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Welcome to Backstage: The TBA Blog! This is the place for Theatre Bay Area announcements, info on upcoming events, grant deadlines, ticket giveaways, shout-outs and special profiles of featured members. Visit early and often!

 

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2016 Annual Conference Perspectives and Photos

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Building an event as large as the Annual Conference takes all kinds of input. In establishing a theme, determining the highest-priority topics facing our community and the field, engaging special guests with relevant expertise and planning (not to mention scheduling!) each individual breakout session, program director Dale Albright consults with TBA’s two advisory committees—the Theatre Services Committee (TSC) and Individual Services Committee (ISC)—as well as welcoming ideas, suggestions and requests from all TBA members.


A record-breaking number of attendees filled the 2016 TBA Annual Conference,
held at Berkeley Repertory Theatre on March 28. Photo: Cheshire Isaacs 

This year, the results were phenomenal. Not only did registration numbers easily top previous years, with 425 enthusiastic theatre-makers in attendance, but kudos have been rolling in from all sides. This year’s conference was, we are realizing, something very special for a lot of people—some of whom wrote to us to tell us so: 

“Congratulations on one of the best TBA Conferences of recent years.
The conversation was rich and the stakes were high. It felt really
important to be there and I learned a lot from the experience.
I'm proud to be a member of TBA. Here is to the next 40 years!”
—Torange Yeghiazarian, founding artistic director, Golden Thread Productions
 

  


Greg Reiner (director of theatre and musical theatre, National Endowment for the Arts),
Diane Rodriguez (associate artistic director, Center Theatre Group) and Teresa Eyring
(executive director, Theatre Communications Group) at the 2016 TBA Annual Conference.
Photo: Cheshire Isaacs 

TBA staffers are still putting the finishing touches on the video that was taken the day of the conference, but we want to share with you the amazing photos that capture the spirit of the day. So please visit the 2016 Annual Conference album on TBA’s Facebook page to see the whole day in pictures! 


2015 conference plenary speaker Mina Morita (artistic director, Crowded Fire Theater) and
Erica Chong Shuch (artistic director, Erica Chong Shuch Performance Project) at the 2016
TBA Annual Conference. Photo: Cheshire Isaacs 

And, as always, we love to hear what you think. If you have feedback on this year’s conference, or suggestions for next year, we welcome you to send them to tba@theatrebayarea.org. Thanks!

 

Tags:  advocacy  Annual Conference 

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State of the Art Address: Annual Conference 2016

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Updated: Monday, April 4, 2016
By Brad Erickson

Well, here we are, at the closing plenary of another Annual Conference, a day when we’ve been focusing on “bright spots”—looking at the makers and the methods that are working, that are succeeding in making real change happen. We’ve brought thinkers and leaders from around the country here today so we could have the opportunity to learn from them—and, just as importantly, so they could have a chance to meet and hear from all of you, the artists and leaders of this incredible Bay Area theatre community. When we’re looking for bright spots—for people and ideas that are making a difference—many, many of them can be found right here, and your successes in making change real are helping to lead our whole field forward.


Last year at this plenary, I unveiled to you our new strategic plan, something that not only continues to excite us but is making real change happen within this organization. Our plan is one of hope, and the future we see is a brighter and better Bay Area than the one of today—in very real ways because of the work all of you are doing. But none of us operates in a vacuum, and recent months and years have been filled with sometimes unspeakable anguish. The place names tell tragedies in a single word: Ferguson, Staten Island, Charleston, West Oakland, Hunters Point, Syria, Greece, Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino. We’ve agonized through the horror of the current political dialogue where group after group has been vilified and degraded: immigrants, Mexicans, African Americans, Syrian refugees, Muslims, women, the disabled, the rich and the poor, the homeless and the billionaires. All have been attacked, disrespected and made the scapegoat for every manner of evil—real and imagined. And just this past week we’ve seen a law passed in North Carolina that denies basic civil rights to gay, lesbian, trans and bisexual people.

It’s a disheartening time. One where our communities here in the Bay Area are being torn apart by an economic boom that is making millionaires of 20-year-olds and pushing artists and workers, nonprofits and theatres out of their homes. A time when our nation is more divided than at any moment since the 1960s, and maybe even the 1860s—a pretty sobering thought.

