“You can either increase demand or decrease supply,” he said. “Demand is not going to increase, so it is time to think about decreasing supply.”Theaters which are recipients of NEA grants were not so happy to hear this.
“What does he mean there’s too much supply?!?” wrote Trisha Mead, the public relations and publications manager at Portland Center Stage in Oregon. “What does he mean we can’t increase demand?!?I suppose he means that *so far - for decades* the efforts to increase demand have been a net failure, despite all the attempts to "outreach to neglected communities" that grant committees love.
Personally, I'm inclined to think that the strings attached to a lot of grant money are strings that tend to trip up theater companies. They get diverted from their primary missions of making art or entertainment, and veer off into "outreach" efforts and policy statements and grant application writing.
Live theater has to compete with TV and movies. That's tough competition. But some people still like to go to plays. There's something about seeing a real live person in front of you, acting, that carries a charm of its own. Plays also run more talky and idea-oriented than movies and TV, so the intellectually-minded and the artsy are often drawn to them.
I think theater
might be sweeter
if the Feds didn't play this part
of "supporting" the art.