Thursday, September 2, 2010

News on the Pro-Am Divide

The Royal Shakespeare Company's artistic director Michael Boyd has announced a major initiative that will place amateur theatre practitioners front and center at Britain's large, prestitious theatre company.

"There’s been a sort of crucifix and garlic mutual relationship between the amateur sector and the professional sector for too long," said Boyd in an article in the UK publication The Stage.

This was brought to the attention of many in the US arts world through blogger Chloe Veltman on her blog lies like truth.

The Pro-Am Divide is a subject that is of immense interest to me--especially now, when the lines are being blurred by popular culture through such vehicles as American Idol. Interestingly, the Pacific Chorale has for the past two years produced a Choral Festival in which it selects local amateur choirs to sing with the professional Chorale in a free concert.

While audiences for established arts institutions continue to dwindle (with some notable exceptions), much has been made of the continued strength of the participatory arts--people are even more desirous of being arts practitioners than ever (perhaps as an offset to media overload?). What I see is a real opportunity for audience building for professional arts by engaging with--rather than negating--the amateur artist.

Photo: Pacific Chorale rehearses with community choruses its 2010 Choral Festival.

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