At times, it feels like the divisions and divisiveness of the larger world has penetrated deeply into our own community. There are divides between the haves and the have-nots, the big-budget companies and the small, the included and excluded, between whites and non-whites, between men and women, between gender conforming and non-conforming, between the able-bodied and the disabled, between the Boomer, Millenial, X, Y and Z Generations and on and on.

I would assert that in this time—this troubled time—we need theatre and theatre-makers now more than ever. And we need a fully inclusive and equitable theatre now more than ever. And here’s why. For at least three big reasons: 

  • For the sake of social justice and fairness
  • For the sake of simple economics
  • For the sake of our audiences, our communities and our nation

One of the first arguments put forward for inclusion is one of social justice. Simple fairness. It often gets framed something like this: Z Group (name an under-represented demographic) make up X percent of the total population of the United States, but only Y percent (an appallingly low number) of the total number of theatre-makers (artists, administrators or leaders, depending on the study). Clearly, goes the argument, this is unjust, and something must be done to bring the numbers of Z Group theatre-makers to full parity. As Viola Davis, the first black woman to win an Emmy, so beautifully put it, “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

The argument is strong and virtually impossible to refute. And rarely does anyone try, at least directly. What might be heard, in terms of pushback, is the need for time, for evolutionary rather than revolutionary change, for more Z Group theatre-makers in the “pipeline.” But almost no one says the argument is false, that Z Group theatre-makers shouldn’t be fully represented in the American theatre.

We know that our stages, our theatre companies—this service organization—do not look like the world around us or the community we live in. We know this. And we, as a field, are engaged in efforts to make change happen. We are talking, we are making space for conversation—as we are today—which is important and necessary as a start. And we are developing programs and initiatives to address the issue—as TCG is doing, as Carmen Morgan is doing at artEquity, as many of you are doing in your own theatres.

And the dial is starting to budge—slowly and with great effort. Now, here’s some transparency and also a case study of how complex this work of inclusion can be. In preparing this address, I thought about this organization, about Theatre Bay Area, about how our own gaps in reflecting the full diversity of our region, and I considered our recent hires—eight people in the past several years. Of those eight people, one was a white male, two were white women, and five were people of color. And yet we have today the same ratio of whites to non-whites on staff that we did three years ago. And we have to ask ourselves why. How can that be? And while we realize that hiring is crucial, what about retention? About development and promotion? We will have to acknowledge that there are very likely other factors that we need to address if we are to going to make real the progress that we want to see for ourselves. As your service organization, we will need your help—and we will also need you to hold us accountable.

So, social justice is the first reason. There’s a second reason—far less lofty but just as real. Inclusion is just good business. We all know the demographic trends in the country as a whole, and we know the Bay Area is way ahead of the curve. Fortune 500 companies, many of them, spend millions of dollars to diversify their staffs and vendors, to make their work environments more inclusive, and to tailor their products and their messages to appeal to a diverse population. They do this not because it is morally right—and I’m not saying that there is no sense of ethics inside the corporate world—but the main motivating factor for these companies is the bottom line. And for them, inclusion makes the best economic sense.

As an aside, before coming to Theatre Bay Area, my day job was at an organization called the Northern California Minority Supplier Development Council—a mouthful—and our mission, as a nonprofit, was to promote and advance ethnic minority-owned companies as suppliers and vendors to major corporations. Essentially affirmative action for business. It was major corporations—along with the heads of minority companies—who sat on our board and who sponsored our work. Because it was good for business. If it’s true for corporate America that inclusion makes good economic sense, it must be true for our field as well.

The third reason is what inclusion means—not just for us, as individual theatre-makers, or for the long-term viability of our companies—but what full inclusion means for our audiences. What does it mean for audience members to see a fully inclusive world on our stages? When this point is raised, it is generally from the perspective of how important it is to recognize ourselves, our own experiences, our own communities on stage. To hear our own stories. It’s a potent assertion, to be sure. “Social bonding,” as our friend, researcher Alan Brown, explains in his intrinsic impact research—which we commissioned—is enormously important for us as human beings. Personally, I remember what it meant for me to come to San Francisco from the Midwest in the mid-1980s and to see, for the first time, gay and lesbian people portrayed on stage, at Theatre Rhinoceros, the only LGBT venue in town at that time, and one of the only in the nation. It was transforming. I felt for the first time that I had a place and a role to play in the larger community—and in the theatre—just as I was.

