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I Don’t Want to Talk about Innovation: A Talk about Innovation | HowlRound

I Don’t Want to Talk about Innovation: A Talk about Innovation | HowlRound | Theater | Scoop.it
MAM Theater's insight:

Wei: "The article along with the following comments provides an interesting image of how different forces---arts administration, foundation and artists, impact each other. In my view, more than innovation, Todd actually raised a cruel but critical question to the arts industry: who actually has the most powerful saying about art? It is not uncommon now that theaters as well as other kinds of arts organizations set goals of programming partly based on the expectations of foundations. For example, if foundations expect to see education, the organizations may provide more educational shows/programs. It might be true that foundations have somewhat impact on the decision making of mission statement or benchmarks of programming for arts organizations. What I see from this relationship is that artists’ voice drowned in nonprofits’ reliance on unearned revenue. However, when thinking it from the perspective from arts administration, it makes sense that we do programming partly to attract donations so that we can invest more resources into cultural institutions or artists. Also, it is the philanthropic dollars that makes shows cheaper to be accessible to more people. To be honest, I have no idea how to deal with these relationships, but what I learned is that an arts manager should shift more attention on protecting artists’ innovation than catering to foundations’ interests. When most arts organizations have similar missions and programs, it kills art’s innovation in some way. An arts manager needs to be sensitive when setting artistic goals while balancing relationships with artists and foundations. More importantly, I saw a trend of rethinking the scope of foundations. In stead of saying, “you, as a theater should make innovation”, it would be better say “your theatre should allow innovation to happen”. To my knowledge, I believe that both founders and arts managers play a role of serving the community and artists rather than set rules for arts. Let arts happen freely, and cooperate to help art find its community. That’s one way, in my view, of protecting and inspiring innovation…"

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MAMDance's curator insight, November 3, 2013 7:51 PM

(KF).  A really interesting article posted in the theater group.  Two specific quotations include:

 

"And now we are challenged to add innovation to the list of empty phrases to live by."

 

"Since when is it the job of funders to dictate what every nonprofit should do? What is the Foundation’s “core competency” that entitles them to tell museums, symphonies, dance and theater companies what is essential to fulfilling their separate, varied, and sometimes vital missions?"

 

Do organizations cater too much to what funders will fund?  And, is "innovation" an empty phrase?  The questions raised in the article are definitely applicable to the dance world, and it's interesting to see someone speak out against the buzzwords surrounding the arts world, which are now becoming rather generic.

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The Sound of Music Live Was Borderline Unprofessional. Also: Terrific.

The Sound of Music Live Was Borderline Unprofessional. Also: Terrific. | Theater | Scoop.it
NBC’s live version of The Sound of Music, which aired for three long hours last night, began slow and beautiful, with nuns singing hymns in a stage set abbey.
MAM Theater's insight:

The online world was abuzz, recently, with talk of The Sound of Music Live. Say what you will about the quality of the production (and this author certainly does), but the fact that it caused such a stir is quite significant. Since Glee and Smash have fallen from their former places of glory, it seems like networks are clamoring to attract audiences through similar works. I love that so many people tuned in to watch a classic work, but I am disappointed that, by casting a "name", the performance fell flat, thereby exposing all these (new and/or returning) live theater viewers to something of sub-par quality. I read a number of articles about this, but this particular one stood out to me not just because of the prickly humor but because the author makes a comment that the network was betting on the public's ability to look past the flaws ("how very Maria-like!"). I can't help but wonder if that ability, to love the art anyway, is a result of a public who has nothing better to compare it to, a public that will love The Sound of Music or Carrie Underwood regardless of the quality, or something else altogether. (Jillian)

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Janelle Schank's curator insight, December 19, 2013 7:45 AM

The importance of casting good actors

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Coming to terms: do we need new names for alternative theatre?

