Photo by David Joles
For many years, there has been idle chatter about how smaller performance groups and venues could somehow leverage their disparate values into something greater.
The Southern Theater has put that concept to work in ARTshare, a new program that uses the subscription model to let audiences sample work from 15 resident theater and dance troupes. Patrons buy an $18 monthly membership and then are all set to pick and choose. Memberships go on sale July 22 for calendar year 2015. The Southern hopes to sell 1,500 memberships and will stop at 2,100.
At the same time, the Southern will change how it schedules performances and allow several companies to run in repertory.
“When multiple resident companies perform in the same week, audiences have more opportunities to see new work,” said Damon Runnals, the Southern’s executive director, in a statement.
The program provides stability for the companies involved, variety for audiences and a much stronger sense of purpose for the Southern, which has in recent years had financial and programmatic issues. The 200-seat theater on Washington Av. now has something that loosely resembles an eclectic season that relies on the strengths of the producing companies.
“The end result is hopefully a better fulfillment of The Southern’s mission: to foster a community of exceptional artists,” Runnals stated.
There will be 15 productions, according to the press release, with 144 performances through 2015. A partial list of the companies includes: Black Label Movement, Four Humors Theater, Live Action Set, Mathew Janczeski’s ARENA DANCES, Sandbox Theatre, Savage Umbrella, Swandive, Sossy Mechanics, TigerLion Arts, Workhaus Collective.
Memberships and information will be available at the Southern’s website, starting at 2 p.m. on July 22.