Small Theatre Alliance of Boston: A Force for Good Theatre

IN THE DARKNESS

OF A SMALL THEATRE

CREATING NEW, CHALLENGING, AND EXCITING

PRODUCTIONS, WHERE RESOURCES AND INFORMATION WERE SCATTERED

A GROUP OF ARTISTS JOINED TOGETHER TO INCREASE COMMUNICATION BY FORMING

THE SMALL THEATRE ALLIANCE OF BOSTON

Interview with John Geoffrion by Becca Kidwell

Between 2009 and 2010, Meg Taintor, Daniel Morris, Nora Long, and other small theatre leaders joined together to form the Small Theatre Alliance of Boston share resources, information, ideas, and support each other.

To help the small theatre companies, the Small Theatre Alliance of Boston (STAB), conducts many events “that put people in touch with each other and allow for a free flowing exchange of ideas, social cohesion,and networking.  Last year, the focus was on larger-scale SmallTalks moderated panel discussions, this year we’re focusing on a series called Counterpart Conversations that brings in specific segments of the theatre community (i.e. marketing teams, artistic directors) for small-scale roundtable opportunities to share stories, ideas, challenges, solutions, etc.  We’ve also started a program called Alliance Night At The Theatre, in which participating member companies offer one night in their run aimed to draw Alliance members with ticket specials, and opportunities to mix and network with the staff and artists before and/or after the performance.”

They provide an “open mic” series that is a “series of short plays (or scenes from longer plays) are brought in, and anyone interested in reading can come and be assigned roles; attendees give input and advice for further development.”  Also, they distribute an e-newsletter amongst their members to share information about the Alliance’s committees and the announcements and achievements of the members.

In addition to events and information, membership fees help to cover the costs of the rental facility for their props library.  The library is ” a facility where Alliance members can donate props that other member companies can borrow.  The entire catalog is viewable on a secure page on our website, and props can be reserved online.”  This helps considerably with the limited budgets and personnel of these theatre.  Moreover, members provide cross-marketing by including “an insert in their programs with a list of other Alliance productions that are either currently running or opening soon.  We also use our Facebook page (over 800 fans) and Twitter feed to spread the work about our members’ shows and events.”

Since their formation, STAB has helped increase visibility of their member theatres and created a strong, collaborative community of small theatres in Boston.  “Any theatre company in the greater Boston area that self-identifies as ‘small,’ or any otherwise unaffiliated Boston area theatre artist…” can become a member of the Alliance.  They have “occasionally labored to nail down a specific definition of ‘small theatre’ – be it annual budget, audience size, lack of union affiliation or whatever – or even if ‘small’ is the best label to define what we are versus, say, Fringe, Underground, Start-up, etc., but for now [they’re] leaving it open.”

With the Small Theatre Alliance of Boston’s network of artists, the small theatre community expanding and providing diverse, quality theatre that might not be seen elsewhere.  Their force for good provides development of emerging and established talent within a safe and supportive structure.  For information regarding membership or member companies productions go to:  http://www.smalltheatreallianceofboston.com/index.html.

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