Coming to terms: do we need new names for alternative theatre? | Theater | Scoop.it
Lyn Gardner: Ever been to a show and not been sure what it is that you've seen? Is categorising by artform helpful, or does boundary-breaking work need new terms?
MAM Theater's insight:

This article discusses how society attempts to pigeonhole genres of art into "theatre" or "dance", but what does that mean for the performances that cross the line? Should there be a new name for them, or is it still just theatre? I was intrigued by this, especially when think of audience engagement in a theatre setting. Does large participation in a performance change the meaning of theatre? I'm not sure, but for some I think it does. (Seth)

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MAM_Music's comment, December 8, 2013 8:09 AM
I thought this article was interesting because when people try to explain to their friends what type of show they saw, the mix can be confusing. The article also brought up how it is hard to define a genre for circuses and it reminded me of how Cirque de Soleil also incorporates forms of theatre and dance. I also liked the part in the article where someone suggested that the appropriate term might be "performative dialogues." Overall, I'm also unsure if there should be a new name, but it does somewhat help clarify the concept. (Melody)
MAM Theater's comment, December 8, 2013 1:20 PM
Ying: I agree with Melody, and am totally into the term "performative dialogue". It's sometimes tricky for some companies to innovate a boundary-crossing production. If critics categorize and evaluate a performance based on the current criteria for a certain type, it's very likely that he or she may be at a loss at first hand. Although crossing the boundaries do excite the audience since everything is new to them, whether the production is good in every genre it has crossed became a question for audience and critics after the performance. So I believe it's important for companies to invent not only something innovative, but also something of high standard.
Janelle Schank's curator insight, January 6, 7:53 AM

Discrepancy between names for different types of theatre or dance

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Performing The Vagina Monologues in China

Performing  The Vagina Monologues  in China | Theater | Scoop.it
The ongoing controversy of the iconic play reflects feminism's struggle to establish a toehold in a still conservative society.
MAM Theater's insight:

Ying: As a theater production that has been performed in 150 countries and 50 languages, the show caused huge sensation in mainland China recently again due to the promotional video put online by female students in Beijing Foreign Studies University.  

In China, despite the reform and opening up, it's rare for females to talk about sex in public. The previous versions of The Vagina Monologues in China had faced challenges from the government and the society, which caused the show to a cease or forced the show to change a name not related to vagina. 

The Virgina Monologue has been performed many times at universities across the country. Though profession productions also exist, when the word "virgina" is mentioned, offical theaters (governmen-related) refused them.  Hearing these students doing it again does not surprise me too much, because the Chinese society is facing a change in moral aspect to catch up its speed of economic growth, and there should be someone to take the initiative to address these problems, no matter it's by using a theater production or other means.

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Artists to digitally enhance Broadway - The Sacramento Bee

Artists to digitally enhance Broadway - The Sacramento Bee | Theater | Scoop.it
Armed with a $20,000 grant, 11 artists from around the country have been chosen to create public art that will change the face of Sacramento’s Broadway – virtually.

Via MAM_Music
MAM Theater's insight:

Ying: Augmented reality is definitely worth our attention in arts industry. We have seen so many films, such as Minority Report, Iron Man3, and the Avengers, utilizing augmented reality to strengthen its visual effects and incorporate the film audience into the movies. Though it sounds like visual arts, it can actually be implemented in performing arts as well. It may be possible that in the near future, people can use apps on their smartphones to see real opera singers sing (with real person) without the need to go into the theaters, which might jeopardize the marketing of opera houses, but also make opera more accessible to common people, and invite them to come into the theaters.

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MAM_Music's curator insight, November 29, 2013 7:01 PM
The NEA has given the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission a $20k grant to launch a new art project, "Broadway Augmented."  This is not your typical art project.  "Broadway Augmented" will use a new cutting edge technology that is quickly spreading in the arts world, Augmented Realty.  11 selected artists will create the public artwork.  Augmented realty will take their work to a whole new level, transforming their creations into "computer-generated sound, video, graphics, or data."  SMAC's project just proves that the arts will always evolve, and this project is a great way to not only reach new audiences, but truly make their experiences worthwhile.  Arts organizations need to engage the new wave of audiences differently than they have in the past.  SMAC's participatory street art is a new and creative form of engagement that is one way to answer the problem.

