California Community Theatre's First Year
After several months of planning and research, the California Community Theatre website was launched in December 2015. Because of my involvement at AACT, I have seen the excitement and energy that occurs when a group of people with something in common get together and just...talk. Our state is huge, we are busy, and we are fully aware of our need for economy in what we do. A discussion with a fellow AACT member, an 'aha' moment while hosting a gathering for local community theatre folks on the Central Coast - who are making theatre less than 100 miles apart but were not aware of it - and a solid conviction that accessibility would be key all helped shape the concept to create a free website resource with a simple vision: to keep CA community theatres aware, connected, and sharing dialogue.
California Community Theatre published its first article in January, 2016, featuring our friends at Stage Rights. Later, we published an article on Musson Theatrical. We have links to member theatres who provide rentals of any type; whether you are looking for a location or costumes for your own production, or researching because you are interested in renting out your own facilities, this is a great way to quickly see what theatres provide rentals. We have fabulous resources right here in our state.
Over 50 theatres have joined as members in the first year!
We published an article about starting a community theatre in the Los Angeles area. Our feature articles have been on topics specific to you all, with a connection to a specific theatre, or connected to producing community theatre in California.
Our California Q's section with quick survey results share basic practices of your fellow theatres. We've got info ranging from ticketing software to staffing practices.
We featured 12 member theatres in our Feature Theatre spotlights. We're looking forward to having each of you featured as time goes on.
And We're Just Getting Started!
This coming year, there may be fewer feature articles while focusing some 'bigger picture' projects. In the long run, a revamp of the site is in order, and until then, I'll continue to work on making the existing site as user-friendly and fun to explore as possible. I hope to use suggestions and ideas from you about what topics you'd like to discuss in articles or surveys (thanks to those of you who have already reached out and whose inquiries have become the basis of our content!). Whenever possible, a feature article will have a tie-in subject matter from the feature theatre.
Here are a few other items in the works:
Completion of the Timeline on the museum page of the site so all current members have their founding date posted. If you haven't had a chance to explore that feature, check it out. It's a cool and quick way to learn the history of CA Community Theatres (stay tuned for more on this, and how your theatre can be part of a bigger archiving project on this subject - it's very exciting!).
Developing the 'How-To' page of the site as a resource. Keep an eye out for an email from me asking you to provide input on a specific topic for this. In the meantime, always feel free to let me know if you've accomplished something, have learned from a specific experience, or have any kind of theatre 'how to' idea or subject you want to brag about.
Continued work on the Photo Gallery: Again, if you have pictures of your facility, a specific show, seats, fundraiser - anything! - send pictures, and they will be posted. This can provide incredible inspiration and ideas for other theatres who don't have the chance to get to know you in person.
Conference Save the Date Announcement
Registration materials will be available soon for our inaugural California Community Theatre conference. I hope you'll join us in Rancho Mirage for the opportunity for sharing ideas, networking, and getting to know CA community theatres. For folks for whom this trek is too far, don't fret - I hope to make the conference annual, and change locations each go-around. I hope to find my way to the Northern California area for 2018. Please complete the interest survey if you haven't already!
And a Special Thanks to YOU - the Members!
Last, this website is for YOU. You all help build the content by responding to survey and article questions, by participating in feature theatre 'interviews,' by submitting show/audition/announcement info, and by asking questions about topics you are interested in. The purpose of the site is to help you all get to know one another, learn more about what others are doing around the state, and create a connection of shared ideas, problems solved, and inspiration. I hope you all find value in knowing what your colleagues are doing around the state, in learning what challenges are universal, and feeling somewhat closer to folks that are geographically far away. On this note, please do provide constructive feedback on what I can do to provide more of what YOU want, by filling out a feedback survey.
Thank you for being part of California Community Theatre. Here's to another exciting year together!