SHOUT OUT! Curtain Speech Community Building

The Iron Age Theatre curtain speech is a very unique animal. It is too long, chaotic, passionate and mostly delivered by our artistic director. (Sam Wend says our Artistic director sometimes acts like a 2nd grader on a sugar high…..)  All of this is a purposeful act by the company (except the second grader thing) because our vision of the curtain speech is less an opportunity to get funding or silence cell phones, and more an opportunity to share the vision of theatre from our perspective.

“I try to mention at least three shows being performed by their companies, I usually mention shows of critical aesthetic importance or, more often, shows from medium or small companies that need some press, which has dwindled in the Philly region even as the number of companies has increased. These are not recommendations necessarily, although they sometimes come with critical caveats, they are shout outs. “Here is some stuff to see.” I avoid shows or companies that have massive advertising budgets unless the show is particularly unique or artistically imperative. I push small companies or pop up shows.”

Artistic Director, John Doyle

We say, we really say:..We don’t care if you see another Iron Age show and if you didn’t like this play don’t let it affect your vision of theatre as a whole. (evidenced in the YouTube clips below) Our mission is not just to get funding from our audience, who have already supported us by seeing the individual show. We say “GO SEE THEATRE … everywhere.” If you see theatre with another company, it only makes your experience at Iron Age more rich and rewarding and seeing an Iron Age show augments your experience at other companies….. because…. we are NOT COMPETITIVE INSTITUTIONS…. we are not corporate entities vying for dollars, we are ARTISTS working together to re-envision the universe through theatre. We are advocates changing the souls of a people or nation; we are creators of beauty balancing the horror of our world with the sublime nature of the theatrical experience . If people don’t see every show that they can, if they ally with a single company, the craft will die, or at least be pigeonholed, seen by a smaller and smaller, less diverse community of patrons until the craft is trapped in a bubble, an echo of mirrors.

AND IT WORKS. People go to other shows. Some shows We mention in the curtain speech have reported audience arriving because the heard about it from Iron Age…. so weird. So wonderful!!

Everyone can do this. Each theater can help the rest of the large and wonderful community here in Philly. We can break the cycle of Philebrity creating the value for particular shows or particular companies and instead make the concept of theatre that which engages our audiences and funders.

Iron Age has been committed to the community of theatre for years, in many ways like through our Fringe Wraiths project and we wish we could make that a year round endeavor. We believe collaboration and expansion and risk with those less powerful or less experiences is how the craft can grow!!

The curtain speech, a weird little beast, mostly used to deal with candy, cell phones and funding can be a tool to build much more, to extend past our theatrical borders, the walls of our spaces or subscriber base, and help theatre grow.




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