Connecting the St. Louis Community through Theater

St. Louis Actors and Performing Artists’ Hour on the EVOKE Stage

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RACSTL
Regional Arts Commission St. Louis

The EVOKE process continues to provide great insights, this time from actors and performing artists, who emphasized the intimacy of theater, and that “humans need to tell stories.”

Live performances provide the environment for performers to learn about themselves, and the characters they create are also present in the audience. This transference breeds empathy and creates a conversation that can bridge divides.

There are many theater companies in St. Louis, small and large, that provide performers with a great variety of performing options. From Shakespeare to Opera to Circus, theater artists are experimenting. There are many job opportunities, and outreach programs abound. A few of the organizations discussed: Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Union Avenue Opera, Gateway Center for Performing Arts.

The Kranzberg Arts Foundation was noted as the driving force of Grand Center and the arts throughout the city. The newly repositioned Circus Flora will offer programming and workshops during the summer to children from the local area and the entire region. Audiences are not indigenous to Grand Center, and travel there for arts and art education.

There are an abundance of needs to continue growing the theater arts in St. Louis. Funding is always central, and the need for revenue from ticket sales is tied to marketing, especially for smaller organizations that cannot afford much of a marketing budget. Also, ticket prices need to be affordable for young audiences and students, yet organizations need the revenue. Truly committed performers spend countless hours on their craft, and need to work at other jobs to support themselves.

As in every artistic profession, it’s tough to make a living. Some of our local corporations bring in talent from Los Angeles or New York to shoot commercials here. It appears that professional actors with a New York or Los Angeles address are more attractive to casting directors here.

If the EVOKE process is a complete success, what do the arts in St. Louis look like in ten years?

More children are exposed to the arts.

The arts are integral to education. Not just STEM but STEAM. A is for Arts!

A thriving audience that attends small theater productions as well as the big names.

An umbrella group for insurance and benefits for arts professions.

Organizations collaborate, or synchronize schedules to minimize competition for audiences.

Coordinate marketing efforts online, to make it easier for audiences to know what is happening.