The Art of the Business

A blog dedicated to artists who are serious about their business.

Summer Courses for Youth April 19, 2010

Filed under: Business of Arts,Workshops — Rebecca Coleman @ 7:07 am
Tags: , ,

A popular debate topic around these here parts is how do we build an audience for the future. One way of doing that is to encourage the next generation of theatre-makers. If you have a teenager in your house (thankfully, I’ve got a few more years before I have to worry about this!), here are some courses that you can put them in this summer to help them along.

Announcing The Cultch’s Summer Youth Performing Arts Intensive
A summer camp experience unlike any other!
On August 16th-27th, The Cultch’s Youth Program will welcome 40 high-school aged artists from across the Lower Mainland into their theatres to work in direct collaboration with the artistic-directors of four of Vancouver’s leading performing arts companies:

  • Kendra Fanconi- The Only Animal
  • Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg- Tara Cheyenne Performance
  • James Long- Theatre Replacement
  • Marcus Youssef- Neworld Theatre

This unprecedented opportunity recreates first-hand what a professional performing arts company has to tackle to bring a new work to the stage, all condensed into two weeks! The camp culminates with the students premiering the work they have
created with their mentors in the Cultch’s Historic Theatre.

Young artists who are entering high-school, currently in high school, or who have just graduated are all welcome. Musicians, dancers, and theatre-artists are all encouraged to register. “Our mentors are experts in working across the disciplines,”
explains Corbin Murdoch, The Cultch’s Youth Program Manager. “It is going to be a truly multidisciplinary experience. Participants will get to experiment with all kinds of art forms and learn how to collaborate with all types of artists.”

In addition to the 60 hours of collaborative creation time with the mentors, participants will take part in six skill building workshops led by The Cultch’s expert staff and staff members of the city’s leading arts and culture organizations. Workshop topics will include media relations, grant writing, and marketing– invaluable information for budding young artists.

“The Cultch is in a unique position to offer youth programming because we work so closely with Vancouver’s premiere independent performing arts producers,” explains Murdoch. “We are able to connect young people to artists in the city who are out there doing what they want to be doing in the future. It is all about learning first hand what it takes to succeed.”

“With 40 young artists using our facilities to create new work all at once, The Cultch is going to be alive in a way that it never has before,” Murdoch adds. “The energy and excitement is going to be through the roof. It will be the most exciting and inspiring two weeks of the summer, guaranteed.”


Online: visit

Over the phone: call The Cultch’s box
office at 604-251-1363

Tarlington Training Creates the Young Actor’s Theatre Company, and remounts Canadian Stories

Tarlington Training Inc., Canada’s most respected acting Studio for young people, is pleased to announce the creation of the Young Actor’s Theatre Company, and a remount of Canadian Stories. During an intensive four-month course, young committed actors (16-19) will spend over 180 hours learning techniques for both stage and camera, culminating in a performance of the wildly successful Canadian Stories, an award-winning, original musical play, crafted from the stories of young immigrants to Canada.

Over 120,000 people saw the original production of the play across Canada, the U.S. and in the U.K. where it toured to schools and colleges and played in theatres and at festivals.

There has been great demand for a remount of the production, so the YATC and Tarlington Training are updating it to be presented publicly at the Firehall Arts Centre at the end of August. The play has also been booked to open the British Columbia English as a Second Language (ESL) Teachers’ Conference in Vancouver in October 2010.

Apart from acting, the group will learn singing technique, meet with guest directors and gain important business information about the entertainment industry. They will also gain experience in touring, facilitating groups, acting for camera and valuable information regarding the entertainment industry.

Tarlington Training is Vancouver’s longest running acting studio for children, youth and teens. The play will be directed by the award-winning Carole Tarlington, a veteran director, casting director and acting teacher in Vancouver who helped launch the careers of many Canadian actors, including Kristin Kreuk, Ryan Reynolds and Sarah Chalke.

Two FULL scholarships will be awarded to talented, committed, deserving young actors.

The course runs weekdays from August 5 to 31 (10:00 am to 4:00 pm), then Saturdays from September 11 to November 27. Auditions are on Saturday, April 24 in Vancouver.

To book an audition time, or for more information, call Carole at 604 254 6316
or Brad at 604 664 0315. Young actors can also book audition times online at

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Entertainment versus provocation: what is theatre’s job? May 13, 2009

Filed under: Business of Arts,Local Shows — Rebecca Coleman @ 6:12 am

It feels like ever since the Dionysians danced around the giant penis in the first days of Greek theatre, the debate has been raging. I can see it now: half of the revelers, drunk and having a debauched good time, insist that thier theatre ritual is for fun, entertainment. The other half are arguing that, in order for it to be useful, catharsis, an emotional reaction in the audience must have taken place. 180px-Dionysus_Sarcophagus

It’s thousands  of years later, and the debate rages on.

