October 2010 Field Letter
Written on September 26, 2010
TCG recently updated its values statement to focus on the following principles: artistry, diversity, activism and global citizenship. Why global citizenship? When TCG was founded in 1961, Mac Lowry of the Ford Foundation stated that one of his objectives in funding this new venture was to help connect everyone and to combat provincialism among theatres—including New York theatres—that might arise as they established themselves in towns and cities across the U.S. Since that time, a rich and diverse theatrical community has blossomed in our nation. Through conferences, research, collaborations and shared professional development opportunities, this community has become interconnected and in communication with one another. And while they are very in tune stateside, it occurs to us—in part because of geography—that the U.S. and the U.S. theatre community are not quite as integrated with the vast theatre community that has evolved across the world. The theatre community has begun to move towards a more global consciousness and TCG is supporting that move. It was observed in the late 1960s that the mere founding of TCG helped a small group of theatres feel as if they were part of a national movement. Going forward, TCG fully expects that this national movement will become a global one.
Recently, the power of this notion has been demonstrated over and over again. TCG’s national conferences have hosted theatre practitioners from around the world—16 countries were represented in Chicago. From September 23-26, Theatre Without Borders hosted “Acting Together on the World Stage,” which focused on the role of theatre in peace-building. The program attracted attendees from 35 countries and a capacity crowd of over 200 participants—some of whom have been in attendance at TCG conferences in the last several years. Our community is widening exponentially and globally, and new collaborations are being sparked every day. If you read my columns and Field Letters over the last year or so, you know that TCG has lead some extraordinary delegations of U.S. theatre practitioners at festivals, such as the Festival Internacional de Teatro de Bogotá this past March and Fira Tàrrega in Spain in September.
One of the things we share across the globe is the challenge of measuring and articulating the value of an activity that is intended to affect the mind and the soul—versus something more concrete, such as a brick and mortar project. I’ve heard repeatedly, in one form or another, conversations having to do with funding for international peace-building projects: “If you receive $100,000 to build a clinic, you can show the clinic. If you receive $100,000 to change people’s mindset through theatre, that’s a bit more difficult to prove.”
We realize that connecting globally is not a top priority for every TCG member theatre. However, just as there is a multiplier effect to the relationships and knowledge-sharing that occurs within our borders today, we believe that the same benefit will accrue for our entire community as we move forward in support of increased global connection.
In addition to this global connectedness, TCG continues to be involved with our peer national service organizations in the U.S. Follow up continues on the National Performing Arts Convention and our colleagues just spent an afternoon assessing progress on the key action items. Since the Denver Convention in 2008, we've created a much needed web resource with a focus on our five priorities for action: advocacy, artists, diversity, education and technology. We've also facilitated new cross-disciplinary convenings in cyberspace. In June, several NSO conferences were made available on the all new "Virtual NPAC" and our national conferences focused on some of the issues raised in Denver. Building from this platform, we will take further definitive action on specific priorities, which we are currently evaluating. And our Performing Arts Alliance (PAA) continues to monitor nine or more issues affecting the arts at the federal level.
Speaking of advocacy, the FCC has ruled on the White Space issue. The Commission unanimously agreed to permit the operation of new White Space devices in the spectrum, but also imposed protections for licensed and unlicensed wireless microphones, such as those used in the performing arts. Specifically, there will be two TV channels reserved nationwide for wireless microphones. If a wireless microphone user needs more spectrum than these channels, they may register their uses in a geo-location database. Commissioners remarked during the FCC meeting that they had gone to great lengths to meet the needs of wireless microphone users and to balance the needs of all interested parties. More details will soon be forthcoming in the TCG Bulletin and in the Advocacy section of our website.
October marks the return of Free Night of Theater. Best of luck to all of you who are participating in the event in some way. TCG continues to host a national reservation website and provide technical assistance to communities across the U.S. that are involved in the event. And of course, we are active in the New York Free Night of Theater program that has been generously funded by our own Department of Cultural Affairs.
Last note: here’s a useful information tool for board development in these continuing tough times when boards are so crucial to our fundraising efforts: “ Ten Cool Ways to Use Board Members to Up Your Donorability.”
Until next month, all the best,
Back to Top