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While I applaud the efforts of Ms. Swedeen and Ms. Morgan to bring more art to the Knoxville area, I have to question whether this is a venture ready for support that could be going to so many other proven area arts organizations that struggle to stay afloat.
This is not to say they may not be capable artists, but shouldn't an arts organization establish some sort of reasonable audience following or a track record of success before asking for hand-outs?
Who is Flying Anvil? And what have they accomplished to garner such gifts?
What qualifications do Morgan, a local character actress, and Swedeen, an unknown playright, have for producing theatre? The whole idea smacks of a vanity project.
The first rule of producing anything is know your audience. So, Flying Anvil might first want to consider that there isn't as much call in Knoxville for "edgier Off-Broadway style" theater as they may think. There is that audience, but it's very limited.
Occasionally you will find an edgy show at stalwart Clarence Brown Theatre or little- engine-that-could Oak Ridge Playhouse. Even with very strong followings, both of these companies experience sharp drop-off in attendance for the style of show Flying Anvil wants to make their mainstay.
True, Flying Anvil would fill a niche. A niche that used to be filled by a group called Actor's Co-op.
The Co-op leaders were at least smart enough to build an audience base before moving into their own space. But ten years or so later, where are they now? Defunct.
And lest we forget, Actor's Co-op's most popular, best attended shows were always their delightful non-edgy cabaret shows.
Ms. Zenni, from her comments, seems to be smart and knowledgeable. Flying Anvil would be wise to seek her advice before biting off too much before they are ready.
Good theatre is not enough to sustain Flying Anvil. Good business practice is required, as well. Say they raise the 90K the landlord wants by September. What do they use then to operate? Earned income? From edgy shows? Not likely.
And Morgan herself admits in the article that if enough funds are not made, they will use whatever is donated to fund a production?
Another rule: You use contribution money for what it was given. Or give it back.
I hope the best for Flying Anvil, because I think there needs to me more arts of any kind in East Tennessee.
But, I see all sorts of red flags in getting behind them just yet.