With Silver Bells and Cockle Shells

Posted in RBIT, Running the theatre on February 5th, 2011 by kellinewby

How does a theatre grow?

A board member suggested this topic to me the other night, and the nursery rhyme has been in my head ever since.  I looked it up to get all the words right and discovered the little ditty I’ve been half reciting to my son is not about a lovely little garden, but instead about Bloody Mary torturing people.  Lesson one, always do your research.

Growing a theatre.  It’s been something we’ve been talking about for four years.  We talk about having fancy cocktail parties to woo potential board members.  At these hypothetical parties, we give a polished presentation of all we do.  We talk about going to SPARK events and creating more youth workshops and being a bigger presence on Main Street.  We know that’s what you need–a real board, connections, and something to offer the community that plays to our strengths and its needs.  But in the past, we’ve gotten distracted by real life, by jobs and kids, and also by the details of running a theatre and paying the rent.  We dream big, but we live hand to mouth.

But we just got another new board member.  Another non-artist, “real person,” as I call our new additions.  He was talking about North Adams at the meeting, but what he said applied to the Main Street Stage as well:

We enable ourselves by not moving forward.  We need to use what we have.

We have a space.  We have a community.   We have people outside the company that love our space and need a space for their own projects.  So…

  • We’re starting with a Comedy night two times a month.  It will begin on Feb 18th and feature a double bill with local stand-ups and RBIT.  In March, we will add in an open mic comedy night that will be free and open to all.  Stand-ups can start there and work their way up to the night with RBIT.  There used to be something similar at the Alley.  They want comedy.  We want community acts.  Beautiful.
  • We’re working on music.  We may have found someone, not us, to co-ordinate regular music nights.
  • We’re working on regular children’s entertainment.  More details to follow.
  • We’re asking you–what do you want?

Back to Lesson one: always do your research.  What do you want to see at the Main Street Stage?  Please, leave a comment or send me an e-mail.  We want this stage to better serve our community, but we can only guess what you want until you tell us.  We’re listening.