Other examples of augmented reality in the arts:
Portland:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj14pS35iC8
LA:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAtHjySUoHM

-Kimmy
MAMDance's comment, November 30, 2013 5:04 PM
(Allison) Interesting article. I've read it multiple times, but am having trouble formulating why I'm not exactly convinced or excited about the idea. If the "future of design" and public art is having to view the pieces from an iPhone, I'm not sure I want to be a part of that future. It may seem like a cool idea and will certainly draw people in for a period of time, but what are the real, long term benefits of this project? How is this really going to impact the energy or feeling that one gets when walking down this street?
MAM_Music's comment, December 1, 2013 9:40 AM
I definitely see your point. It's a little unclear whether this project will be like other AR artwork, where there is still something to physically see. The street art in Portland and LA are very much tangible, but use AR to enhance the user experience. Public art brings beauty to a community; public murals and sculptures stand on their own, but Portland and LA have introduced a new way for people to interact with their street art. Everyone connects to art in different ways, and some will definitely benefit from a different form of public art.<br><br>So I went onto SMAC's website to find more details about their plan and found: http://www.sacmetroarts.org/whats-new.html<br>It sounds like their project will be completely virtual, but that this project will lead to a commission of a permanent work. Audiences will be able to take a survey on each piece of work, and their feedback will influence which artwork will be constructed into reality. -Kimmy
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'Sleep No More' Makes All Your Dreams Come True And Adds A Restaurant

'Sleep No More' Makes All Your Dreams Come True And Adds A Restaurant | Theater | Scoop.it
NEW YORK (AP) — A new restaurant opening this week in New York has more than just good food on the menu.
MAM Theater's insight:

In thinking about ways to bring in new audiences, opening a restaurant did not immediately come to mind for me. However, I think that Punchdrunk has the potential to add a viable revenue stream to Sleep no more. They originally opened a bar called the Gallow Green, allowing them to measure the success of a food establishment prior to opening the restaurant. Company Founder Felix Barrett described it as "This feels like, for me, the competition of what we set out to do three years ago...It's something I've always wanted to do: break the conventions of going out to dinner." I'm interested in the expenses they'll have to take on to create a restaurant, especially one that isn't a dinner theatre experience - plates, flatware, glasses, liquor liability, keeping the space up to health department code, etc. Should be an interesting new route for more unconventional theatres. (Caroline)

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Brett.Ashley.Crawford's comment, November 30, 2013 1:28 PM
there used to be a push in the arts management world to include all elements of social in your space (nonprofit, that is) -- meaning eat/drink/seats etc. Interesting that it has taken this long for the for-profit something similar that isn't directly "dinner theatre"
MAM Presenting's comment, December 1, 2013 4:39 PM
This is really neat! As a person who has a particular love for both food and the arts, it is definitely something I would want to become part of if I was in New York and had the opportunity. I think it will be a great draw for others as well! - Marissa
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WQXR - New York's Classical Music Radio Station

WQXR - New York Public Radio
MAM Theater's insight:

Wei: This article shows an interesting conflict between technologies and the musicians. The pianist Christian Zacharias halted a performance Wednesday night with the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden after an audience member's phone began to ring during Haydn's Piano Concerto in D major.

 

Restrictions on film, photography and using phones may be necessary to ensure the high quality of a concert as well as to protect musicians' rights. However, this may also deter a younger audience for whom instant communication is an essential of their social lives. If we wanna lower the audience age, I guess it's necessary for orchestras to create some new rules to embrace the using of technologies rather than absolutely outlaw it.

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MAM Presenting's comment, December 1, 2013 4:36 PM
This brings to mind situations in theatre productions when actors break the fourth wall to call out an audience member. The notion that the performing hall is akin to a temple that requires absolute attention to the stage is a relatively new notion when one considers the history of the performing arts - stemming, in part, from Wagner's influence. Wei, I think your suggestion that organizations embrace new rules for use of technology is really interesting, and if implemented, may actually be a return to earlier notions of the theatre in which social interaction was the norm. - Marissa
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Prosthetic Knowledge Picks: Dance and Technology

A collection of GIFs and videos that document projects that bring together dance and creative technology.

Via MAMDance
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MAM Presenting's comment, November 24, 2013 9:46 AM
This combination of dance and technology is really cool! After reading about the bad use of technology in the Met and the Montreal 4D theater play in MAMPresenting scoop, this one seems to have a more appropriate and efficient tech use. I think I have seen that Taiwanese dance group before. I've also seen an asian video game company use this kind of cool dance show in their marketing campaign, impressive one. ——Su
MAM Theater's comment, November 25, 2013 7:16 PM
Wow, Kathleen, I literally have been lost within this article for a good 20 minutes! This is so incredible to see the use of technology in these dance pieces. However, I feel that it completely alters the dance, and focuses on the technology first. So, I can't see this extreme use of technology utilized in all dance performance. But it is so interesting to see! (Seth)
Janelle Schank's curator insight, January 13, 7:41 AM

