September Community Town Hall

Date of Event: September 18th, 2023
Location of Event: Zoom

Attendance: 10 total

TPS offered this space to discuss— Recap of August Community and Executive Town Halls. A continuing conversation— What is the state of theatre? What should we do now? What should our community do? What should TPS do?

Where to Begin as a Newcomer to Seattle

  • As a newcomer, it can feel hard to find auditions/get in with the Seattle theater scene and find the people you relate to.

Report: Puget Sound’s arts and culture sector in danger of exodus

  • One community member voiced the importance of diversity onstage. This reflects the type and size of the audience who attends.
  • Others agreed, and discussed the importance of choosing shows that people want to see– more lighthearted/comedic after COVID, but shows still having a message. Ultimately, people want the entertainment value of the performing arts at this time.
  • One community member shared a statistic that there is a 49% decrease in talent in the performing arts industry.

What can TPS do?

  • Strategize ways to come together and share the resources we have— Creative Solidarity Economy.
    • Take what is particular interest to us, then share it into a space where it can be of use to others.
    • Be better stewards of our land and not waste resources.
    • We don’t each have to go and spend with budgets that are already strapped!
    • On this topic, another community member shared that the upcoming Network of Ensemble Theaters online convenings are in part dedicated to Solidarity Economy practices as applied to ensemble theatre. 

Outreach More than Before

  • One community member voiced how we need to be thinking about people who would enjoy our shows (high school students, college students) and reach out to them.
  • There is an importance of outreach to these groups maybe more than we have before.  

News Has Cut the Arts. How do we get Arts Coverage?

  • Community members agreed that there is a lack of online calendars and press about upcoming events. How do we spread the word?
  • One arts organization representative explained how their organization work with a local newspaper. They provide a reviewer to newspaper company, and then they receive coverage. 
  • Community members brainstormed: Perhaps a YouTube channel? TikTok? This could be the channel where artists and organizations can submit stuff and share shows with each other. Opportunity for cast and crew interviews, sneak peaks, etc. 
  • In terms of people finding out about stuff— TPS has an online public calendar for people to post events.
    • TPS is looking into an internal planning calendar for organizations to plan and collaborate with each other.
  • One community member asked if TPS do Updated social media for weekly events in the area would be awesome. Events could be more accessible and visible to all ages. 

Accessing Audiences Outside of Arts People

  • One community member posed: How do we get the word out about shows to the broader community rather than just the arts people?
  • Word of mouth is such a big part. So how do we cultivate relationships with each other?

Streaming to Increase Accessibility + Organization Visibility

  • Community members discussed how in a dream world, it would be great if people could come and film shows. But once you get equity actors involved, it gets really expensive
  • Streaming new works: Small and midsize theaters might be able to pool resources for commissioning new works with more generous/custom streaming arrangements.
  • Others agreed that it was great that we had a virtual option during COVID. But do we want that back? There is an emphasis on expanding theatre accessibility rather than replacing live theatre. 
  • Once the pandemic was over, we thought everyone would go back to normal. We are dealing with a new normal of audience retention.
  • Idea of streaming/behind the scenes content– people would love it and be interested in that. But the funding behind that is too much.
  • Sounds like advocacy with Equity for more flexible contracts might be useful.
  • Be An Arts Hero Coalition— advocating for more arts funding
  • Coalition building for arts funding!
  • Entertainment brings so much money. 
  • Coalition Building is parallel or maybe cousins to Solidarity Economy. Emphasize that we bring you money too!
  • A lot of corporations will give money when there is a tax incentive for doing so. There is no more incentive. 
  • Is this non-profit system still a survivable system?
  • One good thing: more artists are on boards rather than multi-millionaires and lack of diverse board in the past. This changes the model.
  • Katie Maltais’ (new Managing Dir. at 5th Ave) “Loyalty Target” concepts might provide fundraising tools that supersede year-end-giving formulas. 
  • People are getting attacked for pay disparity. But smaller theaters are a stepping stone to bigger theaters. How do we lift them up if they do exist?
  • There is a place for non-professional theater.
  • Through the solidarity economy, TPS wants to work to support everyone at all levels of the arts ecosystem.

This Year’s Gregory Awards + Gala

  • One community member shared that in the past, the Gregory Awards have been this community rallying event to celebrate each other. 
  • This year’s 23rd Annual Gregory Awards + Gala is to fundraise for next year. The goal is to bring it back to full scale for 2024.
  • This event is designed for a traditional gala audience— same cost as 2016 reception. 
  • For community overall, community opportunity to come together
  • 23rd Annual: 23rd time that TPS has awarded the Gregory Falls Sustained Achievement Award
  • Reframing idea: This is not the same Gregories; rather, this is an event to bring back the full-scale Gregory Awards for 2024. 

Closing AnnouncementsCenterstage Theatre is opening Emma on October 6, 2023! Tickets available here.

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