I’d like to share the following quote, which has been guiding my thinking of late:
The adjacent possible is a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself…[the adjacent possible] captures both the limits and the creative potential of change and innovation.— Steven Johnson (Smith, 2010)
Our field is undergoing a major transformation, and some companies may not survive. But in all honesty, the non-profit theatre model in the U.S. has been hurtling toward a cliff for at least a decade. This is likely not news to you: subscription audiences have decreased, as has corporate and government funding. We have increasingly relied upon you, our supporters, to fill the gap. Our margins are razor-thin, leaving so many of us without reserves to weather unforeseen calamities like the one we’re currently experiencing.
However, one upside of this pause is that artistic leaders across the globe are in regular conversation, sharing EVERYTHING – from best practices to mistakes, examining both our practices and our assumptions. This pandemic has laid bare our vulnerabilities, and so we have banded together to envision a healthier, stronger theatre industry. We have a real opportunity to make nation-wide changes to our field.
An opportunity to think about the “adjacent possible.”
What is our purpose? What will the new normal look like? How can we reimagine the future and how can the audience participate in that decision?