Porter operates on several core principles.
Respect the past without being tied to it. Embrace the ritual without worship.
We want to build the future: the next generation of incredible artists, the next wave of scintillating art.
Ask the big questions.
Theatre often seems to have its sights too small.
Not "how can we get people to com see this boring show" but "how can we bring this essential piece of art to as many people as possible.
Not "how do we be slightly more diverse" but "how do we topple the industry's pervasive white supremacy"
Think big. Think abundance. Take risks.
Each season, Porter programs a set of thematic stories that leap across mediums. We believe this is the future of content.
Most theatre is:
Theatre should be neither of these things. We are committed to making theatre as affordable and accessible as possible. If this means taking on new business and pricing models for theatre, we embrace it.
Porter is committed to being a mobile theatre company for the 21st century.
What does that mean? Two things:
Theatre's greatest challenge is its scarcity. It exists in one place at one time. This often also means it's expensive.
Porter aims to circumvent this by putting work online, and by embracing tours as an essential part of our work. (Just like a band releases an album digitally, and then tours it around.)
The term "colorblind casting" implies whiteness as the default. Instead, we aim to make diversity and inclusion the default.
Porter works to undo the chains of white supremacy. It’s as simple as that.
Our staff and artists reflect the diversity of our country. This should be a given — and yet it's the #1 thing most theaters fail at.
We also make a special effort to produce work by non-male writers and directors. To topple the patriarchal power structure that has for too long infested this industry.
And finally, in the same vein, everyone is welcome and included here, who does not practice hate.
We pair all our employees a living wage. We believe in paying artists for their work.
We want audiences to be engaged in the process.
We're experimenting with crowdsourcing individual shows in a workshop stage, similar to how a clothing brand like Taylor Stitch crowd sources individual items.
We're also experimenting with platforms like patreon or even reddit, to have a place to discuss work and for patrons to be more involved with the process.
Have a comment, a pitch, an idea? Want to work for us? Let's talk. Shoot us an email.
There are only three. Most of this is written for theatre. This is the main thrust of what we do. However, the same principles apply across mediums to the film and podcasts we produce.
We start with a simple rule: it can’t be boring.
Theatre must prove itself, every night. In a world where great TV is as ubiquitous as it is, why go to the theatre at all? Why not stay home and watch something that is more entertaining than 95% of what we see at the theater? Why bother partaking in some ancient cathartic ritual? Because great theatre offers an experience that is unique to its form. It is exhilarating and brutal and breathtaking and magical and communal. It is where we go to experience our collective unconscious lived out, where we see the mythos of our inner worlds laid bare, where we experience a catharsis unlike anything else.
When we are boring, we are doing a disservice to the ritual. "Conservative" theatre, then, is actually far more detrimental to the future of theatre than "risky" theatre.
Unfortunately, a lot of theatre fails the simple "is it not boring" test.
At Porter, we are committed to making theatre not just a pale imitation of something you could better experience by watching a movie or TV show, but an experience unto itself. It must prove itself and be exciting and unique and leave you feeling jazzed and alive.
This is also true for the films and podcasts we produce -- they must be uniquely suited for their form.
But whatever it is, it cannot be boring.
Of course, some people use risky to mean a type of opaque experimental theatre that is as boring as bigger, more "conservative" boring stuff. We must always strive for clarity.
A good example is some of the great TV shows of the last 20 years. When you look at what made The Wire, The Sopranos, or even The Leftovers so great - it was their penchant for taking risks, but also their penchant for clarity. They didn’t sacrifice one for the other. They followed Hamlet's advice to "be not too tame neither but let your own discretion be your tutor."
We let theatre off the hook too much.
We say it's important, but then a lot of it is boring or offensive or just dumb. A lot of theatre does not fully exploit what theatre does uniquely well.
Theatre is the great medium of now, and should be treated as such. Not as a weird, worse replacement for a movie.
We talk about having “space to fail” in theatre, but you can’t help but wonder if this is just an excuse. Most theatre lacks the effort and clarity and rigor necessary to make it great.
Now, space to fail is important. But always ask: are we just using that as an excuse?