Posts Tagged ‘John Dunivant’

By: Amy Cooper, Detroit Ginger


There becomes a dilemma in every artist’s life that comes down to this: do it for the money, or do it for the art. Well, from what we’re reading today in MetroTimes, the “art” might falter to the end of Theatre Bizarre

Photo: Amy Cooper, 2014 DIY Ferndale

Photo: Amy Cooper, 2014 DIY Ferndale

According to the release in MetroTimesJohn Dunivant said that financially, Theatre Bizzare is a giant money sucking hole. “Essentially it’s putting me in debt every year,” Dunivant told MT

To which, many will argue how expensive the ticket prices have become, but it’s not enough to sustain all the cost that there is to put on the event. 

MetroTimes paints the picture that TB is completely self sustaining, sharing Dunivant’s feelings on continuing the show. “If it could become sustainable, I would want it to go on forever,” Dunivant told MT. “The opportunity to build something this size and to bring this world to life is amazing. But it’s going to kill us.”

With ticket prices at $85 a pop, and a sold out show every year for quite some time, the cost to build/transport versus cost for the show is something of a question of if the show breaks even. What comes as an interesting twist in this story is The Knight Foundation‘s donation to the project. 

The Knight Foundation Grants Page (Screenshot)

The Knight Foundation Grants Page (Screenshot)

The Knight Foundation has a vast hand in fusion of the arts in the community, and with a lot of other projects like Literary Detroit and Detroit’s Plan of Adjustment. Otherwise, they are well invested in Detroit. Between the grant period of 9/7/2013 to 9/17/2015, Theatre Bizarre was awarded $100,000 in the Knight Arts Challenge initiative. So we wonder how much TB costs to put on per year, on top of what they rake in for ticket sales, and how much of that goes back into the production for the following year.

Still, these statements in MetroTimes cause us to think – how many Theatre Bizzare‘s do we have left? Will Dunivant continue? And more importantly, from this point, would Dunivant and company finally bow to the idea of a sponsor, and what would that mean for the troupe of actors/actresses/barkers and otherwise, and would it change the way the show is put on?

We’ve seen it in recent years the changes that are made to large shows and how the schematic changes. As you can recall, DEMF (Movement Electronic Music Festival, for those youngins) used to be free until Paxahau‘s involvement. It has become a financial swell of sponsorship and say-so’s from corporate surprise, which also drives ticket sales upward in cost. 

This did certainly boot “financially strapped people,” (or as some people call it “the riff raff” out) but simultaneously brought more established acts to the scene. So this raises the question with something like Theatre Bizzare

One can only wait and see what changes are made, and if the show will continue to, as they say, “go on.”

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