Tuesday, January 8, 2013

After Dark, January 8, 2013

The Charlebois Post assumes its new form
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

Estelle Rosen, our national Editor-in-Chief, and I have made a huge decision which will more accurately reflect our philosophy/guideline of CharPo being a NATIONAL discussion about theatre. 

As of yesterday, all content will appear on one site: reviews, columns, articles, interviews, photos, vids, first-person pieces, etc. The idea is to bring both our writers and the companies they and we discuss and review to national attention. It is actually an evolution as both Estelle and I were worried that the discussion and reviews - by virtue of being on regional sites - were becoming too provincial in the worst sense of the word and splintering debate and dialogue. 

We have been told, by many of our readers, that we provide "connection".

A story important in Montreal theatre should also be important in Vancouver. For instance: what went wrong at Factory (discussed on the Toronto site), Vancouver Playhouse (discussed on the national site) and Hudson Village Theatre (discussed on the Montreal site) all signaled that boards were becoming more than a part of theatre infrastructure and were - by extension - deciding artistic creation. 

We are the only continuously updated media outlet that encourages a discussion on theatre and that it have a national context. We have been told, by many of our readers, that we provide "connection". The local sites - CharPo-Toronto, -Montreal, -Atlantic, -Alberta - will stay up after January 7 but it will be clearly indicated on each they are archival sites only. 

Our editors-in-chief (Émilie Charlebois in Toronto, Chris Lane in Vancouver, Jim Murchison in Ottawa) will retain the titles and functions but towards the national site - CharPo-Canada. Columnists will appear on the national site (on Saturday) and write about what they already write about because we feel what they have to say is important and interesting. Features like Openings We're Tracking This Week, Multi-Media, CharPo's Real Theatre!, In a Word and The Question will appear each week, along with a photo album of theatre shots from across the country and video of the week. Long-form features from across the country will appear on Sunday. 

Sometime in the first half of the New Year, we will be creating a new CharPo site called CharPo Circle. This will be a site reserved for subscribers with the goal of finally paying the bills and, especially, our writers. CharPo-Canada will continue to operate and all our reviews will appear on that site, free of charge.

All other content will then appear on a daily basis on The Circle: video of the week, picture of the week, columns, features, special events and offers, seminars, tweet-ups and much, much more.  We will have a live chat room and forums on the site, be covering politics of theatre, and going for solid features and first-persons. Artists can submit ideas and, especially, first-person pieces at any time. 

After 26 months this will be an endgame move for The Charlebois Post - if we find there is no support for The Circle, we will not be taking up anyone's time any longer. I must state that we have tried several other strategies: ads, merchandise and a donation button but none of these have worked. We have consulted and studied several experts in the field and have chosen this approach - now commonly referred to as The Velvet Rope. It's a big move for us and excites us nearly as much as it terrifies us.

However, we are very optimistic about this direction and about the future of the organization. Growth will be very gradual and based entirely on the patience of our contributors and the support of the readers. 

I'd be very interested to find out what you have to say about all this so please comment below. If you have questions, you can contact me or ask into the comments below and I'll answer there.

Good luck to all of us!

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