C.S.A. shares are no longer reserved for locavores alone. The Bricks Theatre has announced the availability of Community Supported Arts "shares" for its 2010-2011 season. Instead of the weekly boxful of fresh produce that comes with the more familiar community-supported agriculture subscription, the bounty here is theatrical.
For $150, subscribers to one full Bricks community-supported arts "share" receive an eight-ticket pass to the four plays being staged during the Bricks' 2010-2011 season: September's production of Sam Shepard's True West, a holiday production of David Sedaris' The Santaland Diaries, a February production of Neal LaBute's The Mercy Seat and an April production of Kyle Jarrow's musical Gorilla Man. But wait, there's more: free admission to "two Bricks special events or non-featured performance" and a subscription to the "shareholder" e-newsletter.
Half-shares, at $75, include a four-ticket pass to the four featured plays, free admission to one of the aforementioned special events or non-featured performances, and the e-newsletter.
And then there's the $250 Premium Share, which comes with all the bounty of a full share plus the opportunity to help select the final production of the 2011-2012 season, from a pool of 10 plays chosen by Bricks producers.
Some "shares" -- and portions thereof -- can be worked off at the rate of $25 per every four hours of labor contributed to Bricks Theatre, while the supply of work opportunities lasts.
George Gonzalez, the company's producing director, attributes the inspiration for community-supported arts "shares" to Bricks executive director Dave Pausch, though Gonzalez -- a veteran of Mercury Players and Madison Repertory Theatre -- adds that the concept has been introduced elsewhere across the country.
In a sluggish economy, Gonzalez says, a nascent theater company like the Bricks is obliged to strategize. Beyond generating start-up capital, he explains, "Our goal is to make the theater experience more interactive."
This includes inviting its community-supported arts backers to parties, script read-throughs by cast members early in the rehearsal process, tours and other special opportunities throughout the season.
"We like to involve people," he explains. "We like feedback."