Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Theatre that Dares to be Different

I thought today I'd post the "Grinder Manifesto." It's not so much a manifesto in the sense of Karl Marx's ode to communism, nor even the much more engaging Punk Marketing Manifesto that I've been reading lately. No, this is more of a working document, an open-book on the past, present and future of where the company is going. It's personal, polemical, long on platitudes and short on specifics, ie the kind of thing politicians love and English teachers love to rip apart. I post it here not in the hopes that it will be a tool of conversion, but perhaps a tool of discussion. I wrote this at the beginning of the journey that has been Grinder Productions. Is it still relevant to what we're doing today? Does it still make sense, or should it be changed or even abandoned completely and whole new one written?

Suggestions please...

Theatre That Dares to be Different

We are the ones who dare to be different. We dare to find other ways, better ways to reach audiences, exceed standards of technical expertise and craftsmanship, and deliver inspired performances. We dare to believe that theatre can be more meaningful, more enjoyable and ultimately of greater value to both patrons and participants if we go the extra mile, make the extra effort and hold ourselves to a higher standard than other theatre companies.

Daring to be different is not licence for brazen ill-conceived notions of financial extravagance or artistic snobbery. To be different implies deviance from the norm and the norm in today’s theatre often is artistic snobbery under the guise of financial extravagance, attempting to produce expensive “products” aimed at the “lowest common denominator” of patron tastes in order to maximize box office returns. Results are often predictable, sometimes successful, but seldom, if ever, fulfill the potential of the participants. This is the theatre that does not dare to be different at all. This is not our theatre.

We dare to strive for great theatre. We dare to offer our patrons something better, regardless of individual tastes for comedy, drama, music or any other genre. Whether it’s finding the right prop instead of a prop that will merely suffice, or finding out just what the “French Provincial” style actually is, or holding the door for an elderly patron on opening night, we dare to be different. We make one more attempt at making a sale, we dig a little deeper to find new meaning in a character, we recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of the rest of the team.

We are Grinder Productions. We are theatre that dares to be different.

No comments: