Posts tagged ‘Performing Arts’

May 27, 2012

Sunday Roundup – May 27

Short week last week so I’m all mixed up yet somehow ahead of the game. What went on?

Brother Can You Spare a Five? – some crowdfunding campaigns that are on my radar

Don’t Go Changin’ – interesting article on how to help people not hate your revamped site.

Modern Dance, Canada Council Internet Gender, Summer Reading – exactly what it sounds like.

There’s another new book in the Summer Reading section – am close enough to finished to recommend.

And I’ve also realized it was a just over year ago  that I hit “go” on this website. And two weeks after that received the deposit for my first entrepreneuse marketing gig. So I do need to take a moment to say “thank you – you’re the best” to a few people and organizations from this past year:

Arts Etobicoke, Atrium Theatre, Bound To Create, Canadian Dance Assembly, Control Over Destiny, Creative Trust, Drew Nelson, Expect Theatre, Gallery 1313, Lisa Wegner, Little Revolutions, Magic and Mud Designs, NinjaTek, Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, Parkdale Village BIA, Pax Christi Chorale, PM Veltri, Proud Productions, Shannon Litzenberger, Sheep No Wool, Stratical Theatre, Theatre 20.

It’s been a pleasure working with you.

April 30, 2012

Rules of Engagement

Great article by Michael Kaiser on Engaging Audiences. This paragraph struck me in particular:

It is ironic to me that this topic is the focus of so much current attention since, for decades, the mission statements of most not-for-profit arts organizations include explicit mention of the desire to influence, educate, inspire or entertain specific audiences — in other words, to engage them.

He’s got three simple questions that need answering. I personally like the first one – just exactly who are we trying to engage with? Most of the audience engagement techniques being used are youth oriented – Tweet seats and eating in the theatre are big topics right now,with as many for as against. (It’s interesting to note that there’s a fairly clear divide in age segments in this argument.)

From the Globe article: Canadian conductor Julian Kuerti privately expressed frank dismay at the way North American orchestras were jumping on the social-media bandwagon in attempts to draw new, younger audiences.

“As an artist, I care deeply that there is a lot of meaning, a lot of substance in what we do. That is what is attractive about it,” he said in a recent interview. “Instead, we try to bait and switch, to fool people into coming to a concert because it is supposed to be interactive … If we are not careful, we will wind up with an audience who is not there for the same reasons as the musicians are on the stage.”

This of course brings up and even bigger question about attending an arts event – Why are we there? What are the rules of engagement in attending the arts? Do we need a whole new set? Do the previous rules need to be examined and added to or subtracted from? Or can it be viewed as a challenge to audience members – asking the question, are you capable of unplugging for 90 minutes? Or, to a whole new tech generation, is that even an option? From the G+M comments (abridged)

I can’t think of anything more stifling than paying to sit next to strangers in a dark room, with the all that entails, shoot me now. Life is physically hard enough having to commute to work every day and take public transit. Why would anyone thinks this is a commendable activity…?

Lots to think about today. While I’m thinking I’m gonna go book some rehearsal space at the Creation Lab.

April 20, 2012

What My Clients Are Working On

Fewer blog posts from me indicate that my clients are keeping me busy doing stuff with and for them. Who are they and what are they doing?

Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund – is putting the final touches on a new microsite for 2012, and organizing roundtable discussions all over the province to introduce the OCAF program to folks who have not yet applied to it.

Creative Trust continues to work on PAON roundtables and e-blasting info out to you about our sector.

Some Assembly Required” is a film and photo exhibition by Lisa Wegner, opening at Artscape Triangle Gallery on April 26th.

VIsual artist Drew T. Nelson continues in his creation of amazing paper cut projects – “We Rode The Streetcar Together, Once” is a memoryscape devoted to that Toronto icon, the streetcar.

Filmmaker P. Marco Veltri is nearly done casting his latest short film and is readying to shoot.

Michael Healey’s Proud has a venue, (Berkeley St.) and a director, (Miles Potter) and fundraisers happening across Canada, and is over halfway to its fundraising goal.

Sheep No Wool Theatre Company is preparing for the Edward Bond Festival – a one time only two-week event happening in June and devoted to an investigation of his work and ideas with events all over the city. Website and Facebook page coming your way.

Pax Christi Chorale has a new Facebook page and is gearing up for their concert “The Kingdom” at Koerner Hall in May.

These are thing things I am marketing and PR-ing and building pages and sites and analyzing ticket sales and audiences and media lists and opening night invites for.

Three other companies and I are awaiting results of Compass grant applications.

And Gallery 1313 and I are doing a workshop on Social Media for Visual Artists. Details on that next post.

I feel quite privileged some days.

I’m also at things like APASO participating in fantastic sessions, and presentations like Counting New Beans and I’m off to the Small Business Arts Forum next week.

So there you go. They’re an extraordinary group of people doing extraordinary work. And it’s Friday so – well, it’s Friday. Off you go!





