Kathleya Afanador, Co-Founder of Marquee TV, Likens Dance Discovery To Wine Appreciation
Get Enthused For Crystal Pite & Jonathan Young's "Revisor", Live from Covent Garden Events & Summer Shorts
Friday, June 19th 2020 saw the U.S. streaming debut of Crystal Pite and Jonathan Young's Revisor, which continues to be available on-demand. Based on Nikolai Gogol’s play The Government Inspector, the critically acclaimed dance-theatre production is Marquee TV’s first co-commissioning project, marking the streaming platform’s ongoing commitment to investing back in the arts and securing a strong digital future for the sector.
A quick chat with Kathleya Afanador, co-founder of Marquee TV, underscores why streaming platforms make 'the new normal' much more enjoyable.
Sammi Lim for The Dance Enthusiast: No one is impartial in matters of art; as Head of Content at Marquee TV, how do you maintain a well-rounded curation?
Kathleya Afanador, Co-Founder of Marquee TV: That's so true — no one is impartial, and we wouldn't want them to be! Part of the beauty of creating a platform that showcases a wide range of artistic work is that it's a low-risk environment where people can figure out for themselves what they like and, just as importantly, what they dislike. Think about the way people get into something like wine — there's a self-education process of sampling, browsing, and tasting, and along the way you start to understand what it is you really enjoy. That exploration and discovery process is crucial and that's what we try to facilitate for our viewers.
We curate the platform with this sort of process in mind, which means we don't necessarily have to play it safe. Of course we have our share of canonical works (Swan Lake, anyone? We have several.) But they can sit on an equal platform alongside a piece like The Feeling of Going, which is an amazing pop-opera-dance-theater hybrid by Skånes Dansteater and Malmö Opera that's so large-scale and technically complex it can only be performed on the Malmö Opera stage. That's the kind of piece most people will never even have the option of seeing live, so it's particularly satisfying that we're able to feature the filmed version on Marquee TV. A lot of our job curating the platform is really about being involved in the arts sector ourselves, listening to what's going on and what work is being produced, and trying to represent the breadth and diversity of artistic voices that are out there today.
The Dance Enthusiast: In a way, video recordings level the playing field for audiences; neither are there premium balcony seats nor that awkward spot partially obstructed by a pillar. But are there different levels of membership for Marquee TV?
Kathleya Afanador, Co-Founder of Marquee TV: Not at the moment. We are developing some models of what tiered membership might look like for us, but for now, a single subscription gets you access to the entire platform. We do have industry / artist / student rates but it's still the same access.
The Dance Enthusiast: Congrats on making Marquee TV’s first co-commissioning project a reality. Besides Crystal Pite and Jonathan Young's "Revisor," what else is in the pipeline?
Kathleya Afanador, Co-Founder of Marquee TV: Thanks! I'm so pleased that the timing worked out for Revisor to be filmed just before everything started shutting down, and I don't think I could have asked for a better opportunity than this one for a first co-commissioning project. We're really proud to have participated.
As for upcoming pipeline, we've just started introducing live-streamed events into our offerings. We are one of the outlets for the Royal Opera House's Live from Covent Garden events, their first live performances since shutdown. The final one out of three is on June 27th. You'll be able to access them all on Marquee TV.
Next up we have our Summer Shorts. Throughout the month of August we'll be focusing on short form films, mostly dance and music, and the plan is to have a new featured short film every day of the month.
Covid-19 has definitely put a different spin on the upcoming Autumn-Winter season. We've been talking to a lot of arts organizations in the US where plans and possibilities are changing quickly right now. Historically, digital content hasn't been prioritized in the US the way it has been elsewhere. Of course, there are systemic reasons for this, which we don't need to get into now, but when "butts in seats" is no longer your primary goal (and certainly not full houses for a while), that fundamentally changes how you have to think about your output as an arts organization. So we now have a number of ongoing conversations with US companies and artists about new digital projects for the fall and I'm hopeful we'll be able to help bring a few of those into fruition.