On August 1st, 2012, sixty plus independent theater companies and venues will unite to create a new funding source for independent theater in New York City. Flagship venues such as the CSV Cultural Center, Dixon Place, HERE, Horse Trade Theater Group, The Irondale Center, The Living Theater, The New Ohio Theatre, and Performance Space 122 will join emerging and established companies including Agony Productions, The Amoralists, Blue Coyote Theater Group, Caps Lock Theatre, The Civilians, Clancy Productions, Decades Out, Deconstructive Theatre Project, Ego Actus, Elephant Run District, ETdC Projects' Lab, Flux Theatre Ensemble, Gemini CollisionWorks, Inverse Theater, Jewish Plays Project, John Montgomery Theatre Company, Mabou Mines, Mind the Gap Theatre, The Nerve Tank, New Georges, New York Neo-Futurists, No. 11 Productions, Parallel Exit, The Present Company, Purple Rep, Rabbit Hole Ensemble, Rising Phoenix Rep, Sinking Ship Productions, Small Pond Entertainment, Sponsored by Nobody, Stolen Chair Theater Company, Surf Reality, terraNOVA Collective, Theatre Askew, Untitled Theater Company #61, Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company, and Wreckio Ensemble in the new Fund, all donating a nickel per ticket sold this year.
Elena Holy, Producing Artistic Director of FringeNYC (a LIT Fund participant) says, "The Present Company is always proud to be a part of anything that involves indie theatre artists supporting each other. The New York International Fringe Festival was forged on our collective indie traditions of self-sufficiency, creativity, and working together. This new fund builds on that idea and puts it into action across our entire community - its potential impact is extraordinarily exciting."
The Fund will be used to establish an endowment for the independent theater territory, create an Emergency Fund for independent theaters, companies and artists and provide unrestricTed Grants to participating companies and venues, starting August 1, 2013. The Fund welcomes theater companies and performance venues in New York City, as well as individual arts patrons to join in the effort.
Broadway stalwart Norbert Leo Butz says, "I have done most of my work on Broadway. I have won two Tony awards and been in a total of 8 Broadway shows. So why do I support the LIT fund? 'Cause I can't afford to go see plays unless I am in them, that's why. I think we are discovering that the economic model for commercial productions above 34th street (and several below) has become, at best, obsolete, and, at worst, unethical. Thank God for our little theatres!!! Who else is gonna provide the city with honest and undiluted theatrical voices? I have to work mostly uptown, but when I want to SEE theatre, I head Off-Off Broadway. Everyone knows that's where the real action is!"
Tony winner Greg Kotis (Urinetown! The Musical) says," The LIT Fund offers the big fish a clear and practical way of helping out the little fish. And as any credible marine biologist will tell you, no little fish, no big fish."
For over sixty years, Off-Off Broadway (now known as Independent Theater) has provided a haven for New York City theater artists and served as a cauldron and cradle for new and innovative American theater. This sector has grown beyond a "starting place" for many artists and now provides the artistic home for over 10,000 individual artists and companies. But this civic treasure is threatened. The economic realities of New York City have forced many artists and companies to leave New York. Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, Des Moines and many other cities are poised to replace New York as the center of new American theater. We refuse to lose this historic, cultural and civic treasure and so we are beginning an annual, reliable funding pool for the independent theater territory. For a full list of participants and more information, visit www.litfund.org.