Looking to the next generation for the survival of theatre

Further to the post the other day on his question “what have you done to save theatre today”, Travis from Midnight Honesty at Noon dropped this link in the comments, please give it a read. (Great man, that Travis Bedard, and if you’re not reading MH@N you should be.) It’s a letter sent to Mike Daisey detailing how he not only runs a profitable regional theatre, but how his company is focused on turning the next generations into theatre-goers. Now that’s proactivity. Now that’s smart.

In truth, it’s probably too late to convert a significant number of uninitiated post-college urbanites into rabid theatre fans demanding more and higher quality theatre. We’re battling preconceptions based on lack of exposure to anything other than past community theatre renditions of Oklahoma! and grandiose versions of Shakespeare foisted on us in high school. The future of the independent theatre may lie in the hands of the next gen if, if, they can be exposed to some kick-ass productions that are actually about them and their time and their place, and the things that they care about (whatever that is), there’s a fighting chance that theatre could be re-branded as more than something to do to train for a fantasy Hollywood career. It just may be seriously cool again.


  1. That is a great point. And the letter to Mike Daisey has some great ideas. Perhaps we can brainstorm more creative ways to get young people (and by young, I mean children and teens – not 20s and 30s when it may already be too late) into the little-theatres-that-could. Not just the big houses with established education programs and schoolkid matinees. How can we make low-budget theatre that still gets the “magic” to them?

  2. Absolutely Laura, and how do you define that magic to each age-group? I think that by the time these kids hit their teens they should be exposed to some full-on muscled contemporary theatre, stuff that will really stimulate them. Who wants to do Shakespeare in high school? Let ’em do ballsy stuff, and keep the environment safe. I didn’t even know how rock and roll real theatre was until I was in my twenties, and nobody I went to high school with thought theatre was anything other than long and boring.

    It’s time to take the kid gloves off.

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