Theater and the Importance of Being Local

From an article by Trisha Mead on Oregon ArtsWatch:

Recently, Carey Perloff, the artistic director for the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, posting on her Huffington Post blog, posited a new potential mission for her regional theater — stop trying to be a New York pipeline and start becoming a theater by and for San Franciscans. This notion of a “locavore theatre” is hugely appealing on the big-picture level, but it had the San Franciscan theater community a bit riled up.

Their concern: Can ACT champion “local culture” — plays about San Francisco in this case — if it is not hiring local artists to do the work? The flourishing indie theater community in San Francisco defines itself very deliberately in opposition to the big companies (ACT especially, but also Berkeley Rep and the like), while at the same time clearly craving acknowledgement from and inclusion by those larger organizations.