It’s a term I first heard in my day job at iGive.com – there are many competitors in our business; sites that have a similar model, but serve a different audience, or serve the same audience, in a slightly different way. In that sense, competition is a fact. However, as we have similarities in our business model, we also face similar challenges and by working together to address those challenges, we have more power (think collective bargaining) to fix them. This is straight up cooperation. By participating in Coopetition (the convergence of the two strategies), everyone has a greater value to offer their respective audiences.
I believe the term Coopetition is highly applicable to acting as well. It’s strange how in an audition, you are ‘competing’ against other actors for the same job, but may end up having to ‘cooperate’ with them if you are both cast in the same show, in differing roles.
I’m a firm believe that theatre is a team sport. Together, everyone does achieve more. If everyone on stage is in it for themselves, the story is not being served, the production is not being served, and the audience, for damn sure, is not being served. It’s only in working together that you can pull off the magic of theatre. A director once shared with me & my cast mates at a first-read (pardon my paraphrase): “Your purpose in a scene is to figure out how you can best ‘be there’ for your scene partner. You are all here to give gifts to each other and you were each cast because I’ve seen you do that in your work.”