Theater in a post-covid world, for those companies who managed to hang on to their venues, has seen a resumption of productions met with a public that is still nervous about going out – who developed new habits of streaming and staying home.
Many companies are seeing partnerships with other organizations get sidelined while municipalities and host organizations regroup. Add racial disparities and inequities to the equation and it is becoming more difficult for playwrights of all backgrounds to present their work.
It is a common refrain in the business world that they struggle to find workers and yet the same thing is exponentially worse in the theater community since so much volunteer labor is required – so every company around us is struggling to fill creative team positions and front of house staff.
The result of this post-covid reshuffle is that most companies are retreating to doing safe work – traditionally crowd pleasing productions and still finding the headwinds are stiff. Some companies are throwing conventional wisdom away and attempting to create more inclusive policies and we see a rise in ‘short play’ festivals because it seems that brings more theater makers in the door.
Marketing for theater has formed an unhealthy dependency, we believe, on Facebook for promoting our work. Anyone can make a case for why it has been a boon to us from an advertisement standpoint, but it is not helping us sustain with the resources we need to grow. There are dozens of Facebook groups that have mostly the same members but different rules that are mostly promoting our work to each other, with some limited resource sharing.
From our perspective, there is an enormous bench of creative resources in our state. At present there are a number of initiatives working on developing tools to help but they are all being developed by people, for mostly large, professional companies. The smaller companies, the individual playwrights, the teachers who are providing opportunities for the next generation of theater makers are not being served.
Theater Makers Lab was created to address these problems and to provide professional guidance and support to theater makers across the State of CT. We are dedicated to creating tools and resources to make our community stronger, to help build better and stronger relationships, to reduce the cost of doing theater, to help facilitate more sustainable practices.
We are a group of theater professionals from a broad base of disciplines. Our board is new and growing. We plan to add more board members to round out our team in the coming months. Visit our Board of Directors page to find out more about who we are.