I was recently elected onto the Board of Directors for the League of Independent Theater in the artist/professional class. Tonight was my first meeting. You might be asking what exactly independent theater is. Well, I’ll tell ya…
Independent Theater is artist-driven work created free of commercial restraints. Its purpose is to explore and expand convictions, methodologies, imaginations, and aesthetic sensibilities through the creations made by the independent artists. Its value lies in the questions it raises, the communities it brings together, and the lives it changes. Independent Theater strives to take artistic risks, express uncompromising (and uncompromised) visions, and connect with its audiences on its own terms. Independent Theater artists represent a wide and diverse set of sensibilities: trailblazers who act on visionary impulses as well as folks who just want to put on a good show. These impulses exploded from the curious, creative, questioning milieu of the 1950s and 1960s, and have informed the work of independent theater artists ever since. The members of The League of Independent Theater pledge to keep those impulses alive for future generations of artists and audiences, both in New York and nationwide.
Indie Theater isn’t low budget theater produced by amateurs for amateurs. It is not community theater. It is not a showcase opportunity for artists who can’t get any other jobs in the theater. And it is not a hive of desperation that breeds bad art. Indie Theater is a state of mind. It’s a call to arms. It’s a way of life. Indie Theater is the research-and-development wing for the American Theater.
Indie Theater is a pure, unfiltered vision communicated directly from the artist to the audience. Indie Theater is the impulse that inspires professional artists to create and produce their own professional work instead of waiting for someone with deep pockets to produce it for them. Indie Theater is about springing into action making one’s voice heard instead of waiting to be discovered by the powers-that-be. That impulse to create – that call to action – has led to some of the most distinguished and influential careers in American theater history.
At least, this is what we’ve kicked around in the Education Task Force so far. More can be said but I’ll leave it at that for now.
So the League is working on behalf of the artists and groups today who are out there busting their asses to make good work. There’s a lot to be done for this sector. If you think your stuff falls in line with this, please join. www.litny.org. We need lots of people to make this thrive.