another wants to be emotionally attached to the characters in the play.

The Greeks desired a cleansing of their body and soul, and named it the catharsis. For them it was indispensable to attend the annual Dionysius theatre festival as part of their religious and cultural life, since that was basically their only chance to watch a performance.26

Nowadays, a lot of people visit a theatre rather irregularly. In the survey only 6% watch any show that is available, yet 67% stated that they attend a performance whenever they are interested in the play. A portion of 13% makes it a subject of their income and whenever they have the money to afford the admission. For 7% of the participants it is important to know somebody in the cast in order to buy a ticket. In the scope of how often the participants watch a show, none of respondents attend theatre once a week, 4% attend every other week, 15% attend once a month, 34% attend every other months 30% find their way into the theatres twice a year and 17% annually or less. The last two number combined mean that almost half of the participants attend only one or two performances in one year.

After finding out about the frequency of theatre visits, the kind of theatres that are favored is focused next. The vast majority of interviewees (90 %)would choose to attend more professional or educational over amateur theatre. These numbers mean held all year long.

that there is a favor towards professional theatre in participants and that there is a larger potential for this kind of theatre in the target region and should give hope and energy for the existing professional theatres and should be an appeal for new production companies to be founded.

Closely related to the former subject is the question for the favored genre of theatre27. While a majority of 42% favors Comedies (20%) and Musicals (22%) and therefore follows the national and Broadway trend, 16% prefer a drama. Of those who liked drama, when asked what kind of drama they prefer, 41% chose classical dramas, 45% picked original contemporary work and only 14% would like to see experimental and avant-garde approaches. In addition, 7% liked dance and 8% favored Shakespeare’s plays. The remaining 13% is divided among children’s theatre, improvisational performances and performance art.

In the next section the participants were asked to evaluate the theatre opportunities in their community on a scale from 1 to 7, where 1 represents excellent and 7 means horrible. Half of the participants (48%) gave theatre in their area a grade 2, 15% thought theatre to be excellent, 23% gave a grade 3 and 12% considered the performance median average. Only 2% regarded theatre worse than median.

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Fig. 13 What kind of theatre do you usually attend?

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Fig. 14 Evaluation of local theatre by survey participants

(1=excellent and 7=horrible)

However, when asked whether there should be more professional theatre in their region, the majority of participants (82%) gave an affirmative answer. Only 18% believe that the theatre landscape in their area is in a good condition and need no improvement. Again, this shows how much potential professional theatre has, especially in the Sioux Falls region.

Finally, all participants were invited to give their opinion make suggestions in form of an open question on how theatre in their community could be in improved. The largest group criticized the public relation to the community. These 22% asked for better advertisement and marketing of shows and production companies. A better, more frequent coverage in the local media about upcoming performances, auditions, plot summaries, reviews or interviews with local theatre artists would be desirable. It seemed like most respondents would attend a lot more theatre if they were better informed about new shows and their creators and performers. It is obvious that like any other business theatre must also work according to the laws of free enterprise. That means for people to go and see a show they have to know that there is one, especially in an area like the Great Plains, with a low population density rate, e.g. an average of 9.9 people per square mile in South Dakota, and far-flung farms. Only in bigger cities a company can count on a certain level on word-of-mouth influence. Any other household depends on information in local newspapers, television or radio.

[...]


1 Sir Laurence Olivier

2 “A Great Place to Live,” Forward Sioux Falls

3 NationalAtlas.gov

4 NationalAtlas.gov

5 Garland 189

6 http://scenicdakotas.info/southdakota/sd-farm.jpg

7 “Mount Rushmore,” Ben’s Guide

8 http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2079/2471486436_8d7c9d778a.jpg?v=0

9 Dempsy, Photoseek

10 “South Dakota Population” U.S. Census Bureau

11 “South Dakota Counties,” South Dakota Association of County Officials

12 “Fact Finder 2007.” U.S. Census Bureau

13 “History,” Forward Sioux Falls

14 “Best Places Business and Career,” Forbes Magazine

15 “LORT New Membership,” LORT

16 TCG 1

17 “About Us” LORT

18 cf. Fig. 7

19 “US Map,” Google Earth

20 Ivan Fuller in an interview

21 “About us,” Big Fish

22 “About us,” Comfort Theatre

23 “Ephemeral Production Logo,” Personal property of Julia Bennett

24 “Washington Pavilion”

25 “Scene from Richard II,” Personal photograph by Ivan Fuller

26 At least in the fifth and forth century BC. Later theatres spread all over Greece and performances were

27 More than one answer was possible

Details

Seiten
100
Jahr
2008
ISBN (eBook)
9783640231522
ISBN (Buch)
9783640231690
Dateigröße
58.1 MB
Sprache
Englisch
Katalognummer
v119580
Institution / Hochschule
Universität Potsdam – Anglistik und Amerikanistik
Note
2,0
Schlagworte
Starting Professional Theatre Company Rural America

Autor

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Titel: Be moved, be bold, be theatre - Starting A Professional Theatre Company in Rural America