An Historic Vote
Something important happened last weekend. Something historic for the Los Angeles theatre community. On Sunday, May 20, 2012, the first step was taken to launch a new chapter in how we produce theater in Los Angeles. At a gathering moderated by LA Stage Alliance at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, a meeting of 80-plus theatre producers agreed by unanimous vote that we would produce theater in a new way in the future: together.
The house full of producers, artistic directors and independent theatre-makers from venues all over Los Angeles, each with their own issues and concerns, voted unanimously to form a new Producers Guild that will speak with a single voice on behalf of all Los Angeles producers (99-seat producers, mid-size and larger). This is the most important milestone in LA Theatre history in the past 20 years.
Can 700+ theater producers spanning a diverse landscape as immense and wide as Los Angeles learn to collaborate and speak with one voice for the benefit of all? We’ll see. Let’s hope.
The new Producers Guild will work with the 99-seat Review Committee, the group already in place since the 1980’s to negotiate with Actor’s Equity Association about any proposed changes to the 99-Seat Plan.
The Producers Guild could also address many issues that can enhance the creation and producing of theatre in Los Angeles: improve conditions at venues (at all levels), rebranding the national image of LA Theatre, shared marketing, standard and improved rental contracts between venues, discount ticketing, collective bargaining with fair and equal dealings with unions (Actors Equity, SDC, USA,), and much more.
And perhaps most importantly: create a deeper sense of community. Remember, this new Guild would include theater producers at all levels: 99-seat, mid-size, large-size, and independents. Power and solidarity and community in numbers.
What Happens Now?
We must build a structure for this new Guild. We should reach out to the producers Leagues in other cities like New York and Chicago and examine their models.
Yes, we will have more meetings. And meetings about meetings. We must come together as a group and discuss how to proceed. This is the long, boring part of the process. It’s going to take time. But let’s get started.
Let the work begin.