In last week’s blog post, I talked about working to convince more Richmonders to come out to see locally-produced professional theater. So what does that work actually look like?
Well, we’ve got ideas galore around here and they are starting to coalesce into actual plans, consumables, gatherings, things that we hope will start generating more interest in the local scene. Here are a few of them:
You’re looking at the first one! It’s just a blog but it’s going to act as the wall that ideas get thrown against. Watch out for free-ranging brainstorms!
Later this week, we’ll drop the first episode of the Firehouse Forum podcast. I taped it last week with Firehouse’s audio whiz, Ryan Dygert, and it was hella fun. How could it not be with guests like Deejay Gray, newly elected president of the RVA Theatre Alliance; Kerrigan Sullivan, Professor of Theatre at John Tyler Community College who is set to direct WINGS for Firehouse in February; and the phenomenal Jessi Johnson, vocalist & actress extraordinaire who is starring in the upcoming MARY C. BROWN AND THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN?
We hope to announce a cooperative agreement with VCU’s Commonwealth Society soon to offer a series of afternoon courses starting in February. Some of them will be show-specific, like a 5-week course looking at our upcoming musical WINGS that will allow participants to see how the production develops from page to stage. We’d also like to do a “nuts and bolts” series so regular folks get to see -- and hopefully grow to appreciate and support -- what goes into making theater magic. Look for more info real soon!
My thought process goes something like this: we want people to love theater. But there are many
ways to wiggle into a person’s heart and engender that affection. You can go through the head -- offer classes that give people insight into the intellectual aspects of theater, themes that shows explore, ideas the playwrights and composers are presenting in their work. You can also go through the hands -- show and explain the nuts and bolts so people get almost a tactile sense of what goes into bringing theater to life.
Everything we’re going to develop will seek to engage the heart, the head, the hands or all three. We will also try an even more visceral approach, latch on to the burgeoning local food culture and appeal to people’s stomachs if we can. Whatever we can do to get you to love us, or at least like us enough to come out to our shows, we’ll be exploring. So beware, I feel brainstorms developing on the horizon...