Combining dance and technology to create magic. Art is art

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Bullying and harassment rife in the creative industries, survey finds - News - The Stage

Bullying and harassment rife in the creative industries, survey finds - News - The Stage | Theater | Scoop.it
More than half of theatre professionals - including backstage staff, performers and creatives - have been bullied, harassed or discriminated against in the
MAM Theater's insight:

I was really surprised by this article from the UK:

"More than half of theatre professionals – including backstage staff, performers and creatives – have been bullied, harassed or discriminated against in the workplace, with women more likely than men to be the victim of abuse."

These were all union workers for the theatre (nearly 4,000 took the survey). Is this a concern in the U.S.?  (Seth)

 

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Janelle Schank's curator insight, January 6, 7:58 AM

Show business is tough. Sometimes you have to push back.

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‘Spider-Man’ Investors Shaken by Projected $60 Million Loss

‘Spider-Man’ Investors Shaken by Projected $60 Million Loss | Theater | Scoop.it
When the Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” closes in January, it will have leave investors with historic losses.
MAM Theater's insight:

Ying: I was wondering if I can scoop 2 articles at one time... here's another article analyzing the reasons of this Broadway failure. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-spiderman-broadway-20131119,0,7659655.story#axzz2lMH1uAe2
 The reason holds true for other Broadway or New york theater disasters as well. Though the fan base of a movie-adapted production can bring in a considerable amount of initial audience who holds curiosity about the adaption, the misuse of talents (even award-winning talents like Taymor) and the speedy negative "word-of-mouth" in Big Apple can jeopardize the long run of a musical easily...However, I am looking forward to its collaboration with Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas. They seem to be a good match in terms of aerial techniques and local audience base...

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Janelle Schank's curator insight, January 6, 8:05 AM

Largest financial broadway loss in history

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German media boss tells 160 conductors: I'm not listening to you

German media boss tells 160 conductors: I'm not listening to you | Theater | Scoop.it
SWR chief Peter Boudgoust has responded to an open letter by 160 maestros calling for a halt to his plan to merge two orchestras. I'm not changing anything, says Boudgoust. You can wave your arms a...
MAM Theater's insight:

WEI: Alex Ross (MAM Music) addressed some of the same topics in this article. It seems that the public as well as the domain culture is no longer interested in supporting orchestras and opera houses. In the case of the Minnesota Orchestra, Ross offers a solution--contemporary music. And she comments that “The perpetual crisis of big-league classical music seemed far distant; it felt as though we were ready to begin again, in the present tense.”

 

In attempts to revive orchestral culture, either collaboration or playing contemporary arts could be relatively superficial and do not represent significant change if we fail to figure out the fundamental questions facing orchestras. "how to lure a younger, more diverse audience" seems a challenge shared by most arts organizations, and it's interesting to see how arts leaders are taking different approaches to struggle with it.

 

 

 

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Should theatre fund audiences and not just artists?

Should theatre fund audiences and not just artists? | Theater | Scoop.it
Lyn Gardner: Theatres are queuing up to make relationships with artists, but they should be tending their relationships with audiences too
MAM Theater's insight:

WEI: 

The article reminds me of a fundamental problem that theater people are facing with all the time: how to connect the ambitions of artists and audiences? As funding stream dry up, theaters are becoming more anxious to get the answer. If funding audience to see art is a good idea? If art without an audience is just wanking? I believe people will have different ideas in mind.

 

In the article, the author seems to imply that venues with high subsidy but very low box office are not trying to development audience for the work, which I questioned. It could be. However, most of time, the low box office is attributed to other factors. It’s not uncommon that a play with a high artistic value attracts only few audiences. To me, the pressure of balancing this relationship between audience and art works is skewed to marketing people nowadays. How to attract people to a great show, which they believe they won’t like/they are not familiar with, is a critical question that needs to be answered in order to ensure sustainability as well as the high artistic values of works. 

