TEDx Broadway Young Professionals Program
I recently took part in a round table discussion through the YP program offered by TEDxBroadway. I was accepted in December to take part in the program, to contribute to progressive conversations in the industry. For this discussion, specifically, we were asked to come up with headlines based on a question. Our question: How do we make Broadway better? It took some thought, as Broadway has always reflected the best of what theatre can be in my opinion. As time passes and I get older, I am better able to see past the marquee lights and see the potential of change in our industry. Technology and accessibility quickly dominated discussion. How do we keep up with 'the times' while also maintaining the novelty of the theatrical craft? What can we use that exists in other industries to make Broadway accessible to those overseas, to those who can't afford the ticket, to those who can't make the trip... Many seemed to be enthralled with the idea of theatrical virtual realty, but with my educational background, I had trouble dwelling from any idea that didn't involve better accommodations for those who are hearing impaired, seeing impaired, or those with sensory sensitivity. As regional theatres make leaps toward reserving at least one performance per production accessible to these demographics, Broadway still lags behind. A student with sensory sensitivity will never have the opportunity to see some of the wonderful up-and-coming Broadway shows like SpongeBob, for instance. Why is this? What keeps the business from thinking beyond its traditional audience? Through further discussion, it became evident that even Off-Broadway shows lean in this direction, though they are just next door. I believe Broadway should lead the way for better and more inclusive art, being that it is the icon of most theatre professionals. The discussion landed as such: in 20 years, maybe the industry will take a different path in accessibility, in flexibility, and in technology. However, today remains today. As more and more industries utilize technology, Broadway may soon fall behind.