Success Story: Duke Burger ’20
It started with the idea that all you need to experience a great theatre performance is an actor and a stage. And an audience.
With the disruption that technology was bringing to media distribution, Duke Burger believed his idea of offering filmed stage performances through streaming was a winner. Via “Prosceneium,” he could create space for younger, newer, and different voices that were too often drowned out by mass media.
Through collaboration with the content creators, he could help theatres and their audiences grow by connecting theatre-lovers nationwide. Social media afforded the audience segmentation necessary to find viewers.
And this was all before the pandemic hit, which accelerated his plan.
Burger studied at the National Shakespeare Conservatory then earned a BFA in Film/TV in the mid-90s at a major eastern university. He then spent many years as an editor working in commercial television at MTV Networks and TruTV.
“While I was fortunate to work on some really great shows, I became increasingly frustrated with the content that was being created and the speed with which it was put together,” he says. “I loved what I did, but I could see that the media landscape was changing and I would need to adapt and change as well.”
He turned to the Entrepreneurship in the Arts MA program to move his idea for Prosceneium forward. As a creative person, Burger felt he lacked the skills to plan, budget, forecast, and even communicate with strategic partners.
“The program provided me the tools and processes to define my idea and then refine the constituent parts of the business plan,” he says. “Now, not only do I have a plan on how to start a business, but also the acumen to adapt, change, and thrive as the business hopefully grows.”
Burger has incorporated his business and plans to film his first performance to ticket and stream later this year. He’s also working on the website for audiences to discover streaming performances at theaters across the country. He’ll continue with his editing gigs as well.
“Being an arts entrepreneur allows me to continue my creative work, but now I get to do it in a way that I wasn’t able to before, on a bigger stage, talking to different people, on a scale that wasn’t open to me.”
Burger believes Entrepreneurship in the Arts was the right program for people like him, those who want to leverage their creative passion into a new endeavor, as opposed to setting it aside or leaving it behind.
“The program felt like it would meet us where we are and augment what we already know, by providing us tools to work in the business world without having to become MBA’s.”