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After the Final Curtain

After the Final Curtain | Theater | Scoop.it
"People buy tickets to theatres, not movies." -- Marcus Loew
MAM Theater's insight:

Ying: I came across this website by accident through the link of an article about abandoned theaters. (http://io9.com/5846569/the-show-will-never-go-on-again-++-the-most-resplendent-abandoned-theaters-across-america/) The pictures reminded me of my favorite Italian movie Cinema Paradiso, in which the center of a town became a deserted place full of memories of a generation.  I was so amazed by the beauty of these pictures, and it was so heart-wrenching to see how these places full of aesthetic value were turned into their status quo. Some of these theaters were designed by very famous architects, but fell simply due to an increase in insurance rate. The vulnerability of their business models are worth investigating for current arts managers to avoid such incidents to happen again. Each set of pictures is accompanied by a story of the theater. Highly recommend to dig into this history!

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Poll: should live theatre be shown in cinemas? - Telegraph

Poll: should live theatre be shown in cinemas? - Telegraph | Theater | Scoop.it
Over the last five years, theatre has been changing: no longer do you need to be in one to experience it. But should that be the case? Cast your vote
MAM Theater's insight:

This isn't an article, merely a poll. But I was surprised by the results -- a full 88% of voters thought live theater should be shown in cinemas. To me, that's interesting because as rising arts administrators, there is clearly a divide in opinion. It can be easily argued that such practices diminish the experience of a live production. At the same time, it brings the arts to new audiences, which is invariably a good thing. Given how much of a "hot topic" this debate is among those in the administrative side of things, I was surprised to see such a clear majority vote in favor of the practice. Evidently (and yes, it is a small sample size and likely biased) audience members have fewer reservations regarding the screening of live shows on the future of the industry than I would have thought. (Jillian)

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MAM Presenting's comment, November 17, 2013 6:37 PM
I actually don't find it surprising that audiences are thrilled by the opportunity to be part of a live audience of world-renowned theatre companies for slightly more than the cost of a movie ticket. I would imagine that this sentiment would be similar among may different samples/polls. - Marissa
MAM Theater's comment, November 17, 2013 6:45 PM
Great minds think alike. In addition to National Theater, Lincoln Center is also presenting Live from Lincoln Center, which generated a huge media coverage ever since its premiere. Audience got excited to see their favorite performances on TV for free, and organizations can reap the revenue for selling distributions. It's a win-win in the long run.(Ying)
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What if we made education about how to be Healthy and Happy?

What if we made education about how to be Healthy and Happy? | Theater | Scoop.it
This question was asked by a 13 year old boy, Logan LaPlante
who made a speech on TEDx about our education system.

He is being "Unschooled" and laid out his plan for a better
education system in this video.
MAM Theater's insight:

This is a must-watch tedx talk. Logan, a 13 year old boy, talks about his view of education and how it's just not working. He says that when adults try to ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, his response is "I want to be happy and healthy." Why do any of us have to be something more? Why is that what we're learning?

 

Logan proposes a new type of schooling that focuses on health and happiness, creativity, and technology. This type creates motivated and healthy children who want to learn, and who can take their own path to lead a passionate life. (Seth)

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MAM_Music's comment, December 8, 2013 5:05 PM
This kid is too adorable..I especially like his remark about taking advantage of opportunities in his community. Opponents of the arts need to realize that arts organizations need funding in order to provide these opportunities for our communities. It is especially important that we have these opportunities in the arts because they support children's creative and innovative thinking. I also really like Logan's idea of "the hacker mindset." Some school systems need a different take on how to educate children to help them become better leaders and enlightened citizens for our future. <br/><br/>-Kimmy
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Digital innovation in the arts must be about the art

Digital innovation in the arts must be about the art | Theater | Scoop.it
In the first of three essays, Rohan Gunatillake says innovation only has a chance to transform if it focuses on creative practice
MAM Theater's insight:

WEI: A very worth-reading article while organizations are nowadays told to embrace new technologies and enhance their digital marketing skills. It is true that real progressive digital practice can hardly happen in organizations because of the higher echelons of organizations with more traditional influence. The author’s idea of producer-led policy making emphasizes the importance of art when taking digital tools and digital thinking. However, it’s could be even harder if arts leaders attempt to make art in a dominate position while embracing digital changes—let art change technologies? I’d say it’s a great expectation, but really hard to realize.

 

I found this article interesting because it reminds me of putting attention the real value of art when we are busy being bulled by new technologies. Are we adapting to the digital world because we must, or it’s a cool thing to do, or it can bring new business models and income streams, or it’s for art itself? An interesting question mark that the author pointed out and lead me to think. 