As crucial as it is to give voice and to hear our own stories, there is another argument for full inclusion that we could hear far more about, especially at this troubled time, and that how essential it is for all of us, from every demographic and psychographic group, to see on stage the lives of people who are not like ourselves. In an interview last year for TCG, Impact Theatre’s artistic director, Melissa Hillman, whom many of you know very well, was asked by playwright Jaqueline Lawton (an African American), “What is the most significant challenge—or opportunity—facing the world, and what difference can theatre make?” Hillman replied, “Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Lack of empathy,” she asserted, “underlies literally every social ill: racism and bigotry, misogyny, economic oppression, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, Islamophobia, you name it. War, income disparity, rape—every kind of violence, every kind of injustice.” And Melisa added, that as theatre-makers, “We run this. Empathy is at the core of what we do as storytellers... and stories create empathy.”  Bill English, artistic director of San Francisco Playhouse (producer of this year’s Glickman Award-winning play), tells audiences during his curtain speech at the top of every single performance that the theatre is an “empathy gym,” affording us all a chance to meet and feel the lives of people who are very unlike ourselves.

Alan Brown would call this “social bridging,” bringing people from one context closer to people in another. Try Googling “theatre empathy” and see the number of studies (not issued by theatre professionals) that directly link increased empathy to theatre experiences. Some of these studies point to “mirror neurons,” nerve cells that make it possible for us to understand what another person is feeling and intending. We are hard-wired for empathy. When we are caught up in riveting narrative experience, our mirror neurons are shooting rapid-fire messages to our brains, which respond as if we ourselves were actually involved in the story. Our mirror neurons make the phrase “I know how you feel,” literally true, and our art form is one that makes that experience powerfully possible.

The work of inclusion necessarily means that we must acknowledge exclusion. We must name our differences and privilege, and we must take a close look at what is keeping people out and down, and this is hard and can feel exhausting and even depressing. I’ll confess sometimes it feels that way to me.

But for me it is also incredibly encouraging and heartening, this passion for inclusion in our field. People want in. Young people. Trans people. People of color. Women. LGBTQ people. Even straight white cis male people. All kinds of people want in. Into an art form where we sometimes question our own relevance. It’s reassuring, it’s inspiring, how important it is to so many who have been left outside to come in. Let’s welcome them. Let’s welcome us all—to this art form, to this community that we love. So that we can truly make change happen. In our field. In our communities. In our nation. And in our world.



Brad Erickson is executive director of Theatre Bay Area.

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A Big #TBACon16 Thank You!

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Theatre Bay Area would like to give its heartfelt thanks to everyone who attended the 2016 Annual Conference yesterday. To all of the day's speakers, moderators, participants and volunteers: your presence, your passion and your voices made for an immensely successful gathering. Thank you!

TBA would especially like to thank the following sponsors for supporting our community at this stellar event:

 

 

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Featured Member: Tanya Telson

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Interview by Laura Ng


With a decade of experience in theatre work, a degree in scenic design and membership in an organization of gamers, AEA stage manager Tanya Telson is an unabashed proponent for her craft and others hooked on the rush of rallying their wits to ensure that the show goes on.


TBA featured member Tanya Telson. 


Tell us about your career path—how did you choose to go into stage management?

There was a program at my local community college called the Young Actor’s Workshop. A friend of mine wanted me to audition, and when I did not get into the program, that same friend encouraged me to sign up for their theatre tech program. I had just turned 13 and had nothing to do that summer, so it seemed like a good idea. From that program, I was exposed to the range of work it takes to put on a show from backstage and decided to strive for a career in theatre.

What did joining AEA change for you? 

Joining AEA was a specific goal I had, and I was thrilled to achieve it. I am a firm believer that my work has merit both artistically and as support for a production. Calling myself a professional is something I don’t take lightly, as it has a great amount of responsibility and expectation. When a show runs smoothly, I know my work has paid off.

Favorite project/production that you’ve been part of?

