2015 is nearly over.
A few weeks into the year, I founded Conduit Theatre. I set aside a small chunk of money, wrote feverishly some guiding concepts and business models; read as much information about business and entrepreneurship I could find, had coffee with people from very different backgrounds to learn as much as I could, and away I went trying to implement the strategy I created.
I broke down my goals into three categories: Create, Curate, and Collaborate.
The manifestation of that resulted in the premiere of my solo show, “Origami Swans: A Clown’s Struggle with Drugs and Alcohol”, creating a series called the Word Parlor which involved poetry, spoken word, storytelling, stand-up comedy, and more in a unique space that fostered community and connection; pairing with a few different organizations for different projects ranging from small scale events to gala events; teaching my first workshop on physical theatre, and bringing in artists from across the country to perform in Grand Forks.
As I near the end of the month, my year-long cash flow spreadsheet show a very small profit on the year. By any business standard, financially the first year has to go down as a success.
Challenges still exist. My presence in the community is not where I would like, my ability to produce and promote work still is not where I would like it to be. As one person in an organization I have felt the scope of what I am doing may be too large for one person, I feel ineffective, spread thin, and unable to do what I do best. However these challenges inspire me towards action and adaptation.
Business and art fascinates me more now than ever. Making theatre a financially viable endeavor intrigues me. Market, demand, and supply are concepts that I pay attention to now. Looking for companies who are thriving (or at least trending upwards) is important to me. Just as important as the act of creating.
If this year has taught me anything, it is that business and art are very similar. An entrepreneur and an artist both have an interest in creating something which will become larger than themselves. A great piece of art can live on for hundreds and possibly thousands of years just like an innovative new business can change the world.
I consider Conduit Theatre a great experiment, while also being the house in which I can further explore my own interests as an artist.
Whether you are a fellow artist (in any medium), a patron of my services or events, or you have financially donated to Conduit Theatre I cannot express properly the depths of my thankfulness. I could not still be working on this without you. If you have sat with me over coffee and discussed how to raise funds, how to market, how to create a brand, or simply talked about the state of the world, or this city, I have appreciated your presence in my life.
2016 may look dramatically different than 2015 did. I hope to put much of my energy into my solo show hitting the road. Grand Forks may not see me for a few months. Realizing that my resource of time and energy is limited, I must focus myself for a smaller scope. Work smarter, not harder as the old adage goes.
I have learned more in a year about the totality of theatre than the years of class room work which preceded this. I cannot wait to see where this next year takes me.