We ended last week with the celebration of the summer solstice, which serves as both the gateway to summer’s growing season and the launch of daylight’s march toward fall. It reminds us that every beginning is a journey towards an end, and that every end flows into another beginning. I was part of several celebrations last week that highlighted that virtuous circle of life in art.
On Monday, I attended Actors’ Equity Association’s (AEA) 100th anniversary gala, a joyful recognition of the union’s accomplishments, and I offer my congratulations AEA’s president Nick Wyman and executive director Mary McColl, as well as all AEA staff and members. Equity was founded by 112 actors, and now boasts close to 50,000 members!
A similar spirit pervaded the National Black Theatre’s (NBT) 5th annual Teer Spirit Awards, which I attended last Tuesday, and which honors visionaries whose community impact and artistry embody the spirit of NBT’s founder, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer. NBT is now led by Teer’s daughter, CEO Sade Lythcott; and I was thrilled that Sade–along with fellow practitioners like El Teatro Campesino’s Kinan Valdez and Penumbra Theatre Company’s Sarah Bellamy–joined us at the Conference as torchbearers of a parent’s founding vision, and trailblazers in their own right. Sometimes this family we call the resident theatre movement is inspiringly literal!
This passing of the torch will be one focus of our upcoming daylong workshop in Fort Lauderdale, “Embracing the Future: Strategic Planning and Succession Planning” on July 10—learn more and sign up here. This seminar will also include a lunchtime roundtable on the importance of diversity, continuing the urgent conversations of our 2012 Fall Forum on Governance and the Diversity & Inclusion arc at Conference in Dallas. Speaking of, don’t miss Jacqueline E. Lawton’s wonderful reporting from that arc; her posts are part of a rich, ongoing Conference-related conversation here on the TCG Circle (email Gus Schulenburg if you want to write your own post).
An essential part of achieving a truly inclusive theatre field is reaching gender parity in all aspects of our institutional structures, programming and season selection. That’s why we programmed two sessions at the Conference on those themes, and that’s part of what was so inspiring about last week’s TCG Playwrights in Conversation—Baker, Gibson, Herzog: New Voices in the American Theatre. It was extraordinary to hear these writers talk about their lives, processes and hopes for how their work will change the world. If we can all strive to match that vision and passion, the virtuous circles of our movement will continue spinning forward, and change will come.