The 3rd Annual California Community Theatre Conference has come and gone, and while each time, the logistics and operations of the day gets easier and less stressful, the consistent experience of energy and excitement experienced never becomes routine.
A small but mighty group gathered in San Clemente to discuss ideas, solutions, and stories about community theatre. Despite their busy schedules running community theatres and/or working day jobs and/or caring for family and/or (what else is there?), attendees paused in their day-to-day endeavors, even woke up before the ungodly hour of 8am on a Saturday, all so that they could connect with other theatres and individuals, and find out that there are more similarities than differences when it comes to running community theatres in California.
While there may not be an abundance of community theatre conference opportunities out there, and even though attending a conference may be a big commitment, it's worth reflecting on the importance of them.
The Importance of Conferences
1. One to One Connections - You cannot replace or reproduce the power of the in-person connections that are made at conferences. Facebook posts, email exchanges, and even phone calls are great ways to st ay connected day-to-day, but the energy of talking things through with people in the flesh is incredible.
2. Theatre 'Self-Care' - If you don't take the time to nurture your theatre and your knowledge as a leader of a theatre, how can you grow? When you make broadening your experience a priority (and taking a day away from the office or backstage), it sends a powerful message about your interest and willingness to grow and develop, which, in turn, helps your theatre.
3. Getting Out of Your Bubble - Branch out and remember, there is life (and theatre practice) outside your community theatre! It's refreshing and inspiring to hear from and learn about other theatres in your area or State. You may not get another chance to get to know them if you are not located nearby.
4. Rejuvenate - Step aside and away from your day-to-day theatre life to gain perspective and feel inspired. Battle burnout by surrounding yourself with peers and others who experience so many of the things you do. Walk away confident about all the things you are doing right, so when you return to your theatre, you are ready to look at things with new eyes. Remember: How Can They Miss You if You Don't Go Away?
5. Make Your Mark on a Bigger Part of the Theatre Community - Sharing your knowledge with others and bragging about your successes (and what you've learned from your challenges) is the ultimate validation of your hard work paying off, and an excellent no-cost assessment of how you are doing. And what better feeling than knowing you are giving back? One simple statement or suggestion you make at a conference could change the path of a colleague or their theatre's processes.
6. It's All About Who You Know - Self-explanatory, but it's the absolute height of the importance of in-person exchanges through a networking or conference experience. When a conference is as specific as a community theatre conference in your region's state, you can connect with people who have similar experiences as yours and have worked through them, or who will be inspired by ... YOU!
Convinced YOU should attend a California Community Theatre Conference? Stay tuned for announcements of the 2020 Conference. See you there!
Thank you to the theatres who attended the 2019 California Community Theatre Conference, and a special thanks to Musson Theatrical, for their ongoing support of California Community Theatre and its annual conferences.