It is common superstition in theatre to claim that the “Scottish Play” (Macbeth) is cursed. It was one of the first shows I stage managed, as a teenager stage earning college credit. The theatre department had upgraded their lighting console system just before the performances started—and the night before our closing matinee, something went wrong, and the dimmer system was not operational. Rather than cancel the show, the director decided that we were going to use the college’s outdoor amphitheatre and do our final performance outside. I went from calling light and sound cues to learning foley—creating live sound effects from teacups, bells, sword fragments and wooden dowels. I had one chance to get the cues right, and rose to the occasion. That experience is what I look back to when people say, “the show must go on.” That urgency—to give a performance despite the obstacles—is what makes theatre endure and is a memory I have kept as a life lesson.

Favorite activities outside of theatre?

I am part of an organization of Live Action Roleplay (LARP) gamers. This type of gaming is actually a close cousin of theatre, in the way it encourages dress-up (costuming), creating characters (acting) and integrating those characters into a story through scenarios crafted by a “storyteller” (improv). I also like to provide atmospheric items (props and scenery) to give people a sense of location. This activity has helped me understand the importance of designated spaces to express and create characters organically. Gaming has made me aware of how important the comfort and safety of rehearsal spaces are to the artistic process of an actor.

What do you like about Bay Area theatre and being a TBA member?

I grew up in the Bay Area; this is the place that gave me the concept that stage managers are theatre artists. There is a sense of “can-do” with the community here that is not always about going above and beyond the call of duty, but asking for what you need and figuring out creative ways to get it. I initially joined TBA because it had the most comprehensive and relevant job postings for stage management. When I started reading the articles, I found it to be informative about local shows and people I have worked with, or hope to work with in the future.

Anything coming up soon that you’re excited about?

Recently, 3Girls Theatre Company has taken me on as its resident stage manager. Not only does this give me the opportunity to stage-manage new works, it has increased my interest in reaching out to other stage managers and aspiring stage managers in the area. Since 3GT is a relatively new company, I am trying to foster relationships with educational programs that include stage management in their curriculums. My goal is to create a place in which we can train up-and-coming stage managers by having them work with the AEA stage managers involved in their shows. Giving people the chance to learn on their feet is something I believe is useful.

I also have been applying to grad school because I have skills that need some brushing up. It is a little intimidating admitting that, in my mid-30s, I still have much to learn about my craft. My undergraduate degree is in scenic design, so going back to specialize in stage management will give me additional perspective, especially since I have been working in the Bay Area for the past 10 years. I would like to take my experience and learn how to mold it for future productions—both locally and in other places. I am interested in touring productions; I would like to stay with a show for a long run and see how different spaces frame the shows.

 

Theatre Bay Area members: Creative. Committed. Community. 

 

Tags:  3girls theatre company  Featured Member  stage management 

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Program Director Note: Even More From the General Auditions

Posted By TBA Staff, Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, March 15, 2016

By Dale Albright


 TBA program director Dale Albright.

I never cease to be amazed at the collaborative nature of the Bay Area theatre community. Even at an event as stressful as the Theatre Bay Area General Auditions can be, auditors and actors alike often look at it not only as a chance to connect roles with talent, but as an opportunity to reconnect with friends and colleagues and, yes, even to pass along words of wisdom.

This year, as part of the survey we do annually for auditors attending the General Auditions, we asked: “If you could give one piece of feedback to all of the actors who auditioned this weekend, what would it be?” Below you will find a sampling of responses from casting professionals who observed the 2016 Theatre Bay Area General Auditions.

1. Don’t be afraid to own the room.

2. Enjoy yourself when on stage! Relax a little and let your creativity shine!

3. Ensure your resume is properly formatted. (For helpful resume tips, click here.)

4. If you’re going to do two pieces (and you probably should), make sure that they contrast enough to show your range.

5. Plan accordingly so that you can take your time before you start. Rushing robs us and you of the time to settle into your audition. Build some breathing space into your audition!

6. Your audition begins the moment you walk onto the stage (or into the room). Act like you are happy to be there. Don’t save your pleasant nature for the moment you say goodbye at the end.

7. Singers arguably have more to worry about at this kind of an audition. Be sure you are prepared to knock it out of the park if you plan on singing (visit a vocal coach, take advantage of the TBA Dress Rehearsal, etc.).

