TCG National Conference 2007 - Breakout Sessions

Breakout Sessions – Friday 1:30-2:45pm

Artistic Sessions

Two Actors, One Set? How Economics Affects Aesthetics

Moderated byPolly Carl, Artistic
Director, Playwrights’ Center
Participants: Trista Baldwin,Playwright; Carlyle Brown, Playwright;Kira Obolensky, Playwright; Dominic Orlando,Playwright
Today’s economy affects our lives and our work in more ways than we can imagine. How does it affect playwrights and theatremakers? Does it shape the plays that are being written today? What challenges does it present, and how are artists working around (or with) these
challenges to create the theatre of tomorrow?

New Breakout: Minnesota Made: Women Making Change

Join a conversation with six artists who are making art and making a life in Minnesota.  How does a theatrical piece lead to change?  How does art stimulate public dialogue, public understanding?  Why collaborate and partner?  How do these artists create inclusivity?  How do they contribute to the building of capacity in their communities?  How do these artists incorporate unanticipated, sometimes unwanted outcomes in their creative process?  How have these artists been changed by the change their work has created?  Come to hear their stories, and then tell some of your own.
Moderated by Bonnie Morris, Producing Director, Illusion Theater
Participants: Sandy Agustin, former Artistic Director, Intermedia Arts; Beth Gilleland, actor and author of Mrs. Man of God; Michelle Hensley, Artistic Director 10,000 Things Theater; Kimberly Joy Morgan, actor and author of Hot Comb: Brandin’ One Mark of Oppression; Sandy Spieler, Founder and Artistic Director of In the Heart of the Beast Theater

Wrestling with the Classics in 21st Century America

Moderated by Carey Perloff, Artistic Director, American Conservatory Theatre

Participants: Brian Kulick, Artistic
Director, Classic Stage Company; Peter Macon, Actor;
Jackie Maxwell, Artistic Director, Shaw Festival

What is our relationship as contemporary Americans to the classical
canon? How does the fact that fewer and fewer American theatres
are embracing the concept of “company” affect our ability to perform the classics with depth and skill? How are our training programs preparing American actors for the classics? And where are the American translations of the international repertoire?

A Dramatic Ménage à Trois

Moderated by Philip Himberg,Producing Artistic Director, Sundance Institute Theatre Program
Participants: David Adjimi, Playwright;Michael Dixon, Director/Dramaturg; David
, Artistic Associate, Arena Stage; Kim Euell,
Playwright and Director; Marcus Gardley, Playwright;
Jeffrey Hatcher, Playwright; Amy Mueller,
Artistic Director, Playwrights Foundation
The triangular relationship among playwright, director and dramaturg must be negotiated with forethought and sensitivity, whether in a developmental workshop or in rehearsal heading toward production.In the best situation, how can these three artists work as a team—assuring that the play is best served and that the process for the writer
is an invigorating, helpful and dynamic one. What are good working models that show flexibility? How do we define the roles and responsibilities of each party, both in the rehearsal room and beyond? How is the process both challenging and supportive? What mistakes can we avoid? This session is a roundtable which wrestles with this potentially thorny but rewarding set of relationships.

Producing Theatre in Small Communities

Moderated by Scott Levy, Producing Artistic Director,Penobscot Theatre Company

Participants: Harold N. Cropp, Executive Director,
Commonweal Theatre Company; R.L. Rowsey, Core Company Artist, Company of Fools; Louis Tyrrell, Producing
Director, Florida Stage
Small communities present unique challenges and opportunities for theatre companies. How does a theatre fundraise when its donors are the same as the library’s, museum’s, etc.? How do small communities affect season selection and community relationships in ways that theatres in larger cities don’t encounter? And what can theatres in larger communities learn from the practices of those in smaller communities?

What are they thinking? On how Audiences Watch Plays Today

Moderated by Aaron Posner, Artistic Director,
Two River Theatre Company, with Chay Yew, TCG Board,
Playwright/Director; Marge Betley, Literary Manager/Resident Dramaturg, Geva Theatre Center.
What are audiences thinking when they come to the theatre? How do they really think about plays and the theatre in general? What makes them like a particular theatre, play or company? Whose “side” are audiences on when they view a play? What can be done to get
them more fully “on our team”? What kinds of obligations
do we have to meet or challenge expectations? And how is this different
today than in the past?

