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TBA Online: News & Features: March 2015

Editor's Note March/April 2015: Make It So

Monday, March 9, 2015   (0 Comments)
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By Sam Hurwitt 



Well, spring is here. You don't need a groundhog to tell you the season's changing. You can tell because it's time for the spring preview issue of Theatre Bay Area magazine.


Photo: "change agent" by David King on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license. 

Inside the March/April issue we have our season preview listings, showing what member companies all over the Bay Area are cooking up for spring and summer. It's also our Youth Issue, in which we list summer camps and youth theatre classes available around the Bay. There are some great youth-related features in this magazine as well: Impact Theatre artistic director Melissa Hillman looks at what makes for a good stage parent, as opposed to the vexing popular stereotype; our digital content manager Laura Brueckner examines what people who work with teen actors think of as "age-appropriate" material; and Nirmala Nataraj interviews Rachel Fink, director of the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre.

Spring is a time of renewal, and hooboy, is there a lot of renewal going on over here at Theatre Bay Area. We just lost our kickass listings editor, Lily Janiak, to a sweet (or as she would say, rad) job as development manager at New Conservatory Theatre Center, and we've welcomed aboard a new listings editor, Kimberley Cohan.

Erstwhile director of field services Dale Albright is now program director, adding communications to the programs under his aegis. All this is happening during an intense and extensive strategic planning process that promises to bring some big changes to the organization. There will be more on that as it develops, but it's an interesting time to be here.

Change is in the air all over, in fact. I've been thinking about this a lot lately because I've been dealing with a death in the family and a bunch of other huge life changes following immediately in the wake of the wake. Everything's always changing, of course, but sometimes the big stuff all seems to come at once.

"Be the change" is the theme of Theatre Bay Area's Annual Conference on April 13 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, which you all should be planning to attend because it'll be freaking awesome. I always love the Annual Conference, just because it's such a joy to see this huge cross-section of the Bay Area theatre community all in one place, and it's a great opportunity to gather and talk about the thorny issues facing theatre-makers of all kinds.

When we started our strategic planning process, we asked local stakeholders what they'd want from a theatre services organization if they were to start one today, just as Bay Area theatre-makers came together to start Theatre Bay Area in 1976. The conference has a similar question running through it: "What kind of world/theatre/career do you imagine? Start making it so."

Of course, it's not that simple. It's never simple. But that doesn't mean it's not worth doing. If there's one thing all this change is driving home to me, it's that life's way too short not to get on with it and do what you've been meaning to do, or what you've been thinking that someone needs to do. Otherwise, what the hell are we even doing?

"Be the change you wish to see in the world" is more than just a bumper sticker, more than just a pithy slogan often erroneously attributed to Mahatma Gandhi (because everything's better when Gandhi supposedly said it). Sure, it's glib. But so what? If you're looking to change things, would you be more motivated by something like this?: "Well, you could try, but it'll be really hard, and there are a lot of forces stacked against you, and the odds are not good, but it really is a messed-up status quo and things really should change—it's just really unlikely that they will."

Sure, things are hard. Everything worth doing is hard. And nothing good ever came of not being willing to make the effort.

Sam Hurwitt is editor-in-chief for Theatre Bay Area. He is also the author of The Idiolect
, a blog about theatre, movies, comics, media and the decline and fall of Western civilization. Email