Dishing About “The Dish”
Welcome to The Off-Off Broadway Community Dish! Never heard of The Dish before? Then let’s fix that.
“The Dish” is a meeting place and forum for the Off-Off/Indie theater community to share ideas and resources. Founded in 2002 by Zachary Mannheimer (then Artistic Director of Subjective Theater), the genesis of The Dish was to bring together community members over a potluck meal with the hope of developing a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose. Zach believed that the independent theatre community needed to get to know one another, so that everyone didn’t feel as though they were isolated in their own battles. His concept was simple and perfect: gather people together with food and wine, then let conversations and networking happen naturally. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, the Dish serves as a model for community building and resource sharing in the Off-Off/Indie world. Zach has moved on, passing the mantle of Dish President onto me in the beginning of 2006, and to Amanda Feldman as Vice President. Our goals are still the same as Zach’s were back at that very first meeting, surrounded by casseroles and wine…to provide communication and unity to as much of the Off-Off/Indie world as possible, with special emphasis on support and sharing. The goal is that there should never be a theatre company that says “I have a problem and I don’t know how to find the answer or who I can ask”. Through the Dish’s efforts, organizations and artists have been able to share information and resources, partake in cross marketing, work on building the Off-Off/Indie audience, vigorously debate and discuss theater and society, support each other’s work, and, most importantly, address the issues facing the community.
What are some of the programs of the Dish, you might ask? The Dish utilizes an online listserv to keep the lines of communication open among its 40 plus member theatres and hundreds of theatre artists across the NYC area. We also host bi-monthly meetings, where people continue to gather as they did at the very first meeting. Often these meetings are co-hosted by the League of Independent Theatres. Each meeting has a general theme, such as “How can a Press Agent help you promote your show?” or “Technical Theatre Downtown” and therefore there will be the occasional guest speaker or presenter. We also have a program called “Final Dress Night”, where Dish companies open their final dress rehearsals to other companies as a way of creating a warm receptive first audience for a show before it opens to the public. This program also hopefully helps companies see each others work and a little advance word of mouth on a good show never hurts either.
In July, we’ll debut our brand new website, with a listing of all the Dish companies and their logos, a clickable calendar to see when productions are running, and mission statements of each organization.
How can you get involved? It’s simple. Drop an email to email@example.com, or join The League of Independent Theatre. It is the Dish’s mandate to be a useful network of support that ALL Off-Off/Indie theatre artists can turn for information, assistance, and inspiration! While there may not be a casserole at every event, we do promise pizza, beer, cookies, and a really wonderful community of your peers. You can also visit us at our new and improved website.