10 New Year’s Resolutions for the Theatre Community
Anthony J. Piccione
Today marks the beginning of 2016. For many people, the beginning of a new year also marks the time of year in which people try to come up with resolutions, in the hopes that these specific goals in their lives will have been achieved by 2017. Those of us who are highly active in theatre most likely have already come up with such resolutions related to theatre. However, there might be a few additional ideas for resolutions that some of us might not have thought about, and should be willing to consider to make their year in theatre even better than last year. Hence why I went and made this new list to kick off the New Year.
So without further ado, here are just a few New Year’s resolutions – in no particular order – for all of us in the theatre community to consider…
Encourage your non-theatre friends to give it a try this year
Many of us have at least a few friends outside of theatre that have never once thought about joining even a local community theatre production, whether it be onstage or offstage. This year, consider making the extra effort to try and convince them that it would be just as amazing of an experience for them as it has been for you. Perhaps they’ll say yes or perhaps they’ll say no. Either way, it’s worth giving a shot.
Show more appreciation for techies and designers
Here at On Stage, several of the columns published this past year have touched on the topic of giving more credit to those who work hard back stage – including the tech crew, stage managers, costume designers, pit musicians and more – to help the actors and director bring the show to life. Whether you are going to see the show or are involved in the show as an actor or director, this should be the year you try and do more to go out of your way to show that you know that theatre truly is an ensemble effort…if you don’t already do that, that is.
Give more acknowledgement to straight plays
There were quite a few things about the 2015 Tony awards that annoyed me this past year, but perhaps the one that annoyed me the most – and perhaps the least discussed out of all these issues – was the fact that its highly musical-oriented ceremony only dedicated about 10 to 15 minutes or so to some of the great non-musicals on Broadway this year and the playwrights who created them. Perhaps this should be directed more at the people in charge of the 2016 Tony award ceremony, although it could be taken as advice for a few others in the industry, as well: Please try and do more to recognize the fact that great theatre is about much more than just musical theatre. Not that there’s anything wrong with musicals, but it’s not all that there is that’s worth seeing.
For next season, try choosing shows different from what other local theaters produced last season
For many of the local community theaters that are in my area, this is something that I have seen go on for a very long time. One month, I might see (or be in) a show at one theater, only to see that by the next season comes along, at least one other nearby theater is producing the exact show. Last I checked, there’s more than just a select dozen decent shows – including if we’re narrowing it down to just musicals – available to produce that audiences would enjoy. So as I’ve addressed in my own past columns before, I hope producers will take that into consideration when determining what shows they produce next season.
Step out of your comfort zone and try something different in theatre
Maybe you’re a techie that has always imagined yourself being on that stage, but has never actually given auditioning a try recently. Or maybe you’re an actor that has wanted to step into the director’s chair for quite some time. Or perhaps you’re a director that is tired of bringing the works of others to life, and would rather write your own play. You get the picture. This year, if there’s something in theatre that you haven’t done before and are possibly dying to give a try, don’t be afraid to just go ahead and do it. You might be surprised at just how incredible of an experience it may be to be involved in theatre in different roles.
Try auditioning at other theaters besides the ones you typically perform with
A lot of people I know in community theatre tend to stay performing with the same one or two local theaters in their area, and never actually venture out and see what other amazing theaters might be holding auditions for an exciting show. This year, I encourage you not to be one of those people. Believe me when I say that there is nothing more rewarding than doing as much theatre as you can at as many different theaters as you can. ;)
Sign your kids up for a youth theatre program
If you’re a parent and want to see your kids involved in additional extracurricular activities this year, might I suggest signing them up for a local youth theatre program if you haven’t already? In the past, there have been columns published on this website – including a few written by yours truly – that highlight the benefits of arts education and of young people being involved in a theatrical production. I would encourage you to take a look at some of those columns to see more of what I mean on this topic, and then take a look into some of the similar opportunities that may exist in your area for your kids to get involved in theatre in 2016.
Consider making a donation to your local theatre organization
I realize that money is still very tight for many people these days. As a student graduating from college in May, I know that feeling myself. However, these are also very difficult financial times for the performing arts, which is not news to any of us that have been involved in this community for awhile now. So even if it’s just a few dollars, please be sure to take this into consideration. You never know. Your donation could very well end up helping your favorite theatre company still keep its doors open for 2017.
Don’t be a diva
These people just so happen to be my least favorite people in theatre, and I suspect that I’m not alone. Nobody likes people who feel that they are above everyone else, so please – if you just so happen to be one of those people – don’t be one. There’s really not much more that I feel I should have to say on this one.
See more and be more involved in theatre than last year
I feel like this one should go without saying. Some of you might think you’ve already done loads of theatre this past year. Could you possibly do anymore? Well, the only way you’ll still be able to ask yourself that question by this time next year is if you try and find time to do more in 2016 than in 2015. That’s what I intend to do this year, and I hope others in the theatre community will try and do the same.
Do you agree with this list? Anything that you’d like to add to this list that you don’t see here? As always, be sure to let us know in the comments section!
This column was written by Anthony J. Piccione: Student, playwright, actor, poet and blogger currently based in Connecticut. To learn more about Anthony and his work, please visit his personal blog at www.anthonyjpiccione.tumblr.com. Also, be sure to like him on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AnthonyJPiccione.OfficialPage), follow him on Twitter (@A_J_Piccione) and view his work on the New Play Exchange (www.newplayexchange.org/users/903/anthony-j-piccione).
Photo: Rollins College