On the panel were Greta Barrett Holby, founder of Ardea Arts and the Family Opera Initiative, Melba LaRose (New York Artists Unlimited), Rich Orloff (Foolish Theatre Company), Mike Roderick (Small Pond Entertainment), Patricia Klausner (Shotgun Productions), and John Cooper (Turtle Shell Productions.) Ost began the evening by asking the panelists why they started their companies.
Klausner is currently the Artistic Director of Shotgun Productions, which was founded in 1989 by two actress-directors.
It achieved nonprofit status in 1994.
existed to support women artists.
"We had to alter our mission statement," Klausner
said, "because we were producing a lot of plays by men.
Then, one founder left "because," Klausner
had too many children" and, more recently, "the other left because she
wasn't getting many acting or directing opportunities.
At that point, Klausner
took charge and turned Shotgun
"This was a golden opportunity to remake the company," Klausner
leadership, they are developing plays by women, including Bandit Sisters, a timely play about women in the military.
also involved Shotgun
in a Global Arts Initiative, to bring arts education to disadvantaged children internationally.
herself will go abroad with that project to create theater with orphaned children in Nairobi.
"I don't mean to be a bitch," Klausner
told these auditors, "but have you ever thought of getting together and just founding one company?
advises, it sometimes becomes necessary for founders to allow the company to evolve without them.
"You need to transfer your attention from personal loyalty to mission loyalty.
Some of the most famous theater companies have existed for fifty, seventy-five, or hundred years or more, from the Comedie-Francaise to the Irish Abbey Theatre, to Moscow Art Theater.
If a company is to last longer than a single person's career lifetime, it must be able to survive without its founder at the helm, and for reasons greater than its founder's personal ambition.
"Founders leave," Klausner