April 18, 2012

My Thoughts on Starting a Theatre Company

This article was making the Facebook rounds yesterday:

Please, Don’t Start a Theatre Company

“Neither the field nor the next generation of artists is served by this unexamined multiplication of companies based on the same old model. The NEA’s statistics on nonprofit growth, set against its sobering reports on declining arts participation, illuminate a crucial nexus for the field, a location of both profound failure and potential transformation. The proliferation of small theater companies sits at the intersection between the necessity to imagine different structures for making theater and our field’s failure to provide career paths for the next generation of artists. Since the Ford Foundation’s investments kicked off the regional theater movement fifty years ago, there has been tremendous collective buy-in to what has become a fossilized model of a particular type of nonprofit theater. Within this structure, there is now a critical lack of opportunity for emerging artists and leaders, leaving the next generation of artists no alternative but to start companies of their own, companies that often replicate the problems of established theaters on a smaller scale. “

So it seems we know what’s wrong with the current model, but aren’t able to do anything but participate in the current (some would say broken) model because funding and expectations are geared towards the current model, namely  “a building with staff and a season, subscribers and youth programs, and a healthy mix of earned and contributed income.”

The cycle continues.

So what do we do? Go read part two of the article it’s got some interesting ideas.  I also think we have to change our picture of what success looks like – is being a venued theatre a badge of success if you can’t afford the building? Is a large subscriber base a badge of success if you’ve gone from producing edgy avant-garde work to “crowd pleasers” to keep the doors open on the unaffordable venue?

And are we a success as a community and industry if we, as some of the most creative people out there, cannot change because the current model is the only one we know?

At Clayton Lord”s presentation this week the question was raised, which is more important, economic or intrinsic impact? Why, intrinsic, of course.

Then why does only economic get a form to fill out in the grant application? Budget form, earned revenue form, subscribers vs single ticket, foundation vs government.  Economic gets a very important form in the grant application.

Where’s the form for intrinsic?

Then today a Quick Riff from Mission Paradox: “I find the whole “people should stop forming arts organizations” conversation to be interesting.  It’s interesting because people make a very logical case for not starting.  The issue is that starting an organization is an emotional issue.  It isn’t driven by logic.  By the way, this isn’t a good or bad thing . . . it is just reality.  My own point of view is that if it is in your heart to start an organization then you HAVE to do it.  The world may need it.
But if your heart isn’t in it.  If you aren’t committed.  Don’t even think about starting.”


April 12, 2012

Off to APASO!

I’m attending the keynote session today at APASO. What’s APASO? From the website.

The Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations is an informal group of organizations from around the world that share a mission of providing services for arts organizations and artists. Since 1983, APASO has gathered annually to share best practices in marketing, providing community-wide ticketing and audience development programs, professional development, advocacy, and other support for arts organizations and artists.

That’s where I’m going.  Plenary 1 is at the Winter Garden, and the Keynote Speaker is Simon Brault, the CEO of NTS. Here’s his bio:

Plenary Description:
The idea of the arts as a distinct and separate sector of society became embedded in western consciousness early in the 19th century, and many of our arts organizations still operate on a 19th century business model. But as we advance into the 21st century, we can observe signs of a change of attitude. There is an urgent need to reconcile the notion of arts and culture as a specific sector of the economy with the notion of arts and culture as en essential dimension of your individual and collective lives. This is where our future lies.

Yes I’m buying his book, No Culture, No Future.  Maybe I’ll get it autographed. Details later, I’m really looking forward to this morning.

April 9, 2012

Reading for Easter Monday

Is it still the weekend? I’m not quite sure – some are working, some are not, I can go to the bank but not the library, you get the picture. Plus I was away for two days on my staff-retreat-of-one – which I highly recommend to small biz owners and entrepreneurs out there. More on that in another post.

So in honour of maybe you have time to read at home, and maybe you have time to read at work since you’re still in a chocolate coma, here we go –  from last week and now let’s flip through the bookmarks for things to share

What a Wonderful Thing to Come Back To  the billboard tax is happening!

The Future of Theatre  gotta love the Guardian.

I liked this article, made me do some thinking:  Emerging artist? Are you kidding yourself?The first section itself was cause for pause:

This is scary. Imagine. You’re anaesthetised on the operating table, on the cusp of unconsciousness, when in walks all scrubbed up, an emerging surgeon. Your last thought before you slip into a deep, dark sleep is “but … but … wait …”

Absurd the thought of an emerging anybody. There’s none of this wait-and-see tease to it. You are or you ain’t. To see how silly the concept is, take the word “emerging” and follow it with a job of your choice. Asinine in anyone else, but perfectly acceptable if you are an artist apparently.

Some food for thought as to how young you have to be to be emerging, how old you shouldn’t be. I remember a client of mine years ago saying, “make them stop emerging, I’m not done yet!
How long does one get to emerge for? What defines  “mid career”? When are you a “senior artist”?

