Are you about to graduate from UCLA, or Julliard, Tisch (shout out to my alma mater, NYU), or Yale? You have no clue where your theater degree will take you… let it take you to a swing state. Regional theaters in this country are thriving and they are the cultural center of some great communities in swing states.
I was listening to 1A on NPR this week and I heard a great discussion with Kate Shindle. You can listen to it here. An actress, activist, and former Miss America, she is also the President of the Actors Equity Association, a labor union that represents actors and stage managers working in theaters across the U.S. Reflecting upon the importance of funding for the arts, Shindle said that Pittsburgh “made the arts a centerpiece of their economy,” and that other cities like Durham, Las Vegas, and Cleveland have done the same with major art initiatives in their communities. Shindle goes on to explain that in “industry towns” like Pittsburgh, “the arts are a driver of middle class jobs.” That is Big! Middle class jobs are exactly what we need in America’s cities. Read about middle class jobs in cities here.
As long as the President’s National Endowment for the Arts funding cuts don’t come to pass, these theaters will continue to be a great option for artists, set designers, make-up artists, actors, stage crew, administrative workers, ushers, ticket tellers, parking attendants, choreographers, dancers, the list could go on… (there are actually 56 different types of jobs provided by a theater listed here.)
Where to start…. Along with the ones Shindle mentioned above, these theaters in swing states were featured in this list of the best regional theaters in the U.S….. Find a theater below, and theater geek out in a swing state!
Carolina Theatre Durham, North Carolina
Cleveland Play House Cleveland, Ohio
Alliance Theatre Atlanta, Georgia
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Cincinnati, Ohio
Denver Performing Arts Complex Denver, Colorado
Blackfriars Playhouse Staunton, Virginia
Smith Center for the Performing Arts Las Vegas, Nevada
Walnut Street Theatre Philadelphia, Pennsylvania