A League of Their Own: Off-Off-Broadway Leaders Form Advocacy Group for "Independent Theater"

News   A League of Their Own: Off-Off-Broadway Leaders Form Advocacy Group for "Independent Theater"
With the thought that in numbers there is strength, a group of New York City independent theatre artists and producers announced the creation of The League of Independent Theater, Inc. (LIT), a membership-based advocacy group and business league representing the Off-Off-Broadway community.

Like The Broadway League and the League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers, LIT has a website, www.litny.org, and is seeking to raise the profile of New York City "independent theatre," which is a term some troupers prefer in lieu of "Off-Off-Broadway."

The first membership meeting is Dec. 7 at 11 AM at Barrow Street Theater, 27 Barrow Street, in Greenwich Village.

The mission of LIT "is to promote the economic and artistic interests of its members, ensuring that independent theatre remains economically viable for its practitioners," according to a Nov. 24 statement. "The organization will advocate on behalf of the decades-old tradition of Off-Off Broadway theatre."

Membership in LIT is open "to any artist, company or technician working in theatres of 99 seats or less in New York City who can demonstrate participation in a minimum of three productions. Theatre service organizations serving Off-Off Broadway are encouraged to apply."

LIT executive director John Clancy, an acclaimed director and Off-Off Broadway veteran who co-founded the New York International Fringe Festival, stated, "I haven't been as enthused and optimistic about an organization since the early days of the Fringe. Our members are entrepreneurs, business-savvy, and wildly creative. Our job is simply to harness that remarkable energy and effect real change in our territory." LIT's stated priorities include:

  • Achieving substantive, meaningful changes to the Actors' Equity Showcase Code to respond to the needs of the independent theatre community.
  • Advocating for the establishment and preservation of Off-Off Broadway venues and rehearsal spaces, including lobbying for arts-friendly amendments to the building and tax codes and developing industry-enhancing relationships with real estate developers and interests.
  • Increasing funding from grant-giving organizations as well as supporting the campaigns of public officials who actively promote the independent theatre community. LIT is organized to qualify as a 501(c)(6) business league in order to engage in advocacy and lobbying for its members, without the lobbying limits applicable to 501(c)(3) organizations.

    LIT's leadership includes executive director John Clancy (executive artistic director Clancy Productions); board members Paul Bargetto (director, East River Commedia), Martin Denton (executive director, The New York Theatre Experience, Inc.), Shay Gines (executive director, The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation), Michael Goldfried (director), Robert Honeywell (co-artistic director of Brick Theater), Leonard Jacobs (theatre critic, New York Press), Abby Marcus (managing director, Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company), John Pinckard (producer), Moira Stone (actor) and Erez Ziv (co-founder/managing director, Horse Trade Theater Group).

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