Actor: The Generative Artist

Moderated by Randy Rollison
Participants: Joan Schirle, Karen Kandel, Jonathan Broadbent, Juan Rivera Lebron, Amy Weems, Joan Schirle, Karen Kandel, Jonathan Broadbent, Juan Rivera Lebron, Andy Weems

Actors discuss their experience as the driving force in the creation
of new work.

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International Sessions

International Work 101

Moderated by Rosalba Rolón, Artistic Director, Pregones Theater

Participants: Catherine Coray, Director, hotINK International Festival; Jeff Church, Artistic Director, Coterie Theatre; Philip Arnoult, Director, Center for International Theatre Development; Michael Fields, Producing Artistic Director, Dell’ Arte International
A nuts and bolts session about working internationally—visas, cultural diplomacy, translations and touring. A panel of experienced internationalists talk about artistic possibilities and administrative
challenges and share information about useful resources.

New Breakout: World Social Forum Report Back
Participants: Melanie Joseph,
Founder/Producing Artistic Director, The Foundry Theatre; Sunder Ganglani, Co-Producer of Community Outreach, The Foundry Theatre; Bonnie Metzgar, Producer; Lloyd Suh, Playwright
In January 2007, the Foundry Theatre, Ma-Yi Theatre Company, and the Hip-Hop Theater Festival brought a delegation of 25 American Artists to the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya. They joined over 70,000 progressives, grassroots organizers,
NGO’s, and activists from 65 countries in imagining another world – in which people and nonprofit organizations are at the center of local and global institutions. Come find out what happened - Join artist delegates and organizers for a report-back to the TCG community.

Voices From Today’s African Theatre

Moderated by Roberta Levitow
Participants: Charles Mulekwa; Jean-Marie Rurangwa, Roberta Levitow, Charles Muleekwa, Jean-Marie Rurangwa
An exploration of contemporary African culture from the perspective of working artists. What are the commonalities shared by African
artists across the continent? What are their major influences? What
are their views of U.S. arts and culture?

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Management Sessions

The Theatre of the Future: Forces That May Influence Your Art and
Change Your Business

Participants: Vickie Abrahamson, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President, Iconoculture; Jack Silverman,Bolin Marketing VP/Account Management; Jack Uldrich,President, the NanoVeritas Group
Consumer change. New technologies. Multicultural connections. Cultural
trends. Whether at a local level or on a global scale, these important forces are shaping the way that the nonprofit theatrical industry continues to develop. In such a dynamically changing industry, one can’t ignore the outside forces that promise to shape and shift the landscape of the theatre as we know it today. Thought leaders in the areas of consumer behavior, trends, emerging technologies and change offer a provocative look that could influence how the
theatrical experience will continue to evolve. You’re going to leave this session with a lot of inspiration to help you embrace the coming changes head on and to start thinking about how to make change work for your organization.

Production Enhancement: The Nuts and Bolts

Moderated by Max Leventhal, General Manager, Alliance Theatre
Participants TBA

Enhancement dollars from commercial producers have become a significant
part of the not-for-profit theatre economy. What is enhancement? Where do you find it? And what are the risks and rewards in taking this approach to accomplishing your artistic, financial and production goals? Hear from several seasoned experts who have successfully utilized enhancement funds in their production development efforts.

Life in a New Building

Moderated by Roche Edward Schulfer, Executive Director, The Goodman Theatre
Participants: Frank Butler, Production Manager,Guthrie Theater; Chris Coleman, Artistic Director,Portland Center Stage; Melvin Gerald Jr., Managing Director, African Continuum Theatre Company, Michael Maso, Managing Director, Huntington Theatre Company; James K Tinsley, General Manager, The Children’s Theatre Company
New buildings always pose new challenges—some you can expect,others you couldn’t possibly anticipate. Thankfully, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel: other people have been there before.This session is a check-in on companies with new buildings. How
are they adapting to the new space and the new culture presented by that space? How is the new building working, and are there lessons they’ve learned that can help others in the field? How do you meet some of the new challenges posed by things like increased audience size, more theatres, new locations, etc.?

Help Wanted: Is There a Shortage of Qualified Management Professionals?

