How Theater Can Save The Malls . . . of America.
I spent my teenage years either at the mall, going to the mall, or coming from the mall. Give me an Orange Julius, a Chess King, and a Spencer Gifts and I might as well have been at Disney World.
Now? Shoot, my 10-Month-old daughter probably won’t even know what a Mall is unless she watches a future Netflix documentary when she’s 15 called, “What the @#$% happened to the Malls?”
Because they are going out of business. And fast.
Here’s just one of the tons of articles about the “death of the Mall” and how these giant monstrosities are becoming the drive-in movies of our time. Just last week, Mall staple Payless shoes announced they were closing all their US stores, another victim to the online retail movement.
All that empty real estate gave me an idea, which honestly I just stole from the successful Storefront Theater movement in Chicago.
That’s right . . . you see where I’m going with this, don’t you?
See, shopping for stuff in stores is out.
Live entertainment is in.
If I were a Mall with a bunch of empty storefronts, I’d invite new emerging organizations in . . . and start a Mall Theater Movement.
Imagine a former Payless that housed a children’s theater company. Or an ex-Sharper Image store turned into a home for a Shakespeare troupe company. Or heck, a pop-up haunted house around Halloween, Rudolph at Christmas, or even a “Little Shop of Horrors” in the former pet store.
So many of these Mall storefronts are empty and tons of artists need space for their shows, so why not?
There are probably even some tax savings for the Mall Cos. just for cutting non-profits good deals on rent, never mind all the goodwill these big corps would get.
A Mall Theatre Company is an example of a win-win. You use what people are excited about these days (LIVE! EXPERIENCES!) to infuse energy into the areas where they’re not excited (MALLS!).
I do. So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to email/snail mail this blog to all the big Mall companies out there and hope that something takes root.
BUT there’s probably an even better, faster solution for YOU to get a space for YOUR show at a Mall. Go there yourself. Cut a deal. Make something happen. Be one of our #5000By2025 by taking the Mall into your own hands.
Someone had to be the first theater company in Chicago to move into a storefront. And look at what has happened as a result. An entire movement!
Here’s to you starting a movement of your own.
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Want to know how to promote your show and yourself in this biz? Click here for an action plan on how to do get yourself out there, even if you hate the idea of having to!
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.