8. Print or write the names of your audition pieces on your resume. Each of the casting directors who attends the General Auditions collects a stack of over 300 headshots. When we dig through these headshots several months from now, looking for a specific actor for a specific show, seeing the names of your audition pieces helps us to distinguish you from the of dozens of actors whom we met in a whirlwind. If you performed a gorgeous Juliet monologue that made us feel wonderful about you, then the words, "Audition pieces: (1) Juliet from Romeo & Juliet; (2) Catherine from Proof by David Auburn," written legibly on your resume, could make all the difference in the world. Help us remember you.

9. Remember that we’re on your side—we want to be able to cast you just as much as you want us to cast you.

10. Don’t forget that your first 10-15 seconds are quite important.

11. If you perform your song second (last), it gives the accompanist a chance to review your music while you are doing your first monologue.

12. Don’t do Hermia from Midsummer. Over done.

13. Remember that many of us save your headshot for three years, so don’t give up hope if you don’t get a call this month!

 

 

Dale Albright is program director for Theatre Bay Area, as well as an actor and freelance director. 

 

Tags:  casting  casting director  program director's note  TBA general auditions 

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From the Executive Director: Inclusion—What Is It Good For?

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, March 8, 2016
By Brad Erickson


Earlier this month, the Academy Awards were presented in Hollywood under a cloud of controversy, even anguish. As anyone who hasn’t spent the last year in outer space must know, for the second year in a row, nominees for the Academy’s most high-profile awards were all Caucasian. That announcement set off an immediate and explosive outcry that continues to reverberate.

While the Oscars put Hollywood’s lack of inclusion at the top of the news cycle for weeks, the truth is the film industry has been sorely lacking in diversity for—well—forever. Given the attention that the topic of inclusion has been given within the American theatre sector, some in our community might have been tempted to enjoy a twinge of schadenfreude over the controversy. At least we’re not as bad as they are! 

Maybe we are and maybe we aren’t (though I think it’s arguable theatre is at least a few steps further down the path of inclusion than our big-screen cousins), but the renewed attention to diversity can give everyone in the performing arts an opportunity to reflect, again, on the question: “inclusion—what is it good for?”

Many of the arguments put forward come from a social justice perspective, often framed something like this: Z Group (an underrepresented demographic) make up X percent of the total population of the United States, but only Y percent (an appallingly low number) of the total number of theatre-makers (artists, administrators or leaders, depending on the study). Clearly this is unjust, and something must be done—now—to bring the numbers of Z Group theatre-makers to full parity. As Viola Davis, the first black woman to win an Emmy, put it at that award event last year, “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” 

The argument is strong and difficult to refute. And rarely does anyone try, at least directly. What might be heard, in terms of pushback, is the need for time, for evolutionary change, for more Z Group theatre-makers in the “pipeline.” But almost no one says that the argument is false, that Z Group theatre-makers shouldn’t be fully represented in the American theatre. We just need a chance to get there, some say. 

There is another argument for inclusion, one that is at least as powerful as inequity in employment, and that is what it means for the audience to see a fully inclusive world on our stages. If the point is raised, it is generally from the perspective of how important it is to recognize ourselves, our own experiences, our own communities on stage. It’s a potent assertion, to be sure. “Social bonding,” as researcher Alan Brown explains in his research on intrinsic impact, is hugely important for us as humans. Personally, I remember what it meant for me to come to San Francisco in the mid-1980’s and see, for the first time, gay and lesbian people portrayed on stage, at Theatre Rhinoceros—the only LGBT venue in town, and one of the only in the nation, at the time. It was transforming. 

An argument we could hear more of is how important it is for all of us, from every demographic and psychographic group, to see on stage the lives of people who are not like ourselves. In an interview last year for Theatre Communications Group, Impact Theatre’s artistic director, Melissa Hillman, was asked by playwright Jacqueline Lawton, “What is the most significant challengeor opportunityfacing the world, and what difference can theatre make?” Hillman replied, “Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Lack of empathy underlies literally every social ill: racism and bigotry, misogyny, economic oppression, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, Islamophobia, you name it. War, income disparity, rapeevery kind of violence, every kind of injustice.” She added that, as theatre-makers, “We run this. Empathy is at the core of what we do as storytellers...and stories create empathy.” Bill English, artistic director of SF Playhouse (producer of this year’s Will Glickman Award-winning play), tells audiences during his curtain speech at the top of every performance that the theatre is an “empathy gym,” affording us all a chance to meet and feel the lives of characters who are very unlike ourselves.

