www.TheatreSantaFe.com, a new website for theater events
Santa Fe is known the world over for its visual arts offerings, and locals and tourists alike flock to the city’s bars for musical entertainment on the weekends, as well as to larger venues like the Santa Fe Opera and the Lensic Performing Arts Center. But the Santa Fe theater scene is less well-known for a variety of reasons, including the precarious financial nature of the theater business, which causes groups to come and go, and some degree of infighting and competition among local theater groups, which in the past has caused them to function more as silos than as a cohesive community. “Up to now it’s been like herding stray cats,” said Argos MacCallum, executive director of Teatro Paraguas. He was a member of the Santa Fe Playhouse board of directors for almost a decade.
With the launch of www.theatresantafe.com, a website for all theaters and theater groups in town, the disarray is being addressed. Now potential audience members and those interested in getting involved in local theater can find all the information they need in one place. The site was built with funds from a $20,000 grant from the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission ($5,000 of which was spent on print advertising for the site launch) under the auspices of the Collaborative Arts Marketing Pilot Program. According to an April news release from the Arts Commission, the pilot program was established to “gauge the potential for developing citywide multi-partner arts events.”
The Theatre Santa Fe Committee, comprising representatives from a variety of local groups, contracted with Xynergy, a web design and online-marketing company based in town and in Albuquerque, for graphic design and programming. Xynergy also shaped the Theatre Santa Fe brand, a process that included making the decision to spell “theatre” in the British style, with the “r” before the “e,” because research showed that when seeking out performing arts events, more people search online for “theatre” than “theater.” The site went live on July 1 with 12 member theaters, including Ironweed Productions, Teatro Paraguas, Santa Fe Playhouse, Theater Grottesco, and Theaterwork. Members pay a $99 annual fee. Nonmember theaters can list events for free, and there are also sections where local actors, directors, technical artists, and volunteers can pay a small fee to be listed. All fees support ongoing maintenance of the site. “We hope this raises the visibility of theater for locals and tourists, makes it easier to find out what’s going on,” MacCallum said. “A common website that lists everything will show that there is a scope to what’s being done here, and that there is serious work being done here.”
Jennie Lewis, manager of the Santa Fe Playhouse, was selected by the Theater Santa Fe Committee to maintain the website. She clarified for Pasatiempo that though the site is currently being coordinated financially through the Playhouse, the goal is for it to represent everyone, with no one theater or type of theater taking the lead. As for her duties, she’s currently negotiating with the committee over whether or not site management is a paid or volunteer position, a topic about which she’s ambivalent. “It would be nice to be paid for my work, but I’ve been working in the Santa Fe theater community for 18 years, and I believe in this new step,” she said. “So I’d also do it for free.”
For information about becoming a member or listing your events on www.theatresantafe.com, email email@example.com. — J.L.