Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Space Race

As a performer and an administrator, one of the most frequent challenges I come across is finding space - both for rehearsal and performance.  You might think - well can't you just play anywhere?  Yes, and no...usually no.  As a lone violinist, or with other portable instruments, artists can play almost anywhere - even metro stations! But if you want to add in a piano (which is most of the time), things get tricky.

First, there's the challenge of finding reliable rehearsal space.  There is plenty of space out there, for a price.  But what small music or theatre group has the budget to pay for space every week? Since regular practice is vital to most performance, this becomes a huge problem.  Even $10 per hour adds up when you are rehearsing for a show.

Performance space is also no easy task.  If you can't find a space with a piano, you could rent a piano for about $1,000.  Then you have to add that much more to the ticket prices. Even if you are lucky and get a place with the right equipment, the space fees are often so high that you barely clear a profit, if at all.

Where it gets fun and creative is the artistic element.  You don't want to play a chamber concert in a loud bar, but a cabaret would do fine there.  (Actually...maybe a string trio would be a cool experiment in a bar?).  See what I mean - it can be fun to get creative with space.  I have seen theatre groups that have performed in comedy halls, aerial dancers in art galleries, a gospel choir that performed in a children's museum, a NY-style cabaret in a sushi restaurant. 

My wish for Washington, DC, and the world in general is to share space.  Partner up with each other, find ways to help each other out to create more art.  It doesn't have to be about profit ALL the time.  But that's a topic for another day =)

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