Alan Brown would call this “social bridging,” bringing people from one context closer to people in another. Try Googling “theatre empathy” and see the number of studies (not issued by theatre professionals) that link increased empathy directly to theatre experiences. Some of these studies point to “mirror neurons,” nerve cells that make it possible for us to understand what another person is feeling and intending. When caught up in riveting narrative experience, our mirror neurons are shooting rapid-fire messages to our brains, which respond as if we ourselves were actually involved in the story. Our mirror neurons make the phrase, “I know how you feel,” literally true, and our art form is one that makes that experience possible. 

When asking, “inclusion—what is it good for?” empathy might be the most powerful response of all. 



Brad Erickson is executive director of Theatre Bay Area.

Tags:  diversity  Glickman Award  Intrinsic Impact 

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Featured Member: Davied Morales

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Updated: Friday, February 19, 2016

Interview by Laura Ng 

With credits that include performance on stage as well as in film, rap and web series, Davied Morales’ animated presence at the 2016 General Auditions easily caught the attention of theatre-makers in even the farthest corners of the expansive Marines’ Memorial Theatre. Read more about this week’s TBA featured member before his rising career takes off. 



TBA featured member Davied Morales.

 

You’ve accomplished a lot of interesting crossover work—not only acting onstage, but also counting experience in film, app commercials and web series. Tell us about what’s gratifying and/or challenging about working in such a range of disciplines? 

Honestly, I feel theatre chose me, because growing up I always wanted to be an actor. I started taking drama classes in 7th grade at Castillero Middle School after seeing my friend on stage perform during an assembly the previous year. Since then, I’ve never stopped taking classes. In college, opportunities started presenting themselves, especially with the De Anza Film Department and being a part of the Theatre Program at Foothill College, where I received my AA. Something I find challenging about being involved in such a wide range of work is figuring out where to devote my time. Each platform of acting has a special place in my heart, but unfortunately, I can’t do everything at the same time. The most satisfying part of working in these different fields would be the relationships I have built with the various casts and crews I’ve worked with. I mean, what’s better than people coming together to work on something they believe in?
 

Favorite project/production that you’ve been part of or inspired by?

My favorite project I have worked on so far would be First Person Shooter at Foothill College, directed by Tom Gough. Prior to this show, I’d been in many plays and played main characters on film, but this was my first lead in a stage production. The character I got to play, Daniel Jamison, was a complete stretch for me—but thanks to a great director who had faith in me and a great cast, it was an unforgettable experience and I enjoyed performing the show every night.
 

Your resume lists a wide range of skills as well, including juggling, hip-hop dance, IPA, Indian dialects, recording and mixing vocals—and the culinary arts! Has being versatile made any surprising contributions to your art?

Each one of my special skills has definitely added to my acting. Whether it was cooking in the kitchen with my mom, playing sports with teammates, or taking a dance class, they have all helped me grow as a person and gain life experience. A secondary passion of mine that is constantly contributing to my success would be my love for music. I am a rapper and songwriter (stage name Dav @activepoet) and I believe these acquired skills have given me a new level of confidence while performing, keep me busy creating, and eager to learn more about this entertainment industry I want a career in. 

What do you like about the Bay Area theatre scene, and being a TBA member?

I love the Bay Area theatre scene. It seems like every day I am finding out about more theatre companies, thanks to Theatre Bay Area, and I’m finding more and more opportunities within this community. Even though I am a new member of Theatre Bay Area, I enjoy being informed about all that is going on in the Bay and in the whole theatre world. It’s really encouraging seeing and being a part of community of so many working artists. 

Anything coming up soon that you are excited about?

I am currently working with TheatreWorks on a school tour this March of Oskar and the Countless Costume Changes, which is all about gender expression and encouraging children to be whoever they want to be, no matter what others believe. I’m also excited to announce that I will be playing the part of Anthony in the South Bay premiere of I and You at City Lights Theater Company in downtown San Jose this May-June.


Theatre Bay Area members: Creative. Committed. Community. 