Would love your thoughts on this one.




April 5, 2012

The Future of Theatre

Great article from the Guardian

It’s not enough for theatres to rely on the same old programming, even the same old buildings. Which is why what’s happening at Exeter is so exciting read more

Along those lines, a friend forwarded me this article that’s been making the rounds since 2008, I recall seeing it more than a few times. Anybody doing any of these things? I’d say some of the suggestions are a bit tongue in cheek, but surely some are doable.

Just some food for thought – it’s the day before the long weekend, so maybe you have time to read them.

I’m also going to be closed for said weekend, so I’ll see you next Monday. Have a good one!


March 30, 2012

Federal and Provincial Budgets – What do they mean for the arts?


In my inbox from the Toronto Arts Foundation.


Federal and Provincial Budgets – What do they mean for the arts?
Artists and arts organizations will be relieved to learn that the federal and provincial governments have both protected the arts councils from cuts to their granting programs.  The Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Ontario Trillium Foundation will not sustain budget cuts despite broad based reductions in other areas.
The full impact of the government budgets will be determined over the next few months.  It is clear that reduced investment in the culture sector will have a ripple effect   Major items are listed below:

2012 Federal Budget Arts Highlights:

There will be no cuts to the Canada Council for the Arts.

The CBC has been cut by 10% ($115 million) over three years.

The Department of Canadian Heritage’s operating base of $2.8 billion has been cut by 6.9%.

In addition to the Canada Council, the National Gallery and national museums will not face budget cuts.

Telefilm’s budget is being cut by $10.6 million and the National Film Board is being cut by $6.7 million.

2012 Provincial Budget Arts Highlights:

There will be no cuts to the Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Trillium Foundation and Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Luminato’s funding from the Ontario government will be cut by $1.5 million for 2012-13 and $2 million for 2013-14

The operating budgets of Ontario’s Cultural Agencies including the AGO, ROM and McMichael Canadian Arts Collection will be cut by 1% for 2012-13 and an additional 1% for 2013-14 and thereafter.

Cultural industry Tax Credits will be maintained.

For additional information contact: Susan Wright 416-392-6802 x 211



February 3, 2012

Linky Friday

Still more things I’d bookmarked and forgotten to tell you about. They’re good for a Friday, pictures and a TED video, which are always good.

75 Abandoned Theatres From Around the USA – I would prefer it if this was not the fate of our city-owned theatres. Beautiful buildings.

Canadian Stage has announced its 2012/13 season it looks fantastic and you KNOW which production  I cannot wait to see.

I’ve created a new page called Panels+Workshops so you can see which one’s I’m doing when. It is in progress.

And here you go: Use art to turn the world inside out. And have a good Friday.

January 29, 2012

Sunday Roundup – January 29

It wasn’t that long ago that we were ringing in the New Year and making resolutions and yet within this week it will be February. Too many of my besties get a case of the drears this month, so we shall try to keep therir spirits up and make some merry.

So about last week…

Video Post: Pay The Writer – excellent video story. Pay people. Pay them what they are worth. Because we love what we do does not mean we should be giving it away for free.

Creation Lab and Doc Challenges – the Fringe Creation Lab was open for an afternoon last week for folks to go and work on creative stuff with other creative folks. It’s an excellent energy. Also, HotDocs has a great contest going.

Should Art Really Be For Its Own Sake? – oh we do love this question, don’t we? Highest clickthrough rate last week.

On Attending Workshops – I really do love them.

I saw a lot of things last week from Sing A Long Grease at the Lightbox, to Golden Dragon at Tarragon and Cruel and Tender at Canadian Stage, and the afore mentioneds workshop of Walk Like an Egyptian. There is a ridiculous amount of really good stuff going on in our fair city these days. Go see some of it.

Social Media Week is just around the corner, the workshop I am doing in partnership with Parkdale Village BIA is sold out, which is amazing, and  I’ve just confirmed to be on another panel as well. Busy week.

Quick note that a colleague of mine asked me to promote this survey to artist-type people. Artscape is planning a centre for creative sector entrepreneurship called Launchpad. Click here to tell them what you’d need, folks.

And I’ve decided that the 12 hour art marathon will be happening in February. More on that later.

And finally I was at the Cameron House last night to see Little Jimmie’s Chicken Pickers which is always a fun night of friends and laughter and music. It is also a kid-friendly event and there are usually a half dozen smalls there dancing like crazy. We come to listen and sing a long, they come to dance with purpose and feeling.

The highlight for me was a little sprite named Eliana.  We had a little chat in the backroom, where we discussed her age (2)  and the age of her stuffed animal (Elliot, also age 2) and how much she had liked the music.  I said I really liked her dancing, and it looked like she was having a lot of fun. She agreed, nodding vigorously, and said, “Yes it was fun, I was doing amazing twicks.”

I hereby declare February to be the month of Amazing Twicks. Go out and do some.

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