What is theatre’s job? To provoke, or to entertain?

Here in Vancouver, it feels like we are in two very divided camps. There are the bigger theatres, who, for reasons of having to pay rent and actors and amazing set and costume designers, have big budgets, and are very reliant on box office revenue for thier business model to work. Then, there are other, smaller, independent theatre companies that have lower overhead and a passion for the latest controversial script.

The big theatre companies have to produce stuff that they know is going to sell tickets. Hence the reason Les Miserables goes into previews this week here in Vancouver. The smaller companies refer to the work they do as more of  a capital “A” Art: holding up a mirror to society. Check out this recent post by Travis Bedard on that subject and its consequences.

I don’t really have the answer. As a marketer, I believe there is space in this world for both. The audience that may go to Les Miserables might not be interested in seeing Dying City. They are different markets. Or maybe they will. What I do know is this: every time someone goes to the theatre, we have a chance to convert them. If they go, and they like it, because it is either entertaining or provocative, there is a good chance they’ll come back. And if they come back, maybe they’ll be more daring, and try something that is out of their comfort zone.

So let’s just produce good theatre. Good theatre that makes people want to come back for more entertainment or to make them think. Because at least they are going to the theatre.

I welcome your thoughts on this debate in the comments below.

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Apparently, Theatre is Dead… April 15, 2009

Filed under: Business of Arts — Rebecca Coleman @ 8:54 am
Tags: , ,

While starring in the play A Touch of the Poet on Broadway in 2005, [actor Gabriel] Byrne proclaimed that theater is dying out.

“I looked out into the audience and the theatre was packed with well-to-do, white-haired people,” Byrne said.

“After the show I turned to one of the other actors and said, ‘Theater is dead. There’s no one under 60 out there, they’re all white and they can all afford £200 for a night.’ Seriously, theater as we’re doing it now, is dead.”

Read the entire story here.

What do you think? Are rumours of her death greatly exaggerated? Or do you agree with Mr. Byrne?

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Theatre Tweeple February 11, 2009

I’ve been talking about Twitter for months now. It’s no secret that I am totally and utterly hooked.

I love that it works in real time, and I love all the new contacts that I’ve made through Twitter. And I’m especially excited about all the people I am meeting from all over the world that share my passion for the theatre.

Here are just a few of the people I follow, and am building relationships with (for some pretty cool stuff which we are currently cooking, but not at liberty to disclose!). Check them out, and perhaps you might like to follow them, too. First off, you should join the Theatre group on Twitter, and if you post anything about Theatre, include the hashtag: #Theatre.


@thenextstagemag: Simon Ogden, The Next Stage blogger

@DanceCentre: The Scotiabank Dance Centre

@pitheatre: Pi Theatre

@RachelPeake: a local writer and Ruby Slippers blogger

@CynnamonS: my fellow publicist and gal-about-town

@TheElectrics: Electric Theatre Co.


@ShamelessHussy: Both of these are the tweets of Deb Pickman

@bcfilmmaker: Peter D. Marshall, Film Director, blogger and social media enthusiast

@TJBuffoonery: Trilby Jeeves, Bouffon

@SMLois: Lois, Stage Manager at Pacific Theatre, and blogger

@Stevely: Publicist and Commercial Drive blogger

@UQEvents: That great new events listing site

@BronwenRules: Actor and one of my personal fave people

@CatLH: Actor and owner of Biz Books

@ShaneBee: Blogger and owner of LeftRightMinds

@CosmoCanuck: Adam is an actor, blogger and photographer

@MonicaHamburg: blogger, actor, social media

@LeeHVincent: works on Skydive

@StraightArts: the arts section of The Georgia Straight

@jconnellyphoto: Headshot photographer


@Luminato: The Toronto Festival

@bfg85: A Toronto actress

@ianmackenzie: Praxis Theatre blogger


@LindsayWriter: Lyndsay Price, writer and blogger on Theatrefolk

@KrisJoseph: Actor out of Ottawa

@jcovert: Publicist for the NAC in Ottawa

@a_mandolin: theatre artist, Toronto.