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Needs More Alps: How Was 'The Sound Of Music Live'?

Needs More Alps: How Was 'The Sound Of Music Live'? | Theater | Scoop.it
NBC's attempt to revive the live televised musical wasn't good, but it was enjoyable.
MAM Theater's insight:

My Facebook and Twitter pretty much exploded last night with all the talk about this Sound Of Music. NBC seems to be targeting the audiences mourning the loss of 'Smash' and is programming more musical theatre-related pieces. It's interesting on a lot of levels - Sound of Music Live shows audiences what is so fun about live theatre (in a way that 'Smash' could not..). It uses the Smash model: American Idol headliner bolstered by theatre veterans/Tony-award winners, but much more effectively this time around, I think. While lots of people had lots of complaints about last night, I think everyone appreciated the fact that NBC produced a golden-age musical instead of another reality show or awards special. Do you think this postively exposes more audiences to theatre? Does it elevate the genre? Or does it cheapen it to have it on television? (Caroline)

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Assessing Theater Education or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Grading | HowlRound

Assessing Theater Education or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Grading | HowlRound | Theater | Scoop.it
MAM Theater's insight:

I greatly respect this teacher for taking the time to evaluate her grading criteria and develop them anew. There is certainly no "right" way to assign a numerical value to artistic performance or education, but I think the elements she has defined are some of the more important ones in the craft and, more importantly, are important to character/personal development as well. As long as we (society) demand quantifiable results for these sorts of things, I think this is the best way to approach it. I hope her methodology becomes more mainstream with arts educators around the country. (Jillian)

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MAM Theater's comment, December 6, 2013 12:42 PM
Wyckham is actually one of the founding members of dog & pony dc, so a few of us had the privilege of meeting and speaking with her this past semester. She is an amazing educator and artist!
MAM Theater's comment, December 6, 2013 12:42 PM
(that was Caroline..)
Janelle Schank's curator insight, January 6, 7:56 AM

Finding new ways to put a letter grade on an emotional, artistic experience is not always easy

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After the Parade, a Macy's Christmas Musical

After the Parade, a Macy's Christmas Musical | Theater | Scoop.it
A musical developed by the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade team will get its concert hall premiere next month in Cincinnati.
MAM Theater's insight:

Ying: This sounds a little bit weird for me...Macy's intent to cultivate its customers to expect something (like the Thanksgiving parade!) to happen every year to boost its holiday sales is very understandable. Parade is fine for me, but when it starts to charge the audience when marketing a company with an entire musical, will that be too much for the audience? 

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Every Dancer Insured: An Affordable Care Act Primer — FROM THE GREEN ROOM: Dance/USA's e-Journal


Via MAMDance
MAM Theater's insight:

Ying: Though the website of Obama Care has been heavily criticized, poor people do benefit from this new Act. For specific professionals as dancers, I believe, in addition to the health care plan regardless of income levels, some specific programs to prepare them for a role after they suffer from a major injury and have to quit dancing and look for another job is more important in this industry. This will not only provide them with the bottom life they can survive with, but also something they can develop by their own after leaving a industry they are familiar with. It also helps alleviate the burden for their families as well. The traning programs can be conducted throughout their dancing careers, not only after they have to quit it. In this way, if accidents hit, they will have a backup plan instead of being helpless.

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MAMDance's curator insight, November 22, 2013 1:01 PM

Deb: With so much confusion regarding the Affordable Healthcare Act, it's great to see DanceUSA getting actively involved in helping dancers understand how the mandate affects them. It was also nice to see that The Actors Fund has been helping non-Equity menbers understand insurance options for performers since 1998!

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President Kennedy claims theater spotlight with new works involving John Guare, Richard Nelson, Olympia Dukakis and B.D. Wong

President Kennedy claims theater spotlight with new works involving John Guare, Richard Nelson, Olympia Dukakis and B.D. Wong | Theater | Scoop.it
The life and death of John F. Kennedy was one of the defining dramas of the 20th century — but it wasn’t meant for the stage.
MAM Theater's insight:

