I attended the 2nd Indie Theater Convocation yesterday, and I have to say, I was impressed. Martin and Rochelle Denton (of nytheatre.com) hosted, and as a whole we filled the orchestra section of the Barrow Street Theater. Martin and Rochelle have been working hard on their web site, www.indietheater.org, and they also introduced the League of Independent Theaters, a newly incorporated organization led by John Clancy (who also co-founded the Fringe Fest) and others in the community, which intends to work as an organization to help represent our interests.
The big topic that came up, as usual, was the Equity Showcase contract, which is both extremely outdated and extremely detrimental to everyone who works in small theaters, actors included. But I heard some good news about that, the first in a long time, which indicated to me that there may actually be a break in the ice there. Not much more on that now--don't want to jinx it.
That in itself was a good reason for optimism, though it was interesting to me that when i spoke afterwards with a friend who has been running his own theater company for a year, he found the Equity talk depressing. I think the difference for me was--I had already been hearing, for the fifteen plus years that I've been running Untitled Theater Company #61, all the negatives. Change is hard, especially when your dealing with unions, especially when the people who have time to be on union committees aren't usually the youngest or the most in touch with the current situation. But to hear that there may be some change, that Equity may have begun to realize that the contract helps no one, themselves included...that is a reason for hope.
And seeing a small portion of our community fill the orchestra--somehow, that made me hopeful as well. Of course, at times it is almost depressing--with so many people producing so much theater, how does one emerge from the crowd. But the converse can be true. The whole can be a powerful force. which is what i think the convocation was about.
1 week ago