In many ways, fundraising for theatre faces the same patterns and pressures as other nonprofits. But in recent years, numbers have emerged indicating that theatre may be in considerably better shape than other kinds of organizations chasing the same dollars. Zannie Giraud Voss, director of the National Center for Arts Research(NCAR) at Southern Methodist University, gives a sanguine report.
"For the past few years, [Eric van Hove] has been working in Morocco on a project called the Mahjouba Initiative, which involves building a series of motorbikes using only traditional craft materials. Eric calls this work 'a socio-economic sculpture', the idea being that the pieces can be exhibited as artworks but also used as the prototype for a new vehicle. Anna McNamee meets Eric and his team as he works on the latest model - the Mahjouba III." (audio)
The soundtrack for any given showing depended, in large part, on the setting. At deluxe movie palaces, films were often accompanied by entire symphony orchestras. “A medium-sized neighborhood theater might carry between five and ten musicians,” writes Scott Eyman in The Speed of Sound: Hollywood and the Talkie Revolution, 1926–1930. “Even the meanest fleapit in the sticks had a piano player.”
“Artistic directors are our stars. What has changed is that they also need to be civic leaders. This is a new profile for the next generation. We have moved away from the period where it was enough to do great work which would ensure funding. The artistic director is the personality who personifies the mission and makes it feel vibrant to the community.”
Serious attention to these areas alone would negate the need for a $25 admission charge, which incidentally is more than three times America’s minimum hourly wage. Given that the trustees didn’t put the brakes on the spending spree long ago, isn’t a penitential boost in their annual giving appropriate?
"India's Shekhawati province is in the northeastern Rajasthani desert and more than seven hours by car from Delhi. The region covers almost 5,000 square miles and hosts an estimated 2,000 frescoed buildings built from the 17th to the early 20th century. Many of them are abandoned and most are breathtakingly beautiful. Arguably the world’s largest collection of outdoor painting, Shekhawati is a treasure trove of startling architecture and adornment."
"Lorraine Smith's detective story began at her second-hand bookshop in Warrnambool, Australia, when a customer came to her with what looked like a piece of paper. It had been hiding in an old copy of Alice in Wonderland, the customer said, that she had paged through while browsing in the back of the store. ... Smith grew determined to discover what this manuscript was and where it had come from. What was that obscure writing? Who was the document's original owner? And how did it end up in Australia?"