With the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination yesterday, I started thinking about theatre pieces about the Kennedy family. This article highlights what I've found - Jackie and Lee Harvey Oswald have been portrayed onstage multiple times, but the President himself hasn't really been seen at all. Robert Thompson says that "the greatest play about John F. Kennedy has already been done. It was on CBS. It began on Friday, the 22nd, when Walter Cronkite broke into ‘As the World Turns’ and continued until Kennedy’s funeral was on Monday." I think this is part of an a larger conversation about the role of real life tragic events on the stage - are there certain topics that are untouchable? Or is it perhaps too soon to talk about certain moments in history? (Caroline)

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National Black Theatre, a Harlem mainstay, works tirelessly to keep legacy alive

National Black Theatre, a Harlem mainstay, works tirelessly to keep legacy alive | Theater | Scoop.it
In its 45th season, the theatre is embracing its history to secure its future.
MAM Theater's insight:

The National Black Theatre is currently suffering financially, saying that the organization is "underfunded". I like this example because it is a unique theatre company with a strong historical background, yet they are still worried of closing its doors. To make up for lack of funding, the NBT is adding programs (residencies, workshops, etc) to get more people through the doors and invested in the theatre. I'm questioning how this will fully solve the problem. These new initiative shouldn't be the only way to increase revenue, and I hope they are thinking of alternative funding streams. (Seth)

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92nd Street Y Presents an Online Archive of Recordings

92nd Street Y Presents an Online Archive of Recordings | Theater | Scoop.it
The Y is making hundreds of performance recordings available for streaming online, from a 1966 Pablo Neruda reading to an onstage interview with Lou Reed.
MAM Theater's insight:

An article relating to both theater and other performing art forms --this is quite exciting. The 92nd Street Y, a notable institution for artistic education in the city, is opening some of its archived recordings (dating back to 1949) to the general public.

I love this idea, as it allows audiences to view significant artistic, political, and cultural recordings that they otherwise would never have had a chance to see. But I find it interesting that my response to simulcasts of live performances (online or in a movie theater) is less favorable (not negative, just far less favorable). Upon reflection, I think my difference in opinion stems from the fact that one is promoting work to an audience who is unable to ever see it otherwise, and one is promoting work to an audience who may never see it otherwise. In other words, I will never be able to go and attend a performance from 1950, so watching online is my only option. But watching a simulcast of a production that is currently playing, that I could easily go see, merely means that I haven't decided to visit the theater. I feel that such a distinction is overly critical --after all, if the person watching the online simulcast can't afford the theater ticket, surely it is better to watch online then not watch at all? --and yet, it is still my honest initial reaction. (Jillian)

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MAMDance's curator insight, November 25, 2013 9:23 AM

KF: Thanks for sharing Jillian!  I'm not familiar with this organization, but it's exciting that 92nd Street Y is now sharing its archives with the public as opposed to letting them "collect dust."  This project also definitely reminds me of Jacob's Pillow Dance Interactive, which Deb scooped on our page.

MAM_Music's comment, November 25, 2013 11:19 AM
Katie: Jillian, I don't think your reaction is overly critical at all. It's an important distinction: sharing performances that are past (and otherwise "collecting dust") versus sharing performances that are present (and as you point out, could potentially be seen in person). The question of copyright is an interesting one, which presumably plays a significant role in both the ability and cost to share either category of performances. By adding 92Y On Demand to its services, the 92nd Street Y seems to be bolstering its mission to be "a world-class nonprofit community and cultural center that connects people at every stage of life to the worlds of education, the arts, health and wellness, and Jewish life." Opening its archives connects people both in its neighborhood and elsewhere to the vibrant activities of its past, and through digital means (potentially) reaches people in stages and circumstances of life that otherwise might not be able to access its performances--past or present. In its significance for accessibility, as well as engagement, 92Y On Demand is an exciting, dynamic initiative. Thanks for sharing!
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Sony Centre and St. Lawrence Centre should merge and soon | Toronto Star

Sony Centre and St. Lawrence Centre should merge and soon | Toronto Star | Theater | Scoop.it
Mergers could lead to survival of Toronto’s strapped arts players, even the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Massey and Roy Thomson halls

Via MAM Presenting
MAM Theater's insight:

Ying: It’s eye-opening to see that a merger can save a financially challenged large-size presenting organization. The business model to reside under the umbrella of an organization that runs buildings seems to provide an asylum for those suffering organizations, however, from my perspective, this model challenges the management level to a greater extent. It requires the CEO to be a master of both running a resident company and running a building, and keeping the whole organization in order. As to the merger of some departments, let’s say Marketing, it requires more flexibility within the department in order to represent 2 organizations. The job designation should be clarified so that each team member knows what he/she is responsible for. 

