Not that this is a bad thing – I think it’s a good way of helping them restore donors’ and patrons’ faith – but it looks like the Intiman is going full-on post-modern and stealing an idea from Kickstarter. Instead of taking donations up front,

Our new plan protects donors: we will not spend money we don’t have. We are seeking pledges, but will not call on those pledges unless we meet our financial goal for the 2012 festival. This is a risk-free investment. If we make our one million dollar goal, Intiman will return, our 2011 subscribers will receive complimentary tickets to this 2012 summer festival, and other tickets will be sold at a very affordable price. If we don’t raise the operating funds needed, we’ll celebrate 40 years of quality theatre and close the doors for good.

This is an interesting proposal because, yes, it ensures they have money or donors/investors lose nothing (unlike when the 2011 season ended suddenly); but also because very, very few Seattleites, including myself and apparently their board, have faith in the theatre right now. I mean, they came out and publicly said in their last announcement that they’d only raised $200,000 out of $1 million necessary just for the theatre festival. And the theatre festival itself is as close to risk-free as produced and staged theatre can get: a handful of short shows creating a “festival” rather than actually producing a full season.

I think the financial step is good, because thus far Intiman hasn’t shown me, personally, a lot of reason to invest in them. And I’m still not planning to. In a time where the public demands big, bold steps in politics, the Intiman is back to crawling. And they’re trying to kowtow to the public’s current mindset by saying, “Hey, we’re not making a bold move by demanding investment fully in local actors or expanding into a Broadway thoroughfare, but we’ll mix and match what we think might work and throw a tidbit up onstage for you in about 7 months, oh and by the way you can throw a small amount of money at that right now and it’s risk-free because we hear the kids these days like this Kickstarter thing.”

We’ve paused to listen and plan responsibly for Intiman’s future. We’ve listened, and we heard. We heard that we needed to dial it back, do it smarter. We heard be local. Be responsible. Be honest and transparent. Honor your subscribers who were let down by cancellation of the 2011 season. Continue to be excellent artistically. Take artistic risks, but mind the business risks.

We know you care as deeply about this theatre and our arts community as we do. That’s why we’re still fighting. We want to see you come back to Intiman. We want to continue to engage and entertain you with vibrant theatre for another 40 years.

Although it sounds dramatic, it’s true: we only have until January 31 to raise these funds. We are actively fundraising towards our one million dollar goal, and must have pledges in by end of January in order to start entering contracts for our season. So, as they say, it’s now or never!

Bold language framing a move that is, well, beige at best. But ok, we’ll see who bites. As you can all tell, I’m interested in the continuing developments.

Oh and by the way, I’ve asked my boyfriend to donate to Theatre Puget Sound this holiday season. He and I have decided that, rather than spend tons of money on gifts that people will barely enjoy, we’ll donate in the name of charity for everyone on our Christmas/Hannukah lists. And that was what I asked for, because I do love and support and take part in local theatre, and I want it to thrive, and Theatre Puget Sound is part of how that happens. Also, there’s lots of great theatres in this town that genuinely need your help to continue their already bold seasons and brilliant productions, and you can find them through Seattle

If you really want to support local artists, go see a small, locally-written, -produced, and -acted show; donate to small theatres; buy subscriptions; or even volunteer. The Intiman isn’t, thus far, offering anything new or vital, which is why I personally am not supporting them. They have mainly been important to the Seattle theatre landscape because they had a staff, and paid their cast and crew a living wage, and it’s important to make that a priority with all good theatres, not just the Intiman. It is important that, in the event that the Intiman does crash and burn early next year, we have theatres that can replace them in the landscape, rather than deepening the divide between massive theatres (like the new Historic Theatre District group) and the small theatres that want so badly to do right by you, the audience, because they can still see you.

But in the meantime, check in later for more highly opinionated updates about Intiman.

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