Thursday, January 19, 2012

Your Artistic Home

HowlRound recently launched an interesting new series about the search for an Artistic Home. Todd London the Artistic Director of New Dramatists kicked off the series last week by writing an insightful and inspiring response to the questions of what makes an artistic home and how do you find one? (Click here to read his entire piece.) In his post he includes a list of 16 suggestions for how we can create or build an artistic home for others. Some of his ideas would be more challenging, but I really like how simple some of the suggestions are such as providing free snacks and food. It doesn't take much work, but it could go a long ways towards creating a friendly and welcoming environment for artists. Does your theatre have any special traditions or ways of creating an artistic home? What are you doing to build that supportive environment for your artists, ensemble, company, staff, board etc...?


Tom Arvetis said...

At staff meetings, we build in time to talk about big ideas, things that are currently inspiring us, other people in the field who are posing interesting questions. We were getting too bogged down in reporting our tasks and not spending enough time letting ourselves dream.

Diana Martinez said...

When I joined Second city, the 50th anniversary was just around the corner, and the entire celebration revolved around "The Alumni". Just like a father or mother would ensure that there were not only photos of “certain children” in the family, Andrew Alexander went to great lengths to ensure that every alumni was equally represented along the lobby walls and included. Every alums name was posted, and everyone was included. Those who could not afford the trip to Chicago for the reunion celebrations were subsidized and everyone was fed, transported, and included. I learned a lot from that weekend. The love and happiness from the alumni was infectious, they often refered to it as coming home, and that is because of the traditions and pride that the Producers and Ownership hold dear.
In remodeling the etc lobby we were contemplating how to decorate the lobby , Andrew chimed in “Talent and artists firs”. When the audience comes into the lobby they need to know the artists are the most important thing.
Other things I believe in as a theatre manager is :
#1. Make Breaking Bread together a tradition: Be it a company lunch or dinner, and including everyone involved to let everyone see the depth of the organization is very important and brings everyone together.
2. Recognizing the things a family would recognize celebrate, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, new arrivals to the family
3. Treat your cast and employees with compassion and understanding, everyone has lives outside of work and we need to be sensitive and supportive through difficult times, co-workers can be a great support system.