Leadership shakeups and talk of mergers are what's being whispered about in the Seattle theatre scene.
Backstage at Seattle's major three theaters there have been many discussions about merger, collaboration, or other cost-saving steps. At one point, the Rep and Intiman talked about combining, with [Bartlett] Sher as the artistic director of the merged entity's three stages. Sher was not interested, having outgrown Seattle, and because the Rep has so many seats to fill that it makes it harder for an experimental director like Sher to spread his wings with risky productions. (Intiman, with a small house and a very large stage, is far better for him.) ACT had lengthy, ultimately abortive discussions with Seattle Theater Group (Paramount and the Moore) whereby the latter would take over one of the two ACT stages. Seattle Children's Theater has also been part of some of these talks.Gee, I would think all three would like to think they have good acting!
In the end, all that came of the discussions (not surprisingly) was an agreement to combine on some educational programs; the theaters already swap costumes and props and they agreed jointly on a ticket-management system. One reason for the failed talks, aside from pride and the threat to jobs, is that the three main theaters have distinct approaches. The Rep concentrates on production values, ACT on acting, and Intiman on its edgy directors.
But seriously, mergers have got to be in the offing amongst some of our suffering nonprofits, no? Personally the idea appeals to me, but not the inevitable layoffs, of course. Maybe the logistics of nonprofit make it more complicated than it seems?