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MAM Presenting's curator insight, November 14, 2013 2:19 PM

This article presents an interesting perspective on how mergers can help struggling arts organizations. While it focuses on performing arts organizations in Toronto (both presenting and producing), the principles are applicable to any organizations in any community. However, I take issue with Knelman’s statement that “when you look over the landscape of our major arts organizations, it seems clear that merger is the magic answer not just for civic-owned theatres but for several top arts groups facing scary financial challenges over the next few years.” I think it is incredibly dangerous to call anything a “magic answer” to the issues occurring in small and large arts organizations across North America. I agree with the author that mergers may provide a unique solution to certain struggling arts organizations in the same city that have complimentary missions. However, mergers are not blanket solution that will be successful for all organizations, and too many mergers may, in fact, create an entirely new set of issues for arts organizations. - Marissa

MAM Presenting's comment, November 17, 2013 8:54 PM
I believe that as the arts market is becoming over saturated, merging would be an option for arts organizations to survive. It could be mutually beneficial to share resources. However I agree with the scooper's (didn't see the name:D) opinion that it is over optimistic to define merging as a "magic answer". Merging can bring in more problems due to the differences in missions, visions, operating models of both parties. ——Su
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Shakespeare Heads To A New York City Parking Lot

Shakespeare Heads To A New York City Parking Lot | Theater | Scoop.it
NEW YORK — Acting in one of Shakespeare's plays is difficult enough without having to dodge a 3,600-pound SUV.
MAM Theater's insight:

Really interesting article about The Drilling Company's RICHARD III, that was put on in a parking lot. Not in a Quantum-esque way where the space is no longer used and and or can easily become a theatre space - the parking lot is open and in use during the production. They are now getting charged for taking up eight parking spaces and have to get more insurance, which is harming the company's dedication to free shows.

I think this is an interesting problem for The Drilling Company - on the one hand, they now have to increase their budget by 15% with seemingly no donor base to speak of. On the other hand, why they did not consider the fact that they might have to pay to perform in a municipal parking lot is questionable. I'm wondering what sacrifices will be made - will they start charging for admission? Create an out-of-character fundraising campaign? Or just find a cheaper (and perhaps safer) place to perform? (Caroline)

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MAM_Music's comment, November 16, 2013 5:29 PM
Wow! I also thought this article was extremely interesting because it's something I would never think of. It's kind of hard to imagine watching a performance in a parking lot that has cars, bikers, joggers moving during the performance. It's an interesting way to attract new audiences, but I think the Drilling Company needs to find a safer place to perform because it can be dangerous and full of unexpected surprises. Basically, anything can happen during these performances, such as the set being used as a bathroom, which was mentioned in the article.....(Melody)
MAM_Music's comment, November 17, 2013 12:36 PM
One would think that the Drilling Company would relocate their summer series in the parking lot after discovering their set was used as a bathroom. A more critical issue at hand is the feasibility of the project. With new parking and insurance expenses, the staff needs to have a serious discussion on their next steps. Shakespeare in the Parking Lot has been going on for almost two decades and is performed in a parking lot because it's easily accessible to the community. A factor in its accessibility is the free admission, not just its location. The Drilling Company states in the article they don't plan to move, but I think they should consider alternative options to both keep their current constituents and reach new audiences. -Kimmy
Janelle Schank's curator insight, January 13, 7:40 AM

Shows that a bad setting or stage can't take away from the magic the actors portray within a Shakespearian play

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Commercial theatre needs to reform itself, urges National's Nick Starr - News - The Stage

Commercial theatre needs to reform itself, urges National's Nick Starr - News - The Stage | Theater | Scoop.it
Commercial theatre is operating in outmoded buildings and uses cost structures that do not respond to audiences, National Theatre executive director Nick S
MAM Theater's insight:

Very short article, but it very largely touches upon some class conversations. National Theatre executive director says “The problem is that the commercial theatre is so unresponsive to the audience." It is almost like commercial theatre is creating for the good of the organization and not for the audience. While audiences may be growing within commercial theatre, the art may be suffering, and the profits may be distributed unfairly. 

Just another interesting viewpoint after the discussion today (Seth)

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