Tags:  Featured Member 

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Career Workshops Offering Drop-in Slots

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Hello, theatre-makers!

Have you ever wanted to know how to manage your time more effectively? How to set personalized, achievable career goals? How to balance your work with the rest of your life? Of course you have! Many, if not most, artists face these challenges.

As part of its commitment to equip Bay Area theatre-makers for success, TBA is offering workshops addressing these exact topics this month. Normally, these 90-minute skill-building sessions are available only to participants in the ATLAS career training program, but TBA is making a limited number of seats available to the public on a drop-in basis.

Read below to see what you’ll learn in each, and register today!

 

Workshop: Time Management

Instructor: Morrie Warshawski
Saturday, Feb. 20 (9:30-11:00 a.m.)


Ah, time. We all wish we had more of it—and artists, as a rule, consistently express frustration about how to utilize it best. This 90-minute workshop will help you identify what motivates you, accept what’s out of your control, and find out what the heck a circadian rhythm is—and why it might just be the breakthrough you need. This key career-boosting session, part of the 2016 round of our ATLAS for Actors career training program, is available to artists of any discipline on a drop-in registration basis.

 

 
About the instructor: Morrie Warshawski has worked in the nonprofit arts and culture sector for more than 30 years, bringing a commitment to the core values of creativity, thoughtful¬ness, transparency and tolerance. He has served as the executive director of three nonprofit arts organizations, including the Bay Area Video Coalition in San Francisco. Since 1986, he has been a consultant specializing in strategic planning with nonprofit organizations, individual artists, state arts agencies and a local arts council, as well as community cultural planning with cities and counties. He served for six years as a consultant and regional coordinator for the National Endowment for the Arts’ Advancement Program, which provided 15 months of planning support for arts organizations. 

As a writer, Morrie has created A State Arts Agency Toolkit for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and Lessons Learned, a website on planning for the NEA. He is the author of two books on fundraising: The Fundraising Houseparty: How to Party with a Purpose and Raise Money for Your Cause and Shaking the Money Tree: The Art of Getting Grants and Donations for Film and Video. Morrie is also the originator and moderator of the Strategic Planning for Nonprofits Group on LinkedIn (with over 50,000 members worldwide). 

Workshop location: Theatre Bay Area offices, 1119 Market St., 2nd Floor, SF
Cost: Theatre Bay Area members: $40; nonmembers: $65
Register today!


Workshop: Personalized Goal Setting

Instructor: Velina Brown
Saturday, Feb. 20 (11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.) 


In this 90-minute session, Bay Area theatre luminary and Business of Show Business columnist Velina Brown will help you articulate what is important to you in your life and career, turn these important values into a framework for developing your own personalized goals and, finally, identify the steps that you can take to get there. Participate in this “dream big” workshop and emerge with the beginnings of steps to move to another level. This crucial career-transforming session, part of the 2016 round of our ATLAS for Actors career training program, is available to artists of any discipline on a drop-in registration basis.

About the instructor: Velina Brown is a singer, director, award-winning actor and career columnist for Theatre Bay Area. With a passion for challenging herself and her audience with socially relevant theatre, Velina is committed to fostering new works on stage and screen, and to supporting those vibrant voices shaping theatre and film, and that will change the world. Velina has appeared with many local theatres, such as American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, Shotgun Players, Magic Theatre, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Eureka Theatre, TheatreWorks, The Willows and Thick Description as well as national companies Denver Center Theatre Company, Oregon Cabaret Theatre and many others. Velina is also a longtime member of the Tony and OBIE Award-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe, where she has been a principal actor in over a decade and a half’s worth of world-premiere musical comedies and dramas, touring throughout the United States and internationally. Velina is a two-time winner of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle award as Outstanding Supporting Actress. Velina has credits in film, television, radio commercials and industrial films and has also voiced several computer games. 

Velina also graduated Magna Cum Laude from San Francisco State University, and has a Master’s Degree in counseling. Combining that training with her skill and experience as a working actor has developed her career and life coaching service, The Business of Show Biz. She also has a monthly column of the same name with Theatre Bay Area, where she shares her talent and advice with both novice and experienced actors as they strive to share their passions, becoming the brave, challenging artists they want to be.

