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VOTE: Has Theatre “Supply” Passed Theatre “Demand”?

Last week, during a conference covering the intricacies of new play development, the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Rocco Landesman drove a nail into the bohemian hearts of every artist in the nation when he stated, ” You can either increase demand of decrease supply. Demand is not going to increase, so it is time to think about desceasing supply.” After the first wave of responders hit the internet decrying his comments, Landesman defended his position by citing the NEA’s research that shows the number of theatre patrons is generally on the decline while the number of theatre companies has been on a steady climb.

With an already large amount of theatre companies in a small area, this year brings us the creation of five more theatre companies offerings plays of their own. As Mr. Landesman said, “That’s a conversation nobody wants to have” but in this or any economy we need to remember that theatre is also a business. On one hand – is the theatre community doing itself a service by continuing to expand offering multiple productions of the same show each year, which potentially spreads thin time and resources? On the other hand – isn’t more artistic opportunities for audiences, especially future generations, a wonderful thing?

Let us know what you think!



One thought on “VOTE: Has Theatre “Supply” Passed Theatre “Demand”?

  1. I am a little confused as to why this conversation keeps coming up! I will continue to state as I have countless times before…. The market will tell us when we have reached critical mass in supply and demand for theatre in Denver. I know there are theatre’s struggling with audience, but I am not sure how much of that has to do with no demand or bad marketing, my guess is the latter. I have nothing but huge amounts of respect for Mr. Landesman, but I have to disagree with the notion of combining theatre’s. The practacility of it is in my mind the most difficult part, getting artists to play nice together can be hard enough imagine telling 2 people who created thier thetare on a dream and a vision, suddenly get told their vision needs to play in a sandbox with another one.. hmmm…. Plus I believe that the market will take care of it for us, why have we lost 2-3 theatres in the last year or so… The market deemed it so, now of course the market deemed it so becuase the defunct theatre’s might have had internal struggles or not understood business, but none the less the market did it’s job. I invite more theatre in Denver, to quote one of my hero’s Mr. Rick Bernstein at Miners Alley Playhouse.. “The only competition I fear is bad theatre!”

    Posted by P@ | February 1, 2011, 1:08 pm

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