Thursday, December 27, 2007

State of the scene, part 4: Improv is big in small towns

I'm fairly certain I won't post as much after the initial enthusiasm dies down a little. Also, I have some serious house cleaning to do, so this is an easy way to procrastinate. So next:

In April, John Robison started putting up shows in his very own, dedicated improv theater in Bonner Springs.

Seriously—how much ass does that kick?

Up in Liberty, the crowds at our two monthly Corbin shows are picking up. In two years, we’ve only cancelled one show, and we’ve made rent on almost every one. (I know this because it comes out of my pocket when we don’t.)

In places like these, we've got some serious advantages over performing in the crowded midtown entertainment district. Minimal competition—from improv troupes or anyone else. Support from the locals. Easy-to-get coverage in newspapers. Easier-to-target audiences. Cheaper rent (in Liberty, anyway). And once you get the word out, your chances of developing a loyal repeat audience are better than average.

We’ve got some serious disadvantages, too. But that’s not what this is about. So there.

Oh, and another advantage: When the City 3 board decided to shutter
On the Spot! at the Westport Coffeehouse Theatre, part of the reason was that the show was having the exact opposite of its intended reaction. Instead of offering a chance to promote their troupes’ shows, players felt OTS! was cannibalizing their audiences. That’s not true in Liberty and Bonner Springs.

Look! Another one: The Roving Imp and Corbin shows aren’t safe or dumbed down. These small, out-of-the-way stages are home to solid, scenework-driven short-form and edgy, more experimental long-form.  

One more: John is an iO trained director with a theater background. 

Time for a road trip, right? 

1 comment:

  1. I think John should start doing an OTS in Bonner Springs. I bet it will work there. RI has marketing.


New rule: I'm not approving anonymous comments. If you want to sit at the grownup table, you have to sign your name.

Now c'mon. Pick a fight.