@WendyRosenfeld: Theatre critic in Philadelphia

@StoryTolar: Actor in LA, Debra Olson-Tolar


@TravisBedard: Blogger of Midnight Honesty at Noon (Austin)

@pmull: Director and writer (Virgina)

@JessHutchinson, AD of a theatre in Chicago



@moremattrlessrt: Two Day Productions, Scotland

@actorexpo: London & Edinburgh’s Trade show for actors

@Xuxa2: a UK Actress


@djchadderton: David Chadderton, a theatre writer/reviewer in England

@devioustheatre: a company from Ireland

@dramagirl: Kate Foy

And a couple of celebrity  actors, just for fun:



@MrsKutcher (Demi Moore)

@APlusK (Ashton Kutcher)

@JaneFonda (who is currently on Broadway for the first time in decades, and blogging/twittering all about it… Go Jane!)

If  I’ve missed anyone, or you’ve joined since this post was published, please add yourself to the comments section below.

And Twitter ON!!

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A Who’s-Who of the Vancouver Theatrosphere January 26, 2009

It’s happening. Slowly, but surely, more and more Vancouver theatre companies are choosing to get online with Web 2.0 technology. Simon Ogden and I have been preaching this gospel for a long time: it’s not enough to just have a website any more. In order to really extend your reach to a new audience, you need to embrace new technology and get a blog, a facebook page, or a twitter account.

In an industry that is chronically underfunded and overworked, and tends to be a bit afraid of online innovations, it hasn’t been easy to convince people that they need to join the  Web 2.0 revolution.  But we’ve managed to convince a few.

Welcome to the blogosphere two new blogs: Biz Books and Ruby Slippers. They join these theatre bloggers already girldivingmaking a go of it (thanks to Simon for compiling this list):

  • Green Thumb Theatre – Green Thumb is a local company that specializes in theatre for young audiences.
  • Lois in La La Land – Lois is a stage manager at Pacific Theatre, and writes a good blog.
  • Pi Theatre – The blog of Pi Theatre.
  • PuShing It – Blog for the PuSH Festival, currently on.
  • The Next Stage – Simon Ogden is the number one Theatre blogger in Vancouver.
  • Soul Food – Ron Reed is the AD at Pacific Theatre, and I think, may be Vancouver’s first Theatre blogger.
  • The Theatre Department of UBC – written by the ever-on-the-technical-edge Deb Pickman.

How about you? Interested in starting a blog and reaching out to your audience? Come on in, the water’s great!

If I’ve missed any, please post the feed URL in the comments section below.

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Vancouver’s Pantages Theatre in Jeapordy October 25, 2008

Filed under: Politics of Arts — Rebecca Coleman @ 3:58 am
Tags: , , ,

Early this year, I got involved in a project through my friend Kevin McKeown over at Publicity Plus Event Marketing. It was a project that was close to my heart, and every single person who got involved in it worked for free because we all believed in it so deeply.

Looking down at the stage from the balcony

Looking down at the stage from the balcony

Vancouver’s Pantages Theatre, opened in 1908, is it is the oldest surviving theatre in Vancouver, and the oldest purpose-built vaudeville theatre in Canada. It is also the oldest surviving Pantages theatre in North America. In 2005, developer Marc Williams bought the property and the four adjoining ones to the west. The plan was to gut and restore the 650-seat theatre (which has incredible acoustics), build a new lobby, a new entrance, an art gallery, and 130+ units of social housing.

On April 16, 2008, after many, many tours, meetings, and getting people on board, we had a press conference announcing Williams’ $26 million development plan. It was attended by media, members of the arts community, and the Downtown East Side, and it was a huge success.

This theatre is magic. I don’t know any other way of describing it. Being in there was amazing. Even though the theatre is derelict and falling down, the energy is incredible. The history of that building, and its potential impact its resident companies, specifically, and the Vancouver arts community in general, is immense.

I have just received word from Kevin that the property has been put up for sale by the developer. According to Williams: “We tried for over three years to find a financially viable proposal that would satisfy the many interests at stake. Ultimately, we could not. The Pantages was a very powerful idea. The theatre, the housing, the retail businesses – the combination was extraordinary. I was proud to have been a part of it. I am so disappointed we could not make it work.”

According to CTV news, the issue is that “the city wants more time to study the $26-million restoration plan that would be funded by governments at a number of levels.”

My understanding is that, during this time when politics are at the forefront, in anticipation of a municipal

The Boxes

The Boxes

election, this could become an election issue. The Pantages Theatre Society encourages you to send an email of support to:, and cc: it to

Vancouver needs the Pantages. The Arts community desperately needs more performance space. The Downtown East Side would benefit both from the social housing, and access to and involvement with cultural events in their own neighborhood.

Adam Abrams’ blog post on the Pantages

The Vancouver Pantages Website

The Save the Pantages Facebook group

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