Workshop location: Theatre Bay Area offices, 1119 Market St., 2nd Floor, SF
Cost: Theatre Bay Area members: $40; nonmembers: $65
Register today!


Workshop: Navigating Your Life as an Artist

Instructor: Valerie Weak
Monday, Feb. 29 (6:30-8 p.m.)

Individual artists usually wear many hats: stage actor, director, teaching artist, voice-over artist…the list goes on and on. How can artists establish a framework for themselves that allows them to search for work, negotiate agreements, complete the work effectively and balance their own individual needs? What kind of work should artists be looking for? What’s a job, as opposed to a career, as opposed to a calling? And what tools might you need for each?

About the instructor: Valerie Weak is an actor and theatre educator with a 15-year history in the San Francisco Bay Area with performing and teaching credits at theatres throughout the region, including San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Center REP, Word for Word and California Shakespeare Theater. Valerie also works on-camera and in voiceover, appearing in commercials, industrials and independent films. She stars in the irreverent indie comedy, The Snake, which was presented at SXSW by Patton Oswalt and can be streamed on Netflix. Valerie also uses her acting skills to train California police officers and medical students at UCSF and Stanford in communication and rapport building. 

Workshop location: Theatre Bay Area offices, 1119 Market St., 2nd Floor, SF
Cost: Theatre Bay Area members: $40; nonmembers: $65
Register today!

 

Tags:  Acting  ATLAS Program  time management  workshop 

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Program Director Note: After the Audition

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Updated: Thursday, February 11, 2016

By Dale Albright

 

Another year of the Theatre Bay Area General Auditions is behind us. Thanks so much to all of the actors, auditors, volunteers, Cassidy Brown (our emcee), Dave Miotke (our accompanist) and the Marines’ Memorial Theatre staff for another fun and successful year of connecting actors and theatre companies.


 TBA program director Dale Albright.

Now that the Generals are over, my mind is obviously drawn to what happens after this (or any) audition. For a quick recap of some thoughts about what to do after an audition, check out this article from the post-2015 Generals era.

Any moment now, the list of folks who audited the 2016 Theatre Bay Area auditions will be posted on the General Auditions page, so get that pen and paper (remember those things?) ready!

And to make the follow-up process even easier...coming soon to the TBA Online Store: printed mailing labels for our TBA member companies!

It’s important to remember that your work isn’t done when the audition ends. So much of what happens after an audition is out of your control—but this isn’t! Take a moment to keep the momentum going and I can virtually guarantee you that you will stand out.

 

Dale Albright is program director for Theatre Bay Area, as well as an actor and freelance director. 

 

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In Memoriam: Joe Weatherby

Posted By TBA Staff, Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, February 9, 2016

By Linda Ayres-Frederick and Dale Albright

The San Francisco theatre community has suffered an irreplaceable loss with the passing of Joe Weatherby, actor, director, writer, producer and all-around good guy. Born on June 28, 1946 in Nova Scotia,  Joe “shuffled off this mortal coil” on February 6, 2016. Joe truly loved live theatre, from the inside as much as from the outside. He would often travel to New York or London and see as many shows as he could, sometimes seeing two (or more) performances in a single day. He was a fine writer and his plays were always well received, also an excellent director who showed great insight into whatever scripts came his way, while always taking very great care of his actors. Anyone who had the great good fortune to be his friend can attest to what a wonderful, generous and fun-loving friend he was. 

Joe Weatherby.

Joe also served the art community with his business Taxes4Artists. Additionally, he founded a continuing education program at Kaiser to improve communications between doctors, their patients and their colleagues. Born Joseph Anthony Weatherby, he held a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Central Michigan University. Joe is survived by his sisters, Jeannie, Veronica and Nia, brothers Al, Bruce and Frank, many nieces, nephews and a host of loving friends. He will be sorely missed.

Theatre Bay Area is especially deeply indebted to Joe for his contributions to our community with his yearly tax workshop for artists, which he led for over 15 years, as well as numerous sessions for ATLAS participants. His knowledge and willingness to work with our community to “translate” such important financial information had an indelible impact on the lives of many artists.

A memorial celebration of his life will be held at the Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason Street (at Geary), Sixth Floor, SF 94102 on February 14, 2016 at 3pm. Please RSVP to Lbaf23@aol.com.


Tags:  ATLAS Program  training 

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