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MICHA: The Future of Theater

Theatre Mall

Pratik Motwani - 8 July 2014

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SESSION TITLE - THEATRE MALL: Brainstorm on the idea of using unused abandoned Shopping Malls and reclaiming/converting them into multiple black box spaces for Ensembles and Theatre companies. A market place for theatre.

SESSION MEMBERS: Pratik, Laura, Jessica, Martin, Cara

SESSION DISCUSSION :


1. Pratik started the discussion stating that on one hand there are so many very well trained talented and capable Actors/Theatre Makers out there whose talent is being completely wasted as they are caught in a very limited system of Auditioning for particular parts in particular productions that they have no control over and they are hungry and looking for resources and opportunities to employ themselves and explore and make use of what they are capable of.
On the other hand there are increasing number of Shopping Malls that are closing down and running out of business because of the emergence of e-shopping. Could these 2 things meet in any mutually beneficial way? Could there be a possibility of using these abandoned shopping mall space to create space for Theatre makers to practice, create and produce their work.

2. Several different ideas and questions were thrown in by the group. Some of them are :

Wether this Theatre Mall would be run as a collective of different companies/ensembles/visiting artists that use this space or wether it would be more beneficial to have a dedicated organization that manages and runs the Mall?

Who will come to this Theatre Mall? will there be an audience for it? Will it be practically and economically viable?

Where would be an ideal place for such a Theatre Mall? Portland, OR was suggested as a possible option to research

Different Theatre collectives, companies and ensembles could be sent invitations to come to the site and allotted different spaces within the site to make a site specific piece of theatre. The opening of the Theatre MAll could be done with a site specific piece.

Jessica suggested to research Hotel Horraine in Philadelphia. They converted an old abandoned hotel into loft space for artists.

She also suggested to look into The Walker - Mineopolis

Laura suggested to look into Mass Mocha - North Adams. They converted abandoned mills into a similar space.

3. As the discussion moved forward the idea of an Artist Mall instead of just a Theatre Mall became central to the discussion. A Mall where local artists working in different and diverse fields would be given space to exercise their practice and also open galleries, theatres, music stores etc to engage an audience. The mall could potentially include anything and everything to do with art and artists. Art supply stores, music store, pottery store, restaurants, caffes, theatre, book store, graphic artists, visual artists etc etc etc. The place would provide an environment and invite people to cross pollinate with each other and support each others business within the Theatre Mall. For eg: a graphic designer who has his space in the mall could design the Menu of the organic coffee shop and restaurant in the Mall. The actor that performs in the theatre in the mall in the evening could be a server in the restaurant during the day. The musician who makes banjos in the mall would be the sound designer for the theatre company's work. The discussion revolved around this idea in which different artists within the mall support and employ and nourish each other and The Mall works as one organism.

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