Happy New Year! I hope your holidays were both restful and adventurous. I personally had a few travel adventures, one involving the attempt to return to post-blizzard New York after Christmas in St. Paul, MN. I did get home!
With the New Year, I want to make you aware of a few changes in communications coming from TCG. I will continue posting my Weekly Update, which has received positive feedback. It has over time, come to replace the monthly Field Letter—thus we will officially discontinue it in 2011. In addition to the Update, I will create a regular post here on the TCG Circle that examines multiple ways of approaching specific challenges of interest to theatres and practitioners, e.g., three ways to: design a membership program, organize your social media efforts, approach a particular text, create a strategic plan or attack a specific set construction issue. It will be both practical and creative.
Before the holiday, I wrote about the situations surrounding freedom of speech and civil rights issues with our colleagues in Hungary and Belarus. If you’ve missed the coverage, check out my post. Against tremendous odds and through the valiant efforts of many, the Belarus Free Theatre arrived in New York last week for performances at the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival. To raise awareness about the repressive regime in Belarus, theatres across the country are scheduling readings of the Free Theatre’s play, Being Harold Pinter. Participating theatres will also read a statement from the artistic directors of Belarus Free Theatre and draw attention to a petition on Change.org. This website, thanks to Twin Cities-based artist Gülgün Kayim and her company, Skewed Visions, provides background and tools for participating. I hope that some of you will consider taking part in this national effort.
The new Congress was sworn in last week, so you should check out this post on the Performing Arts Convention website, 32 Ways to Make Legislators Feel Good About What Your Arts Organization Does, which reprints a list originally created by the Idaho Commission on the Arts. In fact, it is good advice for making anyone feel terrific about what your organization does! One caveat, though: Please make sure that you review Federal and State “Gift Rules” before inviting elected officials to your performances and events. Check out this useful tool regarding Federal “Gift Rules” in the Advocacy section of the TCG website.
With the New Year, TCG is partnering with GreatNonprofits, Guidestar and others on a 2011 arts appreciation campaign. Visit this post to learn more about it. If you’re working at a theatre, I urge you to have them join in the campaign, as it is a way to raise public awareness for the great work your theatre does—and a way to reach potential new donors. Individually, you should check out the list of participating not-for-profits and add your review to their Profile page.