After 35 years of promoting and advancing the Bay Area theatre and dance community, we've touched a lot of people—and a lot of people have touched us. Today’s honoree: dedicated Theatre Bay Area board member Mark Jansen.
Who are you? Can you give us a little background about how you got to where you are today?
My name is Mark Jansen. My role in the theatre world has been as a volunteer, board member and as a theatregoer. In addition, I served from 1986 through 1996 as a board member of The Jewish Theatre (formerly named "A Traveling Jewish Theatre").
What is your history with Theatre Bay Area?
In 1985 I became a volunteer with Theatre Bay Area as a result of my being involved with Business Volunteers for the Arts. I was subsequently asked to join the Theatre Bay Area board, which I did in December 1986. Over these many years I have served at times as President and as Treasurer of the Board.
I have been involved with Theatre Bay Area over these many years because its values and mission not only help our Bay Area community but also can make the world a better place. One of its more recent focuses is on trying to measure the intrinsic impact of theatre on audience members. I think this is a wonderful direction to take, since I believe that exposure to theatre and the performing arts would enhance our common human experience.
You are being honored particularly for your association with Theatre Bay Area's Board of Directors. Please tell us about your association with that aspect of Theatre Bay Area.
I joined the Theatre Bay Area Board about 10 years after its formation. At that point, we primarily served theatre companies and individuals who worked in the theatre community. In 1992 we acquired out of bankruptcy an existing ticketing services operation that allowed us to provide services to the larger community.
I feel fortunate that I could help with the expansion of Theatre Bay Area into areas that serve the larger community. Over the years, I feel we have strengthened the theatre community’s connections with the theatre-going public, both current and potential.
Why is theatre important? What do you think your role is in making theatre a vital part of the civilization? How does Theatre Bay Area help?
I believe theatre is extremely important in that it helps us get a broader perspective on our lives and times. It helps us enhance our empathy. It provides insight into human nature. And it can provide historical perspective to inform our understanding of current events. There is something about the immediacy of live theatre that can bring depth and understanding to the world in which we now live.
In addition, the element of impermanence in live theatre gives each performance its own unique flavor. I liken live theatre to the ongoing communication between each of us and the universe. Each of us has our own unique take on a particular performance, which adds to our overall understanding of the human condition.
Theatre Bay Area supports the individual artists and theatre companies that give birth to this creativity. I’m glad we’ve also reached out more to audiences and other arts supporters to provide information and promote the performing arts.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Besides being a lover of theatre I am also an amateur musician (starting with piano and leading to violin and viola). I believe that exposure at an early age to the arts would help everyone personally and also our common humanity.
Click here for more information about the 35 Years, 35 Faces campaign.
Click here to donate to Theatre Bay Area in support of the 35 Years, 35 Faces campaign.
Click here to RSVP for the 35 Years, 35 Faces Celebration on April 30, 2012.