We're always talking about the future of Theatre Bay Area, but our latest featured member could tell you a few things about the past. Queenelle Minet, who has worked for many years as a director, actor and educator, was around for the very beginning of Theatre Bay Area's history. She continues to play an active role in the Bay Area Theatre scene today, and will direct her own world-premiere play next year!
|TBA Featured Member Queenelle Minet.
You've got a unique relationship to Theatre Bay Area. Would you care to share?
I am the founder of TBA and served as the executive director for TBA's first four years. When I first came to San Francisco, I found it difficult to find out what was going on in the Bay Area theatre scene. As a result, it struck me that what the Bay Area needed was an organization to unite theatre organizations and serve Bay Area theatre artists. In order to see if I could make this happen, I sent out a letter to local theatres inviting representatives to a meeting at my flat. Thus, Theatre Bay Area (originally Theatre Communications Center of the Bay Area) was born.
I served for four years as the executive director, an unpaid job that involved coordinating volunteers to produce Callboard (now Theatre Bay Area magazine), establish a talent bank, publish the first theatre directory, create the original version of TIX, obtain nonprofit status, and apply for grants. Eventually, I also supervised our first paid staff person, supplied by CETA [the 1973 Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, an initiative that funded training for workers in public service].
During the early years the TBA office was in my home, but with the CETA employee came TBA's first real office, at the Orpheum Theatre. Finally, thank goodness, we received a grant large enough to hire a paid executive director, and I turned all my responsibilities over to the first paid executive director, secure in the knowledge that all the work I, and many, many early volunteers had done would be carried forward. Now, almost 40 years later, I'm amazed and very pleased to see how successful TBA has become. It has not only achieved the goals we envisioned when we began the organization back in the mid 1970s, it has gone beyond them. (See the January 1996 Callboard for more about TBA's early history.)
Tell us a bit about your theatre work.
I earned a master's degree in Theatre Arts at Northwestern University, and then taught theatre arts and directed at Northern Michigan University. It was at NMU that I discovered that directing was probably my strongest passion. During the summers when I was not teaching, I got a couple of acting gigs in summer stock, one at the Lincoln Opera House in New Hampshire, and another at the Wyoming Summer Theatre in Laramie. Other than that, and the years described above, when I essentially did nothing theatrically other than work on TBA, I have acted and directed here and there, where and when I had the opportunity to do so. I have also done a bit of playwriting.
Do you have a resource or piece of advice you'd like to share?
Even if the need to earn a living and other practical concerns cause you to do other things, it's important to also find some way to stay consistently connected and involved with whatever you feel passionate about.
Anything coming up soon that you're excited about?
Yes. Currently I feel excited about an invitation I've received from the Fairfax Theatre Company to direct my own original play To Catch a Kingfish. It's a historical drama that depicts the tender seventeen-year love affair between actress Nell Gwyn and Charles II, as well as the historical events that were going on in England at the time. We are going to need lots of actors, plus lots of those angels who work on all the other equally important aspects of the production. I invite anyone interested in receiving more information, including audition dates, to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Theatre Bay Area members: Creative. Committed. Community.