The Playgoer: What Would Guthrie Do?

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Monday, October 22, 2007

What Would Guthrie Do?

Chicago Trib's Chris Jones vents some Minneapolis-envy in extolling the new Guthrie for getting some things right. He exhorts Chicago theatres (and by extension much of the country) to follow these ten precepts.

1. Open the building at all hours.
2. Show off the backstage
3. Give tours. Every day.
4. Give artsgoers a choice of decent restaurants. And keep them open after the show.
5. Liven up the bars.
6. Juice up the retail.
7. Skip the nasty ticket takers
8. Don't forget the outdoors
9. Signage matters.
10. Honor the tradition.
To find out what the hell Jones means by these mantras, read the article.

In general, what connects them all is a very salient point. They're all about fostering community and making an outing at the theatre a fun social experience. But rather than enforce that upon your audience through strained "event"-planning and arbitrary rules ("Gay People Thursdays!")... just enable. Make everyone feel invited, provide a nice environment, and stay out of the eff-ing way!

Oh, and put on a good show if you can.


Anonymous said...

Yes, except that the Guthrie programs SHITE. So none of this really matters because Joe Dowling is a senescent fool who does lame Jane Austen adaptations and crappy revivals of 1776. Oy vey.

parabasis said...

Playgoer, first off, thanks for posting this. Every board chair and artistic director should have this taped to their desk or something.

Second, Anonymous, the quality of the Guthrie's programming is completely irrelevant to the discussion of the quality of their community organizing tactics. It's not like having your space open 24 hours is going to force you to do shite Jane Austen adaptations.

Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Playgoer, I get to the new Guthrie very frequently and love the fact that it has become a destination along the long-neglected part of downtown Minneapolis along the Mississippi.

Not only has it produced some truly decent shows (including offering space to small third party theatrical companies in its experimental space) and hosted many Q&As with notable playwrights and actors (Neil Simon, Tom Stoppard, Ian McKellan, etc.), but it also is a great place to eat, drink and be merry. Plus, it has some of the single best views of the Mississippi.

They're getting a lot right.

Tony Adams said...

The pricetag of the new complex seems a bit much don't you think.

With $125 million they could give every seat at every show away for free for ten years and still have a multi-million dollar surplus left over.

Paul Rekk said...

And I hear they don't have Gay People Thursdays, which is really the only thing Thursday has going for it.

Anonymous said...

actually parabais, i fail to see how "community organizing tactics" -- ie
"livening up the bars" "juicing up the the retail" -- is significant when the work you're doing is -- to my mind -- irrelevant and pretty pedestrian. But whatevs. Keep the creaky old meachinery running i guess.