The Shakespeare Theatre Association (STA) was established to provide a forum for the artistic, managerial, educational leadership for theatres primarily involved with the production of the works of William Shakespeare; to discuss issues and methods of work, resources, and information; and to act as an advocate for Shakespearean productions and training.
When Hoosier Shakes elected to join the Shakespeare Theatre Association, they pro-actively engaged 100s of years of producing experience and gave themselves a leg up on program delivery in the three areas the organization embraces–education, artistic, and management. STA prides itself on offering guidance and mentoring services to its membership and will be able to help Hoosier Shakespeare figure out initiatives and challenges, both at the annual gatherings and through the networks those meetings will help Hoosier Shakespeare to build and deploy.
Past conferences have focused on big picture topics, such as Strategic Planning, Capital campaigns, ticketing systems, and other minutae like production choices for a particular title taken by several companies, workshop approaches in like manner, and even a close reading of a single scene. In addition, STA member theatres bring a variety of expertise to share, from Shakespeare in Prisons, to Performance Interpreting for deaf and blind audiences, to “original practices” Shakespeare and are a willing and warm group eager to embrace new membership and help them on their journey.
One feature of the annual conference is the opening session in which each group introduces themselves and shares information about their theatre, new members have the chance to be paired with a long-time member who will serve as their ally both throughout the weekend and in the coming year. The remaining founders and past presidents regularly convene special sessions to introduce the new members to the mission and motivations of the organization. And, each conference offers theatres a chance to convene with others in similar situations–budget level, career focus, and board/university relationships. All of these sessions allow membership the chance to share experiences in ways that are instructive.
Taking the initiative to join STA in the early stages of production history will give Hoosier Shakes a solid foundation of friends to lean on, to consult with, and to reach out to. Moreover, they will find that they have invited champions of their work into the arena where it can most benefit them, as artists, as constructive critics, and as practical guides. This action shows the strong planning and thinking of the artistic and management team and it bodes well for the future of the organization.