Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Latest Dream

I had a dream last night. A glorious dream. I bought an abandoned Wal-Mart building back in my hometown and made it into a theatre. I don't know where this came from, but I also don't know why I've never thought of it before. I regularly see old warehouses and abandoned factories and think, "Wow, that would make an amazing theatre!" This one just came out of nowhere, but it makes perfect sense.

I've spent most of the day thinking about how perfectly everything works out. There's ample parking. The building is huge, and there's already a loading dock in the back. There would be plenty of space for a generously-sized stage/wings/backstage area/dressing rooms/offices. Concessions up front where the little McDonald's used to be. The area between the sets of automatic doors could be the box office, and the long area opposite that (where they kept the carts) could be coat check. Wall-in the garden center and make it into a scenic/electrics shop. There's some grassy space in the back where I would totally build a deck for a break area/employee picnics. I don't know how high the ceiling is, but I would imagine I could fit at least a bit of fly space.

I don't know if I would want to mount productions, or just bring in tours/concerts/rentals. I feel like in that area, tours and concerts would make out better. There also isn't as much turnaround time between shows, because you don't need rehearsal/build time. Plus, I feel like large-scale tours and popular artists would bring in people from farther away. So let's go with the thought that it's a road house. Then between tours, locals could rent the space for meetings, ceremonies, commuinty theatre, etc.

I would need all of the latest and best technical equipment, of course. Light/projection booth in the back of the house. Sound booth in the house. A full lighting/sound inventory in case of tours that don't come with their own equipment and need the plot hung before they get there....

I would be creating a lot of jobs for the area. I would need someone to do the books, PM/TD, ATD, techs, box office staff, house manager(s), ushers, security(?), company manager, marketing/development/outreach.... I could cooperate with other local businesses to come up with mutually beneficial agreements. Like... if I got a liquor license, team up with Fero and/or Shade Mountain wineries and some local microbreweries. Stock the concessions stand through Weis/Extrava/Purity/Ard's/Pardoe's/local baker friends/etc. Discount programs for local schools when I have children's shows. (My mom's school district gets a super special discount, of course!) Offer tours/workshops for local students interested in professional theatre. Maybe internships for high school and college students?

I don't actually know what my role would be.... I would want to do the scheduling/programming. Make HR-type decisions. Deal with contractors. I guess General Manager or CEO... or something...? My title will be "I Do Whatever The Hell I Want. Deal With It." That sounds about right.

So, yeah, I've been thinking about it a little. Just a little. I wanted to get my thoughts down somewhere, and this seemed like an acceptable forum. Feel free to ignore my rantings, but I think it's a good idea! Maybe I'll actually read one of the many books I have on running theatres/businesses...!


  1. Great idea! I could even retire and come work for you :-) Now where can we get the $$$$$ backing???

  2. Do it! You might want to read some books on how to get grants too, though. :-P


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