NJ Theater Alliance Supports and Advocates For Local Theaters
John McEwen, Executive Director of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, explains how the alliance serves 32 equity producing theaters throughout New Jersey and provides them with a range of benefits, including marketing, audience development, advocacy and educational support.
"Welcome to Life and Living, I'm Joanna Gagis. We may not always get the billing we deserve New Jersey's theatre scene is making a name for itself even on the national stage. Joining me right now is John McEwen, Executive Director of New Jersey Theatre Alliance, welcome. Thank you for having me. Love talking about the arts and what New Jersey is doing because we may not be Broadway but we are doing things very well, right here in our own state and in our own backyard. That's right. Talk a bit about the Alliance and what you do. How do you support the arts in New Jersey? Sure, well we're 35 years old. We are started back 35 years ago by five theaters. So it was Paper Mill Playhouse, and it was the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, George Street Playhouse, McCarter Theatre, and the Whole Theatre which was Olympia Dukakis's theatre in Montclair which has been out of business for some time, but those five theaters got together and said what can we do together that's going to help strengthen the theatre community here in New Jersey. So of course is was funding at the time, it was al about money right, so they went to Trenton as a group and they thought by going together they would be stronger. And that's been really the foundation of the alliance. We have this collaborative spirt that by working together we're going to be stronger. One theatre's success is a success for everybody. So really taking the competition out of it although certainly theaters want to de well themselves and survive. Oh sure. But understanding that in it together we can do a lot and bring that focus into New Jersey in a more meaningful way. That's right and so we provide a wide range of services for our professional non-profit producing theaters. Such as? We provide them a lot of marketing support, audience development, we want to make sure that people are filling those seats. That they know there is really something there for everybody in our theaters in New Jersey. We'll provide them with a lot of technical assistance so that they have the tools because they are actually businesses. These are not community theaters where people are just doing it for the love of it, these are actual professionals where they have paid staff, paid actors and we're there to provide them with as many tools as we can and to make sure they have successful businesses. When you take about success and when you talk about these being businesses, you know New Jersey is one actually three best regional theaters, Tony Award winners. Yes. Which I find..."