Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On artists making a living and artistic directors that could make a difference but don’t | Jumper:

I remember hearing Michael Halberstam at Writers’ Theater in Chicago speak at a TCG conference (at a brilliant session with Mike Daisey discussing his insightful and rather incendiary work How Theater Failed America) and learning that Writers’ Theater had long ago made a commitment to invest in actors (and local ones at that) and pay wages comparable to the wages paid by larger theaters. It sounded so right when I heard it, and it was clear that in this room filled with artistic and managing directors from around the country that Michael Halberstam was considered a radical for doing this.

Why is it an outlandish idea to pay as much as you can to the artists and to keep administrative or other production costs as low as possible in order to do so?
And why do we accept this strange idea that doing a play with more than 5 characters is going to bankrupt a theater with a $5- or $10- or $15 million operating budget?