Everyone, this is Diego. He’s about to be 12 weeks old, and he’ll be joining us in San Diego. (And while I love this year’s Conference town, no—I did not name him after it. Work-life balance, people.)
Why is an infant coming to the TCG National Conference, you ask? Well, because he’s my son. And as we’ve discovered in our ongoing collaboration with our fabulous host committee for this year’s Conference, San Diego is one of the most family-friendly cities in the country, particularly when it comes to its theatre community. So, I figured he’d be in good company.
As part of TCG’s National Conference team, creating space for children at TCG Conferences was admittedly not something I prioritized in years past. This year, the host committee boasts several artists-with-children who champion San Diego as a wonderful place to be both a parent and a theatre artist. This has been very serendipitous for me, having just had my first child, and—though by June my own little one will still be too little to soak up the exciting Conference programming or fully appreciate the beauty of San Diego—creating that family space has suddenly taken on a new significance.
So, in homage to our host city and inspired by our own growing families, our TCG Conference team is trying something new this year in making room for families and children at the Conference. And I wanted to make sure you knew about some of the new features we’re trying out…
For starters, we’ve included a “For the Kids” resource page on our website with links to all-inclusive entertainment passes, San Diego’s most kid-friendly parks and attractions and even a list of child care services in the area. A full listing of fun area outings can also be found on the Activities page, including a list of nearby beaches, and find a list of family-friendly restaurants in town on our Dining page.
Soon we’ll be launching a Conference 2.0 group for “Parents at the Conference” so you can connect with your fellow parents, arrange group babysitting or activities and generally share resources and get to know each other.
At the Conference hotel, the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, kids under 18 can stay with you free of charge. The hotel also boasts a fun roster of things to do with kids within walking distance, including taking them to a Padres game or the New Children’s Museum. And if you’re wondering (like I am) about flying with the little ones, check out this helpful blog post, or this super comprehensive one by a former flight attendant.
And last but certainly not least: your middle school and high school age kids are welcome at our designated Conference plenary sessions, free of charge! As we continue to solidify the speakers for our four Conference plenary sessions, we’ll identify the ones that will be most appropriate for children ages 13 and older. If your child is interested in the theatre, or you think they’d be into speakers like game design guru Jane McGonigal, simply bring them to Registration before the plenary session to sign them up and they’ll be able to join you for those individual sessions.
As I said, TCG has never tried this at a Conference before, so if you have any additional ideas for how to make the San Diego experience a family-friendly one, or if you have any concerns or questions about our current offerings, please email me.
Otherwise, keep checking our website and Conference 2.0 for updates—and Diego and I and the whole TCG team look forward to seeing you in June!
Devon Berkshire is the Associate Director of Conferences at Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and as the logistics arm of the Communications and Conferences team, handles the programming and planning of TCG’s in-person convenings, most notably the widely attended annual National Conference. A longtime event planner and theatre person, she is also a founder and Board Co-President of non-profit theatre company Studio 42, and has produced a variety of innovative plays, workshops and exciting events with the company. Prior to joining TCG, Devon produced corporate events in the financial sector, and ran an independent event-planning company, Jax & Devo. Devon holds a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.F.A. in acting from the American Repertory Theatre’s Institute at Harvard University and Moscow Art Theatre.