Recent theater graduate Colin Waitt said he is scared about what the future holds for his industry. Others share this fear.
With the recent announcement that Minneapolis-based Theatre de la Jeune Lune would be closing, artists are thinking about both their and the theater scene’s future.
Founders of the Tony award-winning theater Bob Rosen and Barbra Berlovitz said they will continue to instruct at the University and create theater in Minnesota.
Rosen said the fact the company stayed together for 30 years is “remarkable,” noting that many of his friends in the business had companies close much more quickly.
“Starting a company is a great thing,” he said, “but how do you keep it going is another thing.”
Also, he said not many people will come out of graduate programs and land a job in professional theater and high tuition costs makes building income even more difficult.
“We’re in pretty tough times right now,” Rosen said. “The reality is not many people can support themselves from (art).”
He said most people have to take a job doing something else and make their art on the side because the non-profit art world doesn’t pay much.
Berlovitz said as long as people don’t expect to make a fortune doing theater they should pursue it by taking risks and doing something new to invite audiences.
Waitt said the Minneapolis theater community is extremely supportive and willing to advise one another.
He said the vibrant theater scene in Minneapolis is full of variety, from classical to experimental with many opportunities.
However, with Theatre de la Jeune Lune closing – some are speculating it’s another sign of a looming recession – Waitt said he is concerned with young artists like himself starting up their own companies.
“If it’s a struggle to fill your gas tank,” Waitt said, “how are you going to go to the theater?”