Blogger for a Day: Thinking outside of the Black Box Theater.
Mixed metaphors aside, sometimes, you just gotta pull the trigger. And I am not talking about guns, people…I am talking about situations. Ideas. Events. Creativeness. Cleverness, even.
Space is biggest commodity for those of us in Charlotte in the independent theatre biz. It goes like this: You have a great idea for an event or show but you need a space to execute the idea. Spaces are expensive and usually booked way in advance. But sometimes, as you are confidently throwing your idea out there into the world, some fabulous forward thinking person that has access to a space buys in on your idea and you are put in a situation where you need to act quickly and seal the deal—possibly more quickly than you originally intended or planned.
Case in point No. 1: Chickspeare at NoDa Brewing
Susie Ford, owner of NoDa Brewing and Sheila Snow Procter were friendly aquantances. Upon a visit to the brewery, Sheila started talking one day to Susie about the Shakespeare group that she co-founded that at one time did shows in a brewery, and how fun and popular it was, etc, etc. Susie thought this was so fantastic and wondered if it would work at NoDa Brewing…and hey, maybe a food truck could be involved and here’s a few open dates, whaddaya think? Sheila agreed to jump in and pull the trigger-even though it meant she was gonna have to do something she hadn’t before: simultaneously act in and produce the show. This is no cakewalk. But, if you’ve been lucky enough to get a ticket to one of these fun ChicksBeer evenings, you know that they are now incredibly popular for NoDa Brewing and sell out whenever they are announced; it’s a perfect marriage of arts event and festive venue that’s a win for both groups involved, but wouldn’t have worked if either party hadn’t been willing to just go ahead and strike while the idea was hot.
Case in point No. 2: Yes and…Fest at Snug Harbor
Drea Cunningham had a fantastic idea for a local theatre arts fest that would showcase original work, improv and Indy theatre groups around town. She wanted it to be a benefit a worthy group: The Possibility Project, a group that allows Charlotte teens to create their own theatre piece and then present it to an audience. She knew Jason Michel, a partner at Snug Harbor and knew he was a supporter of the arts—he loved her idea and agreed with a pretty quick date less than two months away. She sent out a call with the opportunity to present to some groups around town and they agreed to make it happen—and on a rainy Sunday afternoon she produced her first ‘Yes and…Fest’ at Snug Harbor, complete with theatre companies presenting current work, a comedian, an improv short film, fun improv games for the group in-between sets and a special performance of a brand new piece by some of the teens of The Possibility Project. Such a funky arts way to spend a couple hours on your Sunday Funday…and yahoo!!! Tweeting, instagram, and social media sharing of the event was not only allowed but encouraged. Big win for all involved and there’s another one in the works for late summer/ early fall.
In both of these situations, the timbre of the event perfectly fit the venue, and for successful producing this is a crucial factor. More crucial than that—you have to be willing to strike while the iron is hot–cause sitting around and just talking is just that-and baptism by fire is a good way to learn stuff.