Artistic Entrepreneurship: Creating and Producing Live Performance

This course looks at creative and producing strategies for emerging artists in dance and theater. Combining developmental workshop sessions on students’ original performance works in-progress with practical skills for getting your work funded, produced and seen in the professional world, students are asked to think of the two sides of their artistic lives as part of a whole, rather than aspects of a split personality. Students are welcome to bring in projects in-progress that you’ve already started, or begin something new. The goal is to learn ways to scaffold the wildness of creative inquiry with sound support strategies. We’ll look at hard data on the economy of the arts, case studies of artists who create work both within and outside normative models, and students will learn to use each other for support and stability.

Questions to explore: Once you’re in the real world, how can you best support the way you want to work? How do systemic biases that impact the professional lives and work of women, LGBTQ artists, and artists of color play out in the field, and what can we do to change these biases? Should you form a non-profit, or work independently?

In addition to his work as a playwright and actor, Landsman has taught artists’ professional skills across the US and internationally, through the Creative Capital Foundation, since 2003, and was the grants manager for the acclaimed ensemble Elevator Repair Service, helping to grow the company’s budget more than six-fold, negotiating tour contracts, and doing long-term planning and budgeting for the group.

Sample reading list:

Richard Maxwell, Theater for Beginners, (Exceprts)
Paul Bonin-Rodriguez, Performing Policy (Excerpts)
Quillen Camp and Kroeber, Eds, After The Show (Theater Magazine, Fall 2014)
Andrew Simonet, Making Your Life As An Artist, (Self-published)
Aaron Landsman, Concurrencies, (Essay in TCG Books, 2015)
Felda Hardymon & Ann Leamon, Creative Capital: Sustaining the Arts (Harvard Study 2010)
Roberto Bedoya, US Cultural Policy: Its Politics Of Participation, Its Creative Potential (National Performance Network White Paper 2004)
Linda Essig, Means and Ends: A Theory Framework for Understanding Entrepreneurship in the US Arts and Culture Sector (The Journal Of Arts Management, Law and Society)

See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:

Grant proposal for your own work (1500-2000 words)
Creative process probe (2000-2500 words)
Production budget for a dance or theater presentation (1 page)
Research paper on an artist/company’s producing strategy (1500-2000 words)
Final performance of theatrical or other performance work-in-progress



C01 - Aaron Landsman

Thursdays 1:30 - 4:20 pm


Aaron Landsman