By Dale Albright
When we set out to program our Annual Conference, it is always our mandate to provide programming, speakers and information that meet the diverse needs of the expected attendees. Not an easy feat, considering the size and scope of our theatre community, with its numerous companies, varied disciplines and hundreds of individual artists.
Conference attendees filling Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre to hear the opening plenary. Photo: Laura Brueckner
This year's conference—named "Impact! Make Your Splash!"—was the result of massive community input. In part because of input from regional company meetings, advisory committees, social media, ad hoc community groups and rabid volunteers, this year's programming brought together almost 100 speakers from our own community, as well as Cleveland, New York, Seattle, Washington DC and Ireland (!) to address issues and concerns facing our community.
This year's "Director/Designer/Tech Speed Dating" was a very popular breakout session. Many designers brought their portfolios, and one production stage manager showed up looking for an ASM to hire on the spot! Photo: Laura Brueckner
Framing the discussion in terms of how we can maximize the impact of what we do helped not only to focus the day on big-picture issues but also to ground the conversations with practical, day-to-day takeaways. Over 400 people attended this year's Annual Conference, the only one of its kind on the West Coast, with still more theatre folks across the country avidly following tech-savvy attendees' Twitter streams using our tasty-sounding hashtag, #tbacon (read the entire day's Twitter feed here).
Raymond Bobgan, Deborah Cullinan, Ed Decker and Jessica Robinson Love speaking during the opening plenary, "Engaging Communities: What, Where, How—and Why?" Photo: Laura Brueckner
Of course, the programming is only a fraction of the "impact" the Annual Conference has on attendees. It's the one event all year where Bay Area theatre professionals of all stripes can come together as colleagues to share best practices, catch up with old friends and make new friends and colleagues. I am pleased to thank everyone referred to above for making this conference one of the best ever, and am already looking forward to the next one!
Between sessions, attendees got outside to enjoy the gorgeous weather, relax and catch up with friends in Berkeley Rep's courtyard. Photo: Laura Brueckner
Designer and actor Diego Gomez getting some fresh air. You may (not) recognize him from the cover of our March/April magazine issue! Photo: Laura Brueckner
A very special thanks to our 2013 Conference Sponsors:
Interested in attending our 2014 Annual Conference? Click here for more information about our 2014 Annual Conference.
Interested in sponsoring our 2014 Annual Conference? Contact Katharine Chin for more details.