The Playgoer: Stamford Theatre Works

Custom Search

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Stamford Theatre Works

Thanks to frequent commenter TheEsoCritic for dropping a news item in Comments the other day that was news to me, and therefore worth reprinting here.

To our continuing "Another One Bites the Dust" watch, add Stamford Theatre Works of Stamford, CT. Take it away Eso:

It was reported this past week that Stamford Theatre Works has shut down after 20 years.

Mark my words that this is a really big deal. STW was what I call an "accessible" theater in that it was possible to actually get a job there even if you were just a regular actor, director, or yes, even a writer.

Most artists make their living in small to mid-size Equity houses like this. STW lived within its means, had a 90% subscriber renewal rate, and didn't have to compromise its season selections to maintain that for two decades. What's more, it had the benefit of one of the wealthiest zip codes in the country, Fairfield County, CT. They seemed to be doing everything right.

If a small Equity house with affluent neighbors has to shut down, what does that mean for similar sized theaters without so many deep pockets around?

In the next 12 months (at least) of financial chaos that we expect, we'll see lots of news items on how Broadway, the Publics, and the Roundabouts are slimming down and tightening their belts. The health of these institutions is going to be equated with the health of the overall industry.
I couldn't agree more on that last point. The closing of any theatre should never be seen as some Darwinian winnowing down of the community to its fittest members. (Obviously that's not the case.) Not only does it feel bad, but sure enough when people do statistical studies of the field, that ain't gonna look good on the excel spreads.

No comments: