by Kristin Baker
President of the StageSource Board
When I first moved to Boston and started using the T, the city was less of a city than a series of walkable pods around T stops. I had no idea how they connected. If I wanted to go to Quincy Market, I knew I got off at Government Center. If I wanted to go to the Common, I got off at Park Street. But if I was standing at Park Street and wanted to get to Quincy Market, I would have have to go down into the subway, take it one stop and come out again because didn’t know where the connections were above ground. (this was before google maps and its a metaphor, so go with me.)
Sometimes I feel as if the New England Theater community is a bit like that: a bunch of vibrant pods very close together but without always connecting. Some of us “came up” in high school, and connect to the METG and its drama festivals. Some of us “came up” attending college in Boston, and see our pod around our University Theater program. Some of us “came up” after college and connected to the professional, semi-pro, fringe or community theater scenes. We are communities within communities.
Like the Common and Quincy Market, I suspect our pods are closer than we think. I suspect we share more challenges and motivations and passions than we think we do, but we haven’t managed to connect into one large and cohesive community. Maybe we are so busy doing our own thing we haven’t made time to explore our connections. Maybe its something to do with perceived status or liking to be the big fish in our small ponds. Maybe its our entrepreneurial spirit that is subtly encouraging us to reinvent the wheel. Maybe we are shy.
This is one of the reasons I am so excited about the StageSource Theater Conference’s theme of Reframing Success. If we can all establish for ourselves a clear and cogent idea of what success in this field is to us and listen to what it means for other people, maybe we can get the status, self-doubt and ownership issues out of the way and connect across the whole of our community. If there is any organization poised to make that happen it is StageSource. Our members are LORT Theater and Community Theaters, Equity Actors and novice designers, students and jaded, craggy old pros, folks who are happy doing their “day jobs” and a couple shows a year with their small/fringe theater friends and directors with portfolio careers and every intention of taking Peter DuBois’s job one day. We are the whole community.
If we all really did leave our pods and join across our theater sizes and budgets, our union statuses and our aspirations, and spoke together with one voice, think of how loud that voice would be.
So let’s all gather in June, own our own little piece of the theater community pie, but share the stage with others. Whether you want to star in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat or dream of the day when you can fully stage Artaud’s Jet of Blood, whether you like to build sets of the high school drama club on weekends or you are making your living from your creative work, let’s talk about what we have in common, let’s marvel and admire the ways we are different, but let’s support each other and be one community that they can’t ignore.
The StageSource Theater Conference: Reframing Success
June 29 at A.R.T.’s Loeb Drama Center
For more information, go here!
To register, go here!