By Brad Erickson
It’s the beginning of December, we’re nearing the close of 2015, and Theatre Bay Area stands at the brink of a huge milestone—our 40th anniversary year. Four decades ago, a group of theatre artists and leaders of local companies came together to launch an organization with the express purpose of uniting, strengthening, promoting and advancing the theatre community here in the Bay Area; Theatre Bay Area was created by this community, for this community. Forty years later we are honored to serve more than 300 theatre company members, 2,000+ theatre artist members and literally tens of thousands of theatre patrons located all around the region.
As our 40th year quickly approaches, we are excited to mark this anniversary by embracing a bold new strategic plan. Our goal is to see every individual and every community in the Bay Area experience the particular power of theatre. To that end, we have committed ourselves to focus our efforts on three major areas:
• Equipping theatre-makers for success: We support the theatre-makers of the Bay Area with essential services and resources, programs that put grants into the hands of artists and companies, that assist theatre-makers in forwarding their careers and that empower theatre companies to better their work and reach new audiences.
• Recognizing artistic achievement: We celebrate the region’s artists and companies through an exciting new program, the TBA Awards, now entering its third year. The TBA Awards culminate each November with the glittering TBA Awards Celebration, hosted for the past two years by A.C.T. at the historic Geary Theater.
• Developing audiences: We work to bring more people, more fully reflecting the diversity of the Bay Area, to be more deeply engaged with theatre through a number of one-of-a-kind programs that link thousands of Bay Area residents and visitors to the dazzling variety of theatre offerings all around the region.
Now, with 40 just around the corner, we are readying ourselves for the future by launching an unprecedented campaign to create our first-ever Innovation Fund. The Innovation Fund will enable us to create forward-looking new programs and enhance legacy services. Our aim is to offer the best possible services to help theatre-makers successfully approach the realities of today’s Bay Area.
How? New ideas abound. To become real they need resources—“risk capital,” as angel investors would say. Theatre Bay Area needs risk capital to support our region’s theatre-makers in times of enormous change.
Our Innovation Fund Campaign takes flight today. With five levels of participation, starting at just $40, we aim to include our whole community in building a Theatre Bay Area for the next 40 years. A Theatre Bay Area created by our community for our community. Watch for more on our Innovation Fund Campaign coming soon.
Brad Erickson is executive director of Theatre Bay Area.