Moderated by Susie Medak, Managing Director, Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Participants: Thomas A. Cervone, Managing Director,
Clarence Brown Theatre Company; Patricia Lavender,
Associate Professor, Virginia Tech; Frank Mack,
Managing Director, Connecticut Repertory Theatre
This session will investigate some of today’s critical questions in the training of theatre managers. Is there a shortage of adequately trained managers to take the next generation of leadership positions? What are the reasons and possible tactics to close this gap? Who should be trained in arts management, and what training is needed given current and future trends?

Accessibility and Disability: Where are We?

Moderated by Gavin Witt, Resident Dramaturg, CENTERSTAGE
Participants: Jeanne Calvit, Artistic Director,Interact Center for the Performing Arts; Robin Gillette, Executive Director, Minnesota Fringe Festival; Michael Ritchie,Artistic Director, Center Theatre Group; Nicole Tollefson, University of Minnesota
How accessible are we, inside and outside of our theatres? Are we really as inclusive as we think we are? What adjustments do we need to make to our websites and other communications in order to be fully accessible? What impact does disability have on mainstream theatres, physically and ideologically?

Touring Theatre Today

Moderated by Bruce Allardice, Managing Director,
Ping Chong and Company
Participants: Joel Bassin, Grants Manager, Wooster Group; Margot Harley, Producing Artistic Director, The Acting Company; Bryn Magnus, Managing Director, Free Street Theatre;Steve Richardson, Producing Director, Theatre de la Jeune Lune
Touring has never been easy. And today, it seems to be getting harder and harder. What are the obstacles to touring and how are theatres rising above the challenges? What are the benefits of touring for resident theatres? What are the existing touring networks, how have they shifted over time and how can they be expanded?

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Governance Sessions

Issues for Board Leaders

Participants: Bruce E.H. Johnson, Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP and trustee, Seattle Repertory Theatre; Rob Manegold, Trustee, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre; Judith O. Rubin, Board Chair, Playwrights Horizons
What are the most pressing issues for board leaders? Recruiting new members to your board? Fostering a healthy relationship between board and staff? Whether your challenges most relate to finances, planning or management—find out what fellow board leaders from across the country are grappling with. Learn from their successes as well as their challenges.

Nuts and Bolts for New Trustees

Participants: Kathryn M. Lipuma, Executive Director, Writers’ Theatre; Royanne Minskoff, Trustee, Idaho Shakespeare Festival; Elisabeth Morten, President of the Board, Westport Country Playhouse
What does a new trustee need to understand to be effective? From serving as ambassadors and advocates for the mission and work of their theatres, to the fiduciary responsibility trustees carry, from the hiring and overseeing of the professional staff to fundraising, good trustees are essential to the health of our theatres. Join
some fellow trustees for an insightful conversation.

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Education Session

The Changing Face of Diversity and Youth

Moderated by Fran Kao, Education Program Manager,Seattle Repertory Theatre

Participants: Gregory Smith, Director of Education,Children’s Theatre Company; Sara Zatz, Undesireable Elements Project Coordinator, Ping Chong and Company
Young people view diversity and issues of race and identity differently. This includes everything from the rise in individuals who identify as “mixed race” or background as well as the “3rd Culture Kids” phenomenon (youth who have been raised in a culture different than their parents’ culture(s) of origin). How are theatre artists playing a playing a vital role in the development of the next generation? In this ever changing landscape of diversity and identity, theatre education programs are often on the cutting edge of learning/teaching/communication styles that transcend boundaries and feed on the energy of diversity. This discussion will explore
the ways that theatre programs provide opportunities for young people to become aware of their own potential and begin to put that potential into action.

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Advocacy Session

Stand and Deliver: Building and Maintaining Relationships with Policy

Moderated by Laurie Baskin, Director of Government and Education Programs, TCG
Participants: Lisa Green, Trustee, Lookingglass Theatre Company; Benjamin Moore, Managing Director, Seattle Repertory Theatre; Chip Walton, Artistic Director, Curious Theatre Company
Whether your theatre’s work is political, classical or geared towards youth, cultivating relationships with local and national decision-makers is crucial to the health of our organizations. How do we gain the support of our legislators? Why is it important for our theatre leaders to become advocates for our mission? This panel explores grassroots advocacy as a tool to promote both our theatres and the field, and to help articulate the value of our work.

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