Last night I had someone ask me if the League couldn’t do some research on how theatres have affected the neighborhoods they are in. I thought it was an interesting request, not just the usual economic impact factors but how they have helped to build and sustain the community somehow. And what the effect has been on the theatre – how has working in that community made the theatre what it is. I know most of you don’t have buildings and so perhaps have trouble identifying with a particular community but I wonder if you have some presence that you particularly value. What has your effect on your community been – even if it hasn’t been on a neighborhood?
In my last post I was wondering if a rural model could transfer to an urban environment and in thinking more about that, I think it has more to do with the effect you have on your community than it does with where you are geographically. It is well documented that we have a significant economic impact wherever we are but we also have a social impact and how can we measure that? And, how can we multiply it? How can we connect beyond the play and make our theatres invaluable members of the community. Not that playmaking is not invaluable but if you look at the businesses that have the most social value, they don’t only do what they do, they look beyond what they do for social impact. Michael Rohd has some interesting ideas about building civic practice you can read here.