Economics

In this section, theatremakers explore the economic realities of producing art and making a career in our industry. Topics explored include internship culture, economic precarity, unions, dynamic pricing, and more.

The Latest

Internships are Dead. Long Live Internships.
Essay
Internships are Dead. Long Live Internships.
by Ashley Malafronte, Michael DeWhatley
22 July 2021
Maybe There’s More Than Enough: Escaping the Scarcity Mindset in Nonprofit Theatre
Essay
Maybe There’s More Than Enough: Escaping the Scarcity Mindset in Nonprofit Theatre
by Alix Rosenfeld
10 June 2021
When Theatre Will Become Fully Itself: Digital Supratheatre and the Fight for an Inclusive Future
Essay
When Theatre Will Become Fully Itself: Digital Supratheatre and the Fight for an Inclusive Future
Translated by Cecilia Laslo
by Mihaela Drăgan
25 May 2021
Ashley Malafronte in a black shirt and kakis painting on a stone wall.
Internships are Dead. Long Live Internships.
Essay

Internships are Dead. Long Live Internships.

22 July 2021

Ashley Malafronte and Michael DeWhatley ask: How can future-minded theatres revolutionize their internship programs to create a more diverse, reciprocal, and mutually beneficial set of initiatives?

Nine actresses in soccer uniforms with most of them doing goofy gestures. Some have orange peels in their mouths.
Maybe There’s More Than Enough: Escaping the Scarcity Mindset in Nonprofit Theatre
Essay

Maybe There’s More Than Enough: Escaping the Scarcity Mindset in Nonprofit Theatre

10 June 2021

Alix Rosenfeld offers suggestions for nonprofits seeking to move out of a scarcity mindset, embrace a spirit of abundance, and build pathways to a more ethical and equitable ecosystem.

Illustration by Silent Fox, inspired by the essay.
When Theatre Will Become Fully Itself: Digital Supratheatre and the Fight for an Inclusive Future
Essay

When Theatre Will Become Fully Itself: Digital Supratheatre and the Fight for an Inclusive Future

Translated by Cecilia Laslo

25 May 2021

Mihaela Drăgan introduces digital supratheatre—a theatre of the future with two underlying principles: technological change and social change.

headshot of Chris Meyers.
SEGAL TALKS with Chris Myers
Video

SEGAL TALKS with Chris Myers

Join us for a conversation about curating, producing and presenting theatre and performance in the Time of Corona

Wednesday 5 May 2021
United States

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center presented SEGAL TALKS with Chris Myers livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Wednesday 5 May 2021 at 9 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 11 a.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 12 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

An Image of four panels. The first has a waste basket and crumbled paper in it it. The second have children looking at a stage with their backs to us. The third is a person in a green shirt with long black hair sitting at a desk in and office talking to a person who has their back to us. The fourth panel has a podium with a slot, and various rectangles and circles surrounding it.
Creating Theatre for Our Future, Together
Essay

Creating Theatre for Our Future, Together

29 April 2021

Mary Kathryn Nagle predicts four main ways the American theatre will devise a future where theatrical storytelling does not directly contribute to white supremacy.

The author, Chris Mayers (left), and Rachel Nicks (right) in a hospital scene for the play WAR.
Art at Work
Essay

Art at Work

Class Consciousness and the Transformation of the World

20 April 2021

Chris Myers talks about the importance of class politics and makes a case for why artists ought to reckon with it, both as creative people and just plain workers.

purple border around black text economic transperency in commercial theater.
Economic Transparency in the Commercial Theatre
Video

Economic Transparency in the Commercial Theatre

Let’s talk about how we talk about money

Thursday 15 April 2021
United States

Producer Hub presented the conversation Economic Transparency in the Commercial Theatre with their series Producing Ethically in 2021 livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 15 April 2021 at 5 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) / 7 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 8 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

Several actors as prisoners, civilians, doctors and nurses in Bertolt Brecht's Fear and Misery of the Third Reich.
Towards a Marxist Theatre
Essay

Towards a Marxist Theatre

15 April 2021

Ezra Brain argues that political theatre has largely been reduced to simply calling out the problems in society, effectively preaching to the choir, and believes that in order to save political theatre, it must be re-Marxed.

Kamilah Forbes portrait.
Imagining a Way Forward
Essay

Imagining a Way Forward

Discussions on Theatre and Race

30 March 2021

Kamilah Forbes, artistic director of the Apollo Theater, speaks with Wes Jackson and P. Carl about the American theatre being a very slow-moving ship, genre-crossing for artists and organizations, systemic racism in the field, and more.

Illustration of Black people tearing down barriers.
A Future Built by Us
Essay

A Future Built by Us

An Imagination Exercise with The Movement Theatre Company

25 March 2021

The Movement Theatre Company members David Mendizábal, Deadria Harrington, Eric Lockley, Taylor Reynolds, and Ryan Dobrin share their visioning for a more equitable theatre field.

three people posing for a photo in an ikea warehouse
Obvious Agency and Creative Cooperative Futures
Essay

Obvious Agency and Creative Cooperative Futures

15 March 2021

Arianna Gass and Daniel Park share their experience restructuring their company into a worker cooperative and what benefits this model offers.

four people posing for a photo outside in a city
Sharing the Load
Essay

Sharing the Load

Adapting to the Pandemic in a Shared Leadership Role

2 March 2021

In a conversation that took place in November 2020, Meropi Peponides and Yury Urnov discuss stepping into shared leadership roles, adapting during the pandemic, paying salaries to actors, and more.

a large group sitting in a circle watching a staged reading
How Sustained Support for Playwrights Impacts Artistry
Essay

How Sustained Support for Playwrights Impacts Artistry

National Playwright Residency Program Evaluation 2020

1 March 2021

Alexis Frasz and Holly Sidford of Helicon Collaborative share their findings from the most recent assessment of the National Playwright Residency Program.

overlapping collage of plays featuring kate mcgee's lighting designs
Industry or Community
Essay

Industry or Community

What Are We Going Back To?

23 February 2021

Masha Tsimring talks about pay equity in the design world, the upsides and downsides of freelancing, how COVID-19 has affected designers, and more.

a colorful illustration
Catalyzing Climate Justice by Divesting from Fossil Fuels
Essay

Catalyzing Climate Justice by Divesting from Fossil Fuels

19 February 2021

Annalisa Dias and Ronee Penoi, on behalf of Groundwater Arts, argue that there cannot be a just arts sector within an unjust world, and that contrary to what people think, arts workers do have the means and the agency to make change. What is needed is a new narrative.

Grass growing out of an old laptop computer.
Streaming in the Just Transition
Essay

Streaming in the Just Transition

A Producer’s Guide to Measuring, Budgeting, and Lowering the Carbon Emissions of Livestreams and Video Conferences

7 January 2021

Vijay Mathew asks, and then offers ideas to approach, the question: "How will the performing arts field contribute to climate justice during the sixth mass extinction?"

a person handing over a ticket
Pay Equity
Essay

Pay Equity

What’s In It For Theatre Companies?

6 January 2021

Elsa Hiltner examines the value of pay equity in the theatre through a fresh lens: how it benefits companies.

The marquee for the San Diego Civic Center
Should I Stay or Should I Go
Essay

Should I Stay or Should I Go

Job Loss for New Graduates and Young Professionals

7 December 2020

Concerned with how the lockdowns have affected recent theatre graduates and young professionals, Kristin Perkins spoke to eighteen such artists across the United States about what it’s been like for them and offers some suggestions for the months ahead.

School of Resistance, Episode Nine: A Global Jurisdiction for a Global Economy
Video

School of Resistance, Episode Nine: A Global Jurisdiction for a Global Economy

A dialogue with Miriam Saage-Maaß and Sylvestre Bisimwa, hosted by Eva-Maria Bertschy.

Thursday 22 October 2020
United States

NTGent presented School of Resistance, Episode Nine: A Global Jurisdiction for a Global Economy livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 22 October 2020 at 9 a.m. PDT (Los Angeles, UTC -7) / 12 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4) / 17:00 BST (London, UTC +1) / 18:00 CEST (Berlin, UTC +2).

event text PUBLICLY TRANSPARENT BUDGETING
Green New Theater Part 4: Publicly Transparent Budgeting (Live-captioned and ASL-interpreted)
Video

Green New Theater Part 4: Publicly Transparent Budgeting (Live-captioned and ASL-interpreted)

Y’all.... Where That Money At?

Thursday 1 October 2020
United States

Groundwater Arts presented Green New Theater Part 4: Publicly Transparent Budgeting (ASL-interpreted) livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Thursday 1 October 2020 at 4 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC -7) 5 p.m. MDT (Colorado, UTC -6) / 6 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC -5) / 7 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC -4).

scan of a vintage text
The New Antitheatrical Prejudice
Essay

The New Antitheatrical Prejudice

18 August 2020

Seth Wilson argues that the relatively low reputation of the study and pursuit of theatre is the primary way antitheatricalism manifests itself today.

an audience
Are Malawi Theatre Groups Underpricing Their Shows to Extinction?
Essay

Are Malawi Theatre Groups Underpricing Their Shows to Extinction?

10 August 2020

Isaac Mafuel shares a recent debate had amongst theatremakers in Malawi about how to best price shows, considering both that low prices are a way of coping with the circumstances of their economy and that art should claim its value.

a group watching a presentation
Inequity by Design
Essay

Inequity by Design

13 July 2020

Elsa Hiltner discusses equity issues for designers in the theatre industry and offers tips for how artists can work together to change the system.

a view of rooftops in new york city from a bedroom
A Mortal Theatre
Essay

A Mortal Theatre

28 May 2020

Caridad Svich offers some observations from this ever-evolving now, as the theatre industry contends with the manner in which it may come into its own during the COVID-19 pandemic and after.

a person controlling a theatre's light rail rope system
Rebuilding a Better Theatre Industry Post-Pandemic
Essay

Rebuilding a Better Theatre Industry Post-Pandemic

A Punch List

14 May 2020

Genevieve Beller argues that the current forced pause on society provides a rare opportunity for theatres to take stock, inventory priorities, and enact positive and lasting change, and she provides tangible steps to do so.