Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Not Exactly a Vacation Brain Storm, But Close

From Michael Nelson

I would love to see a big theater, or theater + film, festival here in Middletown. When we lived on the West Coast, we loved going to Ashland's Oregon Shakespeare Festival or Cedar City's Utah Shakespeare Festival (links below). Both take place in small towns with universities willing to help host these events. Both have won Tony Awards. I can only imagine that they bring a lot of positive things to both the communities and the universities. I haven't seen anything quite like them out here yet.




Karen Swartz said...

The Russell Library on Broad Street has a couple of Film Series coming up. This might not be exactly the type if big festival you mean but its something, and I would imagine that a festival or larger event such as you describe evolves from a small start and a growing audience and interest from the community.
The Children's International Film Festival is Friday afternoons from July 31 through August. I also heard something about a film series there in the fall but I am unable to find that information.

Children’s international Film Festival - July 31 - Kirikou and the Sorceress - An animated film that is a thrilling blend of many African folk tales, with a
little hero as brave as Tom Thumb but a lot more compassionate. For ages

Friday August 7, 2009
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Hubbard Room
Children of Heaven
To give kids a taste of the wonderful stories children tell and are told all over the world, Russell Library’s Juvenile Department proudly presents three programs of classic movies. From Iran comes Children of Heaven, directed by the acclaimed Majid Majidi, about a brother and sister who have to share one pair of shoes in a comic mishap that turns into an adventure.

Children of Heaven (in Farsi with subtitles, 88 minutes)

( I am curious how a movie in Farsi with subtitles might go over with kids , but hey I guess there must be some real smarties here in Middletown. Or maybe its a very visual film ?? )

+ more films Fridays in August - listed in the Russell Library calendar.

Michael Nelson said...

Thanks for posting my comment on the site. I'm glad there was some interest.

It definitely seems like there are a lot of things already happening in the broader community (Russell Library, Wesleyan's CFA productions, ArtFarm) that could be tapped into if someone or some entity wanted to make something much bigger.

If you peruse their websites, you'll see that the events in Utah and Oregon are quite big deals. Both offer very professional productions with multiple performances each day. The Utah summer season features six productions this summer and overlapping with early fall; in Oregon, there are 11. Not all of them are Shakespeare.

In Utah, the small local university actually is able to rent out dorm rooms to tourists and raise money that way. They've built their own version of the Old Globe Theatre for productions. Utah's festival attracts roughly 150,000 people each year.

Oregon's festival attracted just over 400,000 people last year. Their online fact sheet estimates their costs were $24,000,000 last year and that they generated a positive economic impact of $168,000,000 on the region.

Those seem like great numbers for their local economies!

Obviously, this is the kind of thing one would have to build over time.

Topher Polack said...

Big productions need to be grown through community and collaboration. Afilm and/or theater festival can be done. Look at last year's eco-festival and other grass roots events.

Big events are great, but in order to thrive and survive, the event needs to be organically developed

And you don't need to be an performer to help organize an event!

Best of luck!