Saturday, April 13, 2013

First-Person: Director Rio Mitchell on MAP Project

why make theatre… why make this next show?
by Rio Mitchell

This Fall in Montreal, we watched as MainLine Theatre pulled themselves out of a $15,000 deficit with the help of many individual donors, and a great fundraising campaign. The campaign was predicated on this: 'MainLine is the home of english indie theatre in Montreal- it has grown into an important institution- artists and audiences alike would be losing so much if MainLine shut its doors forever'.

MAP Project has just launched our first ever fundraising campaign. We've been established for four years, and have sustained ourselves on the smallest of grants, the occasional party that we throw, and ticket sales. This is our first time reaching out to our friends, family and audiences for money- we're building our newest show to be tour-able, and after we open it on May 2 at our home on the Main, we're set to take it to the New York Live Arts Center… but we can't do any of this without a small influx of cash.

MAP's next show is about God, and the nature of belief and spirituality. 

We at MAP are constantly asking ourselves: 'why make theatre… why make this next show?'. What do we have to offer to the public that we expect them to buy into and participate in? I think this is a very important question for all artists to ask themselves- and a question that I often see the lack of in crowd-fundraisers for artistic ventures on Indiegogo or Kickstarter, with cheeky 'perks' like "for $100- we will think of you each night before bed in thanks. For $150- we will be eternally grateful and give you a 150-second group hug". I realize this is supposed to be funny, but I also think it indicates a lack of consideration of the question "what DO I have to offer? Am I just putting on this show because I really like to put on shows?" …don't get me wrong, a passion for what you do is incredibly important! But, just like any business, the central thought must be 'what do people need or want, that I can give in a unique, awesome, and currently unfulfilled way?'. A baker doesn't just bake bread because he wants to- he bakes it because its more delicious, cheap and/or convenient then any other bread around.

MAP's next show is about God, and the nature of belief and spirituality. We're exploring this topic because we feel that this is a theme of unique and great change 'here' and 'now' (in Montreal, today). Quebec has the most churches per capita in Canada, the lowest church attendance, and the highest number of registered cults! It seems important for us to engage in this dialogue of change; we hope we can do it some service, and allow our audience to consider 'belief' in a new and empowering way. Likewise, when we developed our Indiegogo fundraiser, we considered all that we have to give. MAP has a lot- a great community and many sought-after skills… the thing that we do NOT have is money! So when you donate to MAP this month, you'll trade your money for headshots with MAP's photographer, a crew-call with MAP's tech-girl, performance footage of your event with MAP's videographer and editor, among others.

Let's work together, artists and patrons, to create a liquid marketplace of art and life. Let's consider what we need, and give what we have! Thank you, artists and patrons alike, for perpetuating a prolific world of creation.

(and, if you'd like to give to MAP, you can do so right here)

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