Change, in all its forms and variations, will be center stage at Theatre Bay Area's Annual Conference on Monday, April 13, hosted by Berkeley Repertory Theatre. This year's theme, "Be the Change," references the many forces coming together to reshape the theatrical landscape in the Bay Area and beyond.
"It's an exciting time to convene our members and partners, as Theatre Bay Area itself has just completed its strategic plan, funded by the Flora and William Hewlett Foundation. The year-long process, coupled with a survey of our members, enabled us to discover what is important to build upon and what activities may have to end," says executive director Brad Erickson.
One visible change for Theatre Bay Area is its magazine transitioning to exclusively online after the May/June issue. What started as a mimeographed sheet 40 years ago has grown into the preeminent Bay Area publication for theatre companies, actors, playwrights, and those who love performing arts. "The most popular parts of Theatre Bay Area magazine will continue, and Theatre Bay Area members can choose to have certain journalistic categories, such as audition notices and job listings, pushed to them through email. It's time to make the move completely to convenient, electronic communications," continued Erickson.
In a recent survey of 500 local artists, Theatre Bay Area was the #1 source of auditions and theatre jobs in the Bay Area and the #1 place for directors and companies to post for actors and other theatre artists.
Other changes at Theatre Bay Area, as a result of its strategic planning process, include:
• A greater focus on audience engagement and helping theatre companies build a bigger base
• Strengthening the tools TBA offers artists throughout the trajectory of their careers
• Engaging theatre-makers in an annual awards program that recognizes achievement
• Working with members to advocate on behalf of the performing arts and making the San Francisco Bay Area recognized as a center of excellence for live theatre
Erickson will discuss the strategic planning process in more detail at the conference. Registration is now open for the all-day gathering, which will be held in the East Bay on April 13. Other highlights include panels on gender parity, innovations in audience interactions, and a Playwrights' Cabaret featuring new work from emerging writers. A complete agenda for the day and pricing can be found at theatrebayarea.org/?page=AnnualConference.
Everyone interested in theatre and the Bay Area performing arts community is welcome.
Update: Robert Hurwitt at the SF Chronicle has this to say about the shuttering of TBA's print magazine.