Paper Title- Here and Now: The Problem of the Regional Co-Production

Working Group- Starving Artists?: Exploring (and Advancing) Radical Economies of Theater

From my introduction:

“Imagine the responsibilities of an Artistic Director for a regional theater. In the annual search for programming, certain potential projects might appear to be low-risk. Take Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘n’ Roll, a recent hit from a titan of contemporary drama. A regional company would have scores of praise from the play’s Royal Court and Broadway productions to fuel marketing and sales. Lynn Nottage’s Ruined, steeped in Pulitzer hype, might present a similar slam-dunk when programming a regional season.

However, in recent years resident theaters have created an alternative to fully financing and presenting even established hits like Ruined and Rock ‘n’ Roll with the creation of “semi-tour” productions. Rather than each programming or budgeting a resident production of these works, multiple large regional houses (American Conservatory Theater and Huntington Theatre Company in the case of Rock ‘n’ Roll, two separate shared productions involving a total of five companies in the case of Ruined) are splitting the costs of one new production and touring it. This radical new semi-tour trend raises enormous questions about the role of regional and resident companies in the presentation of contemporary drama.”

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus