Monday, January 31, 2011

Who Are You?

Photo from
So I've been lucky enough to be working with a great theater company based in Brooklyn that's embarking on a huge challenge: becoming an organization.

For those of you who have started companies or businesses you know that involves a lot of paperwork, a lot of record-keeping, too much time, and some serious energy.  However, it's also a pretty exciting process that enables you to establish something that can stand the test of time and have an impact larger than your own.  One of the toughest elements of "going official" is establishing organizational culture.

We've all heard about the Google offices with their kegeraters, slides, and multicolored cubicles (all heresay, I have no credibility here), but what is organizational culture really, and why does it matter?

Organizational culture is a set of values and norms that establish how you carry out business on a day to day basis.  For nonprofits, it's often influenced by the mission and vision.  For theater companies, this means the kind of work you do should be reflected in the way you run your organization. 

For example, if your company is producing classical opera on a grand scale with a mission of fulfilling the original visions of the composer, you will probably adopt more formal and traditional business practices.  In an effective organization events must appeal to the audience that your art appeals to, in order to create a sense of continuity and cohesion.

So where do you start in building your organizational culture?  Look at the art you are making and the artists you work with.  Sit down and establish your core values, things that are most important to your company, and from them build a mission statement: a statement of purpose.  Why do you exist and what are you trying to accomplish with your work?  Integrate best business practices into the "feel" of your organization by adjusting them to work for you.  Don't jump on every trend that runs by marketing and fundraising, but be choosy.  Take the things that fit into your culture and leave the things that don't. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tweeting in Rhyme

Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts is presenting Seussical this month, so what are they doing to promote the show?  Rhyming of course!  Here's a few:

@BrklynCtr If you rhyme when you tweet, if you're tweeting in rhyme, Then you're certain to have a most Seussical time!

@BrklynCtr To rhymingly waste the rest of your day, head to this site without delay!  Seussical on Jan 30 at Brooklyn Center.

@BrklynCtr On Jan 30, have a Dr. Seuss day. Green Eggs & Ham for b'fast (  and then Seussical the play!

You can get more rhyming goodness @BrklynCtr on twitter :)

Is it cheesy? Absolutely.  Does it work? Totally.

One thing that I regret about a number of theater companies twitter accounts is that they don't take advantage of the voice of the organization, nor the feel of each show they present or produce.  There are ample opportunities for theaters to juice up their twitter presence with show appropriate material.  Another great example of this, Bridgeport Theatre Company's cast of RENT took turns tweeting in character:


@BportTheatreCo Anyone know a good place from which to buy a digital delay line? Maureen's is pretty unreliable.

@BportTheatreCo can't wait for the next Life Support meeting, then I Gotta sell some more T-shirts on the LES so i can pay my RENT

Granted, this doesn't work for EVERY show, and it's not appropriate for EVERY company, but it's important to get creative with your social media, and these guys sure are keeping me entertained!