Many of them really did not realize what that meant and after having a conversation decided not to start their own companies.
Wow. That sounds negative right?
Actually, I think it's a positive and here's why:
If you are planning on starting a company that is a responsibility. If that company grows that responsibility is to many people including yourself and those in the theatre community, and frankly, many of the folks I meet are not interested in that responsibility and it causes a heck of a lot of aggravation for those that are serious about it.
So today I am going to give you some reasons why NOT to start a Theatre company
1. My friends and I are not getting the roles we want- I understand the frustrations of missed opportunities, but if the only basis for creating the company is to create roles for a few people, then it's better to do a showcase of scenes with that group of friends and save the time and money it takes to develop something that is long term.
2. No one will pay attention to us unless we have a company- Um. Ok. My question would be what magic is there in that logo or image that suddenly draws all the press to you like you're the one ring? Plenty of people get press every day without being a part of a company because they find established companies to work with or they strike out on their own.
3. I want people to know my work as a playwright or a director- This is one of my favorites because it's counterintuitive. If you are going to be spending all of your time running a company, how much time can you really devote to your writing and directing career and if it's only about you, it's going to be very difficult to get the organization to grow.
4. All of my friends started one- And if all of your friends decided to jump off... Well you get the point.
5. It's the only way I can get funding for my projects- Nobody gives because you're a company. They give because they believe in the work you do or they believe personally in you. No one invests in companies, they invest in people.
There are plenty of others but I'm sure by now you get the point. If you want to start your own theatre company that's great and I applaud you for it, but please don't do it for one of these reasons.
Do it because you have a vision of the future that you want to share with others.
Do it because the company will serve a community that hasn't been served.
Do it because you want to help other people and make an impact.
Do it because you love that mission and will pursue it far into the future and are willing to be at the helm of the ship.
We don't need any more generic companies, because we have too many already
We DO need companies that do work that matters, that change the game, and that want to serve theatre as a whole.
So please think before you make that baby, because just like a real one, you'll be responsible for it for a long time.