R.I. theaters look to expand business through ‘alliance’

Posted 3/5/13

PROVIDENCE - In an alliance of the state’s “brightest theaters,” three performance venues plan to exchange their artistic, technical and management resources in an effort to bolster long-term expansion with the creation of the Rhode Island Theater Alliance..

The Mixed Magic Theatre, Contemporary Theater Co. and Epic Theatre Co. will collaborate within the Rhode Island Theater Alliance, or RITA, a partnership deal that looks to facilitate the mutual growth of each company by encouraging technicians, administration and actors to work in the cross-theater network.

Even audiences and marketing will be shared among the network, allowing RITA to offer group rates and discounts that will benefit subscribers and bring more people to the box office.

CTC Artistic Director Christopher J. Simpson told Providence Business News that staff and performers from each the theater will be encouraged to engage in a “change of scenery” by working between venues, providing broader performance schedules that bring shows closer to local audiences while building their skills and experience.

“What I like about this [alliance] is that none of these groups lose their autonomy or identity – we are partnering in an affiliation that will allow us to grow without sacrificing what we do already,” Simpson said.

He added that the development of RITA marks a long-term plan for job growth for each theater company, which share organizational and financial similarities and comparable staffing, he said. “With three local businesses collaborating, the outcome will be greater than the sum of the three parts,” said Simpson.

The Mixed Magic Theatre, the Contemporary, and Epic Theatre launched the RITA Facebook page on Feb. 24, stating that its mission is to “cross-pollinate three burgeoning institutions for the betterment of all.” (link)

Simpson declined to comment on plans to expand the RITA to include other local theater companies, saying that future expansion depended on how the alliance developed in the long term.

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