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Quoted: Vincent O'Neill on keeping a theater company afloat

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Irish Classical Theatre Company co-founder Vincent O'Neill gives a reading in 2004. Photo by Robert Kirkham / The Buffalo News

Earlier this afternoon I had a chat with Irish Classical Theatre Company co-founder and artistic director Vincent O'Neill for an upcoming column about the theater's tight-knit group of volunteers and board members. During our conversation, O'Neill talked about the need for theater companies such as his constantly reinvent themselves and to produce new ideas for fundraising, artistic collaboration and other necessary survival strategies.

It's tempting to think of companies like ICTC, which have been around for decades, as able to coast on the reputation and goodwill they've built up through hundreds of productions and years of audience-building. But the reality is much trickier.

Here's what O'Neill had to say:

The problem is that if you sit on your hands, you’re dead... Every year there’s going to be something new, whether it’s the international playwriting competition or it’s the Irish tour or this that or the other, you’ve got to keep reinventing. And if you don’t, you just die. It’s just the nature of the business. You’re never there. You’re never established. You’re never comfortable and if we slack off at all, we immediately suffer.

--Colin Dabkowski

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