Magazine article American Theatre

Trends &Amp; events.(Brief Article)(Statistical Data Included)

Magazine article American Theatre

Trends &Amp; events.(Brief Article)(Statistical Data Included)

Article excerpt

Portland, Ore.: "When you put live performance on video, you have no idea where it will end up," marvels Gary Cole, president of StageDirect, a nine-month-old company that films fringe and alternative theatre productions for distribution on video. Though the enterprise has only released six tapes to date, it has already demonstrated an international reach: Its video Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, by Chicago's NeoFuturists, caught the eye of impresarios in Iceland, prompting negotiations for a production in Icelandic. A former CIA lawyer who abandoned his legal career in order to launch the video company, Cole says that with the August release of David Schmader's solo show Straight, StageDirect has attained the "critical mass of inventory" needed to be taken seriously by distributors in America's home entertainment and educational markets. Straight is also the first of StageDirect's offerings to be available on DVD. "We're absolutely convinced that some of the best entertainment anywhere is takin g place on small stages," proclaims Cole, "because that's where people are prepared to take risks."

Nationwide: While Americans' overall charitable giving--once adjusted for inflation--was down slightly for 2001, giving to the arts, culture and humanities was up, belying bleak post-9/11 predictions. …

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