Breakout sessions at conferences can be panels of experts, with a short Q&A afterwards. The StageSource Theater Conference: Reframing Success is going to have a different structure for the breakouts. We are morphing traditional breakouts (topics we put on the table) with an open space forum, where everyone is included in the conversation. Each breakout will have some facilitators in the room to start the conversation, and keep it on track, but everyone is invited to participate in the conversations.
The goals for the breakout sessions are to talk a bit about where we are as a community, to think about where we want to be, and to work on action steps that will get us there, or get us closer.
The breakouts will take place at 11:45-1pm. The topics are:
DIG (Diversity/Inclusion/Gender Parity) in our sector. The StageSource report was released in February. Other conferences have been discussing the topic, and how challenging this is for the arts. That needs to change. What are our next steps? Some ideas include a snapshot of where we are right now to benchmark where we are going, larger workshops and convenings to talk about some of the issues that are getting in the way of progress (the lens of privilege), and area specific tasks that we can undertake.
Raising the New Work Flag: We have a lot of new work in our community, and several initiatives supporting it. What can we do as a community to celebrate that work? What do playwrights need? How can we all provide support, and create systems to make it better? What are existing resources? What does exporting our work look like? What does a feedback loop look like? How can we better engage audiences in the process? Can New England become the new work center?
Rethinking Space means exploring space solutions, and rethinking what space is, or needs to be. Is there a way for us to reframe where theater takes place? What does that look like? What do we need to do to make it happen? Are some communities more supportive of that than others? Are there partnerships to explore in thinking about theater space? How to we cut the space chase?
Arts Activism: The creative sector is a celebrated driver in our economy, but what does that mean? How do we empower ourselves as theater makers/organizations/audiences to advocate for arts funding, arts education, space initiatives, etc? What are the facts, and how do we use them to tell our story more effectively? What information do we need to start gathering in order to make our case? What does an cultural policy look like, and how do we ensure that it is part of political conversations moving forward?
Rethinking Success Must Equal Growth. Does Size Really Matter? Does success mean your theater company needs to get bigger? Or can you stay your size, but continue to grow in capacity and scope. What new models would support rethinking what success looks like for every type of theater? Is being a non-profit necessary? Should everyone aspire to having a season of work? Can companies work together in new ways to support one another?
Creative Balancing: Theatre and Parenting. How do you balance the responsibilities of parenting with a fulfilling career? How can we create a supportive environment for our peers?