Top Stories of 2012 that Affected OOB
Each year we review the previous season for those stories that had the most impact on the Indie Theatre Community.
Here is our list of the events and happenings that influenced us, moved us and made us proud.
- BFG Collective
This season a theatre partnership called the BFG Collective found their own innovative solution to the indie theater space shortage. “BFG” stands for the three companies involved: Boomerang Theatre Company, Flux Theatre Ensemble and Gideon Productions. These three organizations banded together to secure a six-month lease at a discounted rate at the Secret Theatre in Queens. The three companies presented seven productions during this time. In addition to a lower rent, they also benefited from shared storage, collective marketing, and audience development, all conducted simultaneously by each company continuously throughout the season. It was a classic win-win situation: the three companies reduced their overhead and increased their audience numbers, while the Secret Theatre secured a solid six-month rental. In addition, the community, was not only gifted with seven great productions, but also witnessed the successful proof of concept for a collaborative business model that could be a viable alternative for many OOB productions going forward. Read more...
- LITNY Fund
In an ongoing effort to help find innovative solutions to the disappearing performance space crisis and other chronic economic issues that are forcing members of the Indie Theatre community to seek artistic homes in other, more culturally and artistically lucrative cities, the League of Independent Theatre (LITNY) has launched a new fund. According to a statement from LITNY, the fund will be a “reliable funding pool for the independent theatre territory.” Read more...
- 2012 Election
2012 was a presidential election year and we know that OOB is politically and civically active. (84% of OOB pactitioners voted in the 2004 presidential election, which is 22% higher than the national average). After several years of funding cuts to the arts, there was some relief in April 2012 when NYS representatives voted to increase arts funding for Y13. (Make sure to send a Thank You note to your representative). And artists around the country continue to become more organized and active. Americans for the Arts created ArtsVote “a national initiative geared towards ensuring that the arts impact federal elections.” ArtsVote hosted arts related events at both the DNC and RNC conventions this year and continues to track arts related policies on their site. Events such as Arts Day in Albany and Arts Advocacy Day help bring artists together to learn about the policies that impact them, brainstorm ideas for addressing challenges and band together to affect change. To learn more about these events and how you can be involved, check out Arts NYS Coalition and Americans for the Arts. 2013 is a huge election year. A new NYC Mayor will be elected and there is already a crowd of contenders throwing their hats into the rink. Will arts be a part of the political discussion? Will artists make a difference? All signs point to "Yes".
- Super Storm Sandy
When Superstorm Sandy struck on October 25, 2012 many OOB theatres were left without electricity, some were flooded or had storm damage and with the subways and public transportation shutdown, many productions had to cancel performances or rehearsals. Just like any other small business, something as uncontrollable or as widespread as a hurricane can be devastating to a production and critically drain companies of precious resources and funds. However, when faced with crisis, the Indie Theatre community has a long history of coming together and pulling resources to face the challenges. Everyone had a “how can I help” attitude. Volunteers were culled together to help clean up theatres that were damaged. Resources were circulated and artists took in fellow artists offering beds, food and wifi. And while we took care of our own, we also jumped in to help our neighbors, volunteering time and donating money and resources to many worthy organizations. In November and December Indie artists joined together to help children and families displaced by Sandy by bringing a unique and necessary kind of relief; creative interaction (arts and crafts and learning activities). It was a true testament of the profound community spirit of Off-Off-Broadway. Read more...
- Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award
This year, we memorialized one of the founders of OOB by creating the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award. The award was presented to Indie Theatre playwright Donnetta Lavinia Gray. Donnetta is a playwright of singular vision, and unparalleled ability and someone who Doric knew well and encouraged and supported, so it was a fitting way to inaugurate this new award. Congratulations Donnetta! Read More...
- Off-Off The Webseries
Off-Off the Websieries launched this last Spring and turned the cameras on the often comical life of creating and surviving Off-Off-Broadway. It follows a fictional theatre company as it struggles to mount a production. Series creators, Stephen Bittrich, Dave Marantz, Dan Teachout and Rob A. Wilson are all well-known Indie Theatre artists and bring a knowing understanding of the work, madness, joy, heartache and absurdity that is Off-Off-Broadway. You can check it out at offoffwebseries.com.
- Crowdfunding finds funds for OOB
Crowdfunding sites like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter have been a boon for OOB theatre companies. Providing the infrastructure to collect small donations that add up to a significant amount on a fixed timeline these services allow artists to accept funds, share stories and track progress with friends, family and strangers around the world. They are an ideal tool for the Indie community since the campaigns are designed to raise funds for a specific project – like a production. Many productions this past season were funded in part due to successful crowdfunding campaigns.
- Honeycomb Trilogy
The most heralded and talked about production of the year was Gideon Production’s ambitious science-fiction series, the Honey Comb Trilogy by Mac Rogers. These dramas are set in a gated community in Florida that becomes the center of the resistance movement in a post alien colonized world. All three productions appropriately take place on the same unassuming domestic living-room set. The set itself represents the embodiment of the family unit and transforms throughout the series to reflect the evolution of the conquered world. While Earth is occupied by giant insect aliens that enslave the human race, the tale here is really about the relationship of a brother and sister and the strength of familial bonds.
Indie Theatre Now
Indie Theatre Now launched in 2011, but it really took off in 2012. Hundreds of Indie playwrights have been published in this online library. Not only does it help these artists share their work with people from around the world, they are making a few bucks as well. ITN is a groundbreaking tool for our community that is helping bring recognition to the important work being doing in this sector. Bravo!
- ART/NY Celebrates 4 Decades!
In 2012 The Alliance of Resident Theatre/New York (ART/NY) celebrated 40 years of serving Off and Off-Off-Broadway theatres. In recognition of this milestone, they launched their largest and most ambitious project to date by signing a 99-year lease on a new arts complex. The space will house two state-of-the-art performance venues and other amenities that will be